Though I’ve always lived in the countryside outside Copenhagen, I commute to the city every day for my job in advertising. In a city featuring such beautiful and varied architecture, I find that I’m always bringing my camera (or at least, my iPhone) with me.
I only started taking pictures when Instagram came along, and I’m still learning with every shot. In general I strive to never stop learning — it’s important to keep pushing your own boundaries!
When deciding how to photograph a building, I always look for straight lines. I find it’s most visually appealing if the building looks deserted with minimal people in the frame, as if it’s just standing there without anyone noticing it. I feel I’m capturing the spirit of the buildings best when they’re as uncluttered and the surrounding area is as calm as possible. If there are any elements disturbing the shot (like ugly bikes, a parked car, or people hanging out), I’d rather come back another time. Though I prefer an overcast sky with some visible clouds, Copenhagen, with its wonderful architecture, is spectacular in all kinds of weather. Here are some of the best spots around the city to utilize your camera.
If you’re traveling to Copenhagen you’re probably arriving from the air, so the first place you’ll encounter will be the airport. Though its oldest sections date back to 1936, many are still being developed, so there are a lot of different styles and details to discover at CPH. There’s even a terminal designed by the famous Danish architect Arne Jacobsen. Though I haven’t been traveling as often as I’d like to lately, I use every chance I have to go somewhere new to catch a few shots on the way.
Den Blå Planet – Just outside the airport is this fairly new aquarium inspired by a whirlpool. The metallic, bent façade serves as a spectacular contrast against the sky.
The inner city
Central Copenhagen is a truly photogenic part of town. There is so much to capture, so many little details to highlight with your camera. The old area of Copenhagen has a long history. The Danish king Christian IV (1577-1648) experienced a sort of building frenzy and left a lot of landmarks throughout the town — which are still there to enjoy.
Rundetårn – The Round Tower provides a fantastic view over the rooftops of the city. A spiral brick path leads to the top, supposedly constructed to allow the Danish king to ride up in a horse-drawn carriage.
Nyhavn – Who hasn’t stumbled across these houses on an old postcard from Copenhagen? But don’t just write it off as a traveler’s cliché. If you look closely, there are plenty of small details to be found and alternate angles to utilize. And, of course, the standard view became a classic for a reason — it still serves as a visual symbol of Copenhagen.
Pisserenden — The Latin Quarter consists of old, carefully renovated houses and small, quiet, narrow streets lined with shops. I especially like to ride by in the morning, watching people on their way to work. The light at that time of day is especially bright and inspiring.
Nyboder — Built from 1631-1634, again by King Christian IV, Nyboder originally served as housing for “skilled sailors.” Today, these yellow houses, with their identical shapes, styles, doors, and windows, create a quietly marvelous setting.
Just across the short Knippelsbro bridge you’ll find Christianshavn. This part of town was built by King Christian IV in 1612 to fortify Copenhagen against attacks from the sea. Inspired by architecture in Amsterdam, Christianshavn also became a new merchant town with warehouses lining the many canals. Different types of boats can be spotted throughout these beautiful canals, which are crossed at certain points by dazzling bridges. And, like the central part of Copenhagen, Christianshavn is filled with picturesque houses.
One of the most influential architects in modern Danish architecture, Bjarke Ingels played a big role in the development of Ørestad — an entirely “built-from-scratch” borough which is actually relatively quaint. For modern architecture enthusiasts, it’s a must-visit. Only a short metro ride away, it’s quite easy to reach for a short stroll around the newly built and wildly creative houses.
You know the beer — now you need to see the place it’s being made. The Carlsberg area still serves as the company’s headquarters, though the beer stopped flowing at the old Carlsberg buildings in 2006. Nevertheless, you can still feel the history of the old brewmasters throughout the detailed brick walls and cobblestoned streets.
Built between 1921-1940, this gothic-inspired church is a real masterpiece. Five million bricks were ground by hand to create a soft texture in the construction of this impressive temple. The lack of ornamentation makes the gothic interior appear rather modern and simplistic. And there’s something aesthetically satisfying about the seemingly endless rows of chairs, designed by Kaare Klint, son of the church’s architect, Peder Vilhelm Jensen Klint.
If you decide to take to the streets of Copenhagen for your own photo shoot, don’t forget to make time for plenty of “hygge” pit stops in some of the many cafés you’ll encounter throughout the city.