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Christmas Photography in Manchester

With Christmas just around the corner, the city is switching on the decorations and putting up the markets. The whole city will come alive with Christmas spirit but there are a few spots, in particular, I want to talk about for photography. This post will tell you about some of the best places in Manchester to take photos this season and also a few tips on creating Christmas content. The Christmas markets are kicking off on the 10th of September this year with the lights being turned on around the city at the same time, from then on there will be plenty of opportunities to capture Christmas in Manchester and get your content ready before the big day.

Best Photography Spots in Manchester

St Anne’s Square

St Anne’s Square is home to a large section of the markets, with loads of stalls and a large bar. Combined with the already beautiful buildings in the area the square is transformed into something extra special at Christmas. With so many people around this is a great place to capture some street portraits and really show people getting into the Christmas spirit. There will be plenty of lights and decorations around to make your images feel really Christmassy, having them out of focus in the background of your images will give the picture a really magical feel.

St Peter’s Square

Filled with large fairy light statues St Peter’s Square is a very popular place for people to go and get selfies with the decorations. Last year there was the giant Santa, large baubles and much more that people were getting photos with. It is also a bit quieter than some of the areas with markets, allowing you a bit more space to work. If you are shooting with a model then this area would definitely be my suggestion as you can still get lots of cool Christmas lights in the shot but without having as many people packed in. The large light sculptures combined with the already iconic architecture in the area make this location a great spot to capture classic Manchester scenes in a new light.


This road is one of my favourites to capture at any time of year but at Christmas time it is truly magical. With beautiful decorations all down the road, there are new shots to take all the way along. At the top end of the road, there is House of Fraser which is always covered in spectacular lights. Walking down the road there are lights on all the street lamps, shops have decorations out and there are sections of Christmas markets all around. At the bottom end, there used to be a pub called The Deansgate which was always covered in lights for Christmas but it has unfortunately closed, maybe we will be lucky and someone will still turn the lights on though.

King Street

Just off Deansgate is King street, home to loads of shops and some nice restaurants and bars. At Christmas however, it is also home to a long strip of market stalls and plenty of decorations. This is a great place to capture the Christmas scenes and get some photos of people enjoying the markets. Since it is a nice straight line up the street it is easier to create leading lines using the stalls and the surroundings than it is in some of the squares. It is also great to stand on the other side of Deansgate and shoot across the road to capture more of the surroundings and show all the different lights and decorations in the area.

The Trafford Centre

Head into the Trafford Centre to get some last minute Christmas gifts and you'll see some amazing decorations hanging from the high ceilings. The stunning architecture combined with the beautiful lights, trees and other decorations make this a spot not to be missed at Christmas time. Commercial photography is not allowed here so bear that in mind when planning your trip, you won’t be able to sell the images but it's still a great place to capture for your social media.

Christmas Content Ideas

Creating Christmas photos is so much fun and is a great way to capture people's emotions out on the street. Seeing the joy on people's faces as they shop around the Christmas markets, get drinks with friends out in the open air and take photos of each other in front of decorations. This is the best time of year for capturing street portraits. Try heading to the markets and getting some snaps of people standing looking into the huts, the light from inside will highlight their faces nicely and you will be able to capture some beautifully genuine human moments.

With all the fairy lights about, bokeh will look absolutely beautiful in your images. Shooting with a wide aperture to get a shallow depth of field will give your images a soft and magical background. Whether you're working with a model, a stranger on the street or an object. Create depth in your image by shooting wide open with decorations and lights in the background for a festive and eye-catching look.

Try shooting with a lens ball, these are fun to use all year round but they are perfect for Christmas scenes. They will give you a unique image with beautiful bokeh and they give you a nice subject to the image in what can sometimes be a very busy scene.

Christmas is an amazing time of year anyway but it is particularly important for photographers. The decorations across the city let us capture familiar scenes in new ways and the outdoor markets let us capture people enjoying the festive atmosphere. In the next 7 weeks until Christmas, you will have plenty of opportunities to explore the city and capture some beautiful images. Next weekend the markets will open so get yourself wrapped up warm and get out there! If you enjoyed this post or have any questions then let me know in the comments below. Also, I’d love to see your Christmas photography, send me a DM on Instagram with what you capture this season!


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