One of my very favourite spots in Manchester, Castlefield has an array of industrial backdrops with a ton of different angles to work with. The crisscross of metal bridges, mirky brickwork and canal junctions go a long way to give you a multitude of backdrops. There’s castle ruins here too, along with a famous red iron stairway.
Best for: Industrial vibes, mostly complex backdrops
Start at: Duke St, Manchester
Ok, here’s the thing; the Northern Quarter is an amazing, brilliant part of Manchester. It’s full of what makes Manchester great - friendly, expressive arty vibes and great food. The cool buildings, grafitti and unique backstreets make excellent backdrops but beware, they are very overdone. Generally speaking, I avoid shooting here - there's so many people shooting this space it feels a little overused. Seek out those unique spots and angles.
Best for: Arty, scruffy, colourful feels
Start at: Stevenson Square, Manchester
Manchester’s Chinatown is the second biggest in the UK and the multiple streets and back alleys are perfect for shooting. By day, it’s full of colourful shop fronts, by night it’s beaming with neon light, adding an extra dimension to those night shoots. My favourite shoot here was with Sarah Catherine on our Blade Runner homage.
Best for: Neon-lit streets
Start at: Nicholas St, Manchester
I love this little spot near the Uni, a short hop away from Manchester Piccadilly. There’s a few different angles here, some full of varying flora and overlooked by a striking red brick building that houses an observatory.
Best for: Leafy trees & flora
Start at: Granby Row, Manchester
Media City & Salford Quays
This part of the city reminds me most of London, full of striking buildings and a clean, open urban landscape that’s beside a big body of water. There’s plenty to explore here to get the right shots - from the quaysides to bridges, squares and architectural cues to draw from. Dead easy to get to too.
Best for: Slice-of-London vibes
Start at: BBC, Media City
Deansgate can be tough to shoot in, but it’s full of reward when you do battle the foot traffic and persevere. Aside from the main street, you’ll find pockets of nature and Victorian terraces. I’ve given you a good starting point below.
Best for: Hard-Earned city culture
Start at: Passonage Gardens, Deansgate
Not only a massive greenspace that gives you plenty of room to find natural spots, but there’s a botanical garden here too along with some secluded walled areas to give you something special for a portrait.
Best for: Leafy trees & flora
Start at: M23 0AB
These botanical gardens are stunning and always full of colour and angles to get something new, I swear I could spend a year here and still find new spots to shoot. A great visit for those natural, floral environments.
Best for: Bright, colourful flora
Start at: M20 2RQ
Just one of the many National Trust properties nearby, Durham Massey is a large estate with countless areas to shoot in - from the open grasslands, to woodlands, botanic gardens and beyond. Ask for permission to shoot when you arrive.
Best for: Huge array of forna, wide natural spaces
Start at: WA14 4SJ
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