Best Christmas Markets for Street Photography

As long nights draw in during the months of November and December, markets in various European cities light up – shining, shimmering, bursting with festive spirit and good cheer. Where better to practise street photography than at the Christmas markets, where so much can be captured – food, shops selling Christmas ornaments, carousel roundabout, and shoppers enjoying the magic of the festivities. 

EOS 760D, EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, f/3.5, 18mm, 1/30secs, ISO400 by Susanne Nilsson


Stuttgart, Germany

EOS 550D, EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens, f/2.8, 50mm, 1/250secs, ISO400 by Isengardt

One of the most beautiful and oldest Christmas markets in Europe, Advent Stuttgart plays host to a 31-day festive celebration through its array of decorated stalls packed with Christmas decorations, winter clothing, household wares, and toys. Festive concerts are also held at the market, specifically in the inner courtyard of the ‘Alten Schloss’ and on the town hall steps. As millions pour into this world-famous festive market, it gives you the perfect opportunity to shoot street portraits. And what better lens to use than the EF50mm f/1.4 USM? Not only can the EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens achieve wonderfully sharp and crisp finish to your photos, it also creates a beautiful depth of field, giving presence to your subject while its background a nice, soft blur.

Learn what you can do with the EF50mm f/1.4 USM lens.


Edinburgh, Scotland

EOS 60D, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, f/4.0, 24mm, 1/80secs, ISO4000 by Graham Campbell

The capital of Scotland boasts a magnificent Christmas market every winter. Running from November to January, immerse yourself in a Scottish Christmas where you will find traditional Scottish foods and beverages (think the famous Scotch whisky), traditional crafts, and unique gifts. Capture the beautiful lights as they illuminate the streets, on its Ferries wheels and even the buildings. The EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, one of Canon’s L-Series lenses, is perfect for such examples. Its autofocus is driven by a Ring USM, which is fast, quiet and accurate, and its entire focal length works well from portrait to landscape photography.

Explore the features of EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens in: EF24-105mm f/4L IS II USM: Optical Design of Standard Zoom Lens Revamped


Verona, Italy

EOS 1100D, EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens, f/4.5, 130mm, 1/60secs, ISO800 by Martina Sgorlon

If you are visiting Italy any time from 18 November to 26 December, don’t miss out on the Christmas market at Verona, Veneto. Interestingly, this market emulates a German-style set up with decorated traditional wooden huts, and sells regional specialties such as mulled wine, bratwurst, handicrafts and Christmas decorations. Martina uses the EF70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens, a telephoto zoom lens, which works well with architectural shots thanks to its 300mm focal length as well as its sharpness and excellent image quality.

Learn about the difference between telephoto lenses in: What is the difference between a 200mm and 300mm telephoto lens?


Aachen, Germany

EOS 50D, EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, f/8.0, 57mm, 1/90secs, ISO640 by glasseyes view

About 1.5 million people visit the Aachen Christmas market every year. From 18 November to 23 December, the squares and streets surrounding the Cathedral and Aachen Town Hall are transformed into a brightly lit market square selling everything from Christmas cakes, biscuits, nougats, waffles, beer and wine, to Christmas ornaments, art and accessories. Grab your EF50mm lens (comes in f/1.8, f/1.4, or f/1.2) if you’re up for street portraits shots, or use an EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (a step up from your standard EF-S18-55mm kit lens) for its wide focal length range, which lets you shoot from a distance and still zoom in if you don’t want to get too close to your subject.

Share with us which are your favourite Christmas markets around the world in the comments below!


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