Why Choose Photography?

This course offers an opportunity to explore creative and experimental approaches towards the medium alongside more established techniques. The course is aimed at those students who have an interest in art and design and wish to explore photography within this context.

Teaching and Learning Styles

Instruction in the use of equipment and a range of techniques

  • An introduction to the history of photography and contemporary practice
  • Students are encouraged to develop a personal approach towards picture-making through practical projects

Resources and Facilities

A well-equipped black and white darkroom, studio and digital processing facilities.


Year 1 

Term one consists of a range of short tasks introducing students to the skills and techniques they will use on the course, including: camera functions, image composition, printing and processing film in the darkroom, studio lighting and PhotoShop editing.

Terms two and three consist of a series of longer tasks designed to help students refine their skills in identifying and developing project ideas. Work from these projects may form the basis of the Personal Investigation in year 2.

Year 2

The work in year two forms 100% of the A Level grade and consists of two units of work.

Unit 1: Personal Investigation  - 60% of A Level Grade

Consists of two integrated parts, theme set by student.

  1. A major in-depth critical, practical and theoretical investigative project/portfolio and outcome/s based on themes and subject matter that have personal significance.
  2. A related study: an extended response of a guided minimum of 1000 words.

Unit 2: Externally Set Task – 40% of A Level Grade

Students choose one idea from themes set by exam board. A period of preparatory study based on a starting point set by the exam board followed by a 15 hour period of sustained focused work completed under exam conditions.

Photography profile student

Natalie Rowe

Photography - Hanley Castle High School
I decided to take A Level Photography as I have a huge passion for the media industry and working with cameras. I have always been seen taking pictures and the creative freedom photography allows meant it was perfect for me. I am also studying Media Studies and Music Technology which tie in nicely together, and will definitely help when applying for apprenticeships and jobs after College. Studying Photography has allowed me to put my hobby into action and improve my skills while still having fun and expressing myself, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Students are required to participate in museum/gallery visits and any site visits related to practical work.

Progression Opportunities

Whilst some students go on to study a Foundation course in Art and Design, a number of students each year progress directly to university to study Photography

Course Specifics / Entry Requirements

Qualification NameMaths GCSE Req.English GCSE Req.Other Req.Desirable QualificationsSkills & Attributes Required for SuccessGuidance on Costs or Commitments
PhotographyGCSE Art & Design (not Graphic Products) at grade 4 or above, or portfolio.Use of SLR camera. Essentials pack of materials: Year 1 - £45, Year 2 - £60. At least two visits: £30

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