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Photography will suit students who are interested in projecting social, political and cultural ideas and opinions in a creative and visual form. Photography will support students explore technical and contextual studies. Camera, lighting, history, politics and art and design are all areas of focus in Photography A-Level. Photography will suit students who are happy to work in and outside of college creating bodies of work on weekends and in holidays.

If you choose this course you would benefit from:

  • Experienced teachers who specialise in Photography and have experience in creative industries and promoting themselves as artists.
  • Our students are visited by practicing photographers and film makers throughout their studies. Jonathan Worth, Kris Askey, Hin Chua and Ken Loach have all attended workshops with students in the past.
  • Trips in Photography have included: residential trips to Paris, Berlin and Edinburgh. Days trips to London, Birmingham and local universities also occur.
  • Part of being an artist is self-promotion. Students will be encouraged to enter competitions and get their work on display in public spaces.

In the first year you will study:

  • A variety of technical explorations including: Portrait photography: using studio and ambient lighting. The science behind the camera: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. Documentary: Shooting in real life  environments. Night Photography: Mastering darkness with light. Tactile Photography: Bringing fine art skills to digital images. Post production technique. Editing using Photoshop and Lightroom.
  • Contextual studies. This includes understanding how researching topics can inspire creative outcomes. For example, how exploring news articles can generate the ideas for a creative shoot.
  • Visually analysing Photographers’ work. The process of identifying a photographers’ technique by simply having the image in front of you in addition exploring how purpose and meaning is being communicated.
  • Reflection. The process of reviewing your own work objectively and being able to form actions to refine it.

In the second year you will study:

  • Students will complete 2 large personal bodies (Component 1 and 2) of work on any topic. Topics must have passion, heart and be personal to your interests. This unit is based on the skills students have developed in their 1st year.
  • Component 2 includes a 15-hour examination to finish the unit. This works similarly to a tradition art exam. Students have 15 hours to create a response to external stimuli from the exam board.
  • Throughout year 2 all students will research, produce, reflect and refine until they create a final body of work which is strong conceptually and visually.


What will I be taught?

This course is taught with a variety of activities. This will involve teacher led information sessions, student led workshops, group critiques and technical demonstrations and activities.

Classroom activities will include:

  • The sharing and critiques of students’ visual outcomes
  • The analysis of photographers’ work and understanding the purpose and meaning behind it.
  • Reflecting on visual outcomes.
  • Producing and editing photographic work
  • The discovery of photographic work that is of interest to students’ own tastes.

Based on research into how students learn best, each subject will set independent work to allow you to recap what you have done in the past, consolidate understanding for what you are studying in the present and develop the skills and experiences which will help you for the future. You can read more about the college’s approach to independent study here

The Past
Click here for the suggested ongoing revision activities in this subject which research has shown are most likely to boost your achievement

The Present
Each subject will set weekly homework tasks to help you consolidate your understanding and prepare for your next lesson. This work is typically set through Microsoft Teams, so you will have an electronic log of all your work, notes and feedback.

The Future
A key part of your independent work in this subject will be to prepare for a range of potential jobs and higher education courses when you leave us. To get started, look below at the top higher education courses and jobs which previous students of this course have gone on to do.

Students who complete this course tend to mainly go on to creative degrees, apprenticeships or workplace employment. This includes employment or study in Photography, Film, Media, Art, Graphic Design, Web Design and Fashion and Textiles. Students who study this course do also go on to Science or Humanities based employment or education as part of a wider program.

5 x GCSE grades 4-9 (incl. English Language)

Not essential but it will help your success…

Dedication to documenting and developing visual ideas based on observations of the world around you. An ability to put creative ideas into practice is expected.

Pairs well with Film Studies, Media Studies and any other Arts based subject.

Teaching contact time is 4 hours and 20 minutes per subject. Other workshops will be available throughout the year including over some holiday periods. Students are expected to complete up to 4 hours of independent study to complete assignments, homework, extra reading and independent research.


60% Coursework (Component 1) 40% Exam (Component 2).

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