Photography A Level

Arts, Media and Publishing

Arts, Media and Publishing
Arts, Media and Publishing

What will you be working towards?

Code Ph01
Qualification Type GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Qualification Level Level 3
Course type Full Time


“From Artwork to Apps, the world around us is becoming increasingly saturated with images. The purpose of A Level Photography is to learn not what to think, but how to think about the visual world around us.”

The nature of the course will be suitable for students with different levels of existing skill and understanding. Both novices and enthusiasts will have the opportunity to thrive and to be pushed, despite whether they have a GCSE in Art and Design or not. Many different disciplines studied at GCSE level compliment the development of student progress during the course, though a GCSE in Art and Design will provide a good foundation. 

The main ingredients for a successful Photography student are determination, hard work and a desire to want to learn the visual language. This entails working hard inside exciting workshops at school and challenging tasks set to undertake outside of school.

Taking Photography is not an easy option and taking the subject should be thought about carefully, though this intense course is rewarding as it utilises many creative and analytical skills you may already have.


How will I learn?

• Students who wish to undertake further studies in Art and Design, usually at art college or in further media based education.

• Students who are looking to take up careers for which a photography background is relevant. This may include media and advertising, fashion, journalism or design based work.

• Students who have an enthusiasm or who have a talent in the subject have a passion and intent to push their skills towards a future in art or photography beyond AS and A2.

What will I learn?

From artwork to Apps, the world around us is becoming increasingly saturated with images. The purpose of A Level Photography is to learn not what to think, but how to think about the visual world around us.

This course enables students to develop a language in how an image communicates a story, without the use of text. This will take place through a variety of workshops and experiments; both in traditional technology like darkroom photography; where students learn the functions of Photography in a ‘hands on’ approach and in current technology like in Photoshop; where they will learn different techniques to an industry standard. Students will apply this knowledge into their own personal work and will be able to demonstrate the ability to convey their skills, ideas, emotions and understanding of the visual language to use their own creativity to their advantage.

They will also develop a specialist vocabulary and the knowledge and understanding of the place of art/photography in history and in contemporary society.

How will it be delivered?

GCE Advanced Level Photography is made up of 2 units:

Unit 1 Coursework – 60% of the A Level

This is a structured project taking students up to their exam. Beginning with an exploration of a theme, students will take part in workshops to broaden and develop their base of skills.

This work consists of two elements:

a. Practical work and

b. A personal study.

Students will pursue their own creative and visual themed ideas with guidance from tutors. Practical work should arise from students’ current interests and experiences in Photography. They must support their own work with examples of research from the world of Art and Photography. The presentation of this study can take many forms. Students will be expected to compose their own study question and write their own project proposal with support. Practical work needs to be approached prolifically with a separate written document developed alongside it. The presentation of this study can take many forms. This may be:

• A presentation on CD or DVD with text

• A collection of images produced by the student with a written text

• A study in a book form which may include images produced by the student

Unit 2 Externally Set Assignment – 40% of the A level.

Students will be given a theme to work on in the spring term from which to create preparatory studies. This research will culminate with an eight hour timed exam. The theme is set externally by the exam board.

Entry requirements

Ideally at least a grade 5 in Art & Design GCSE with at least a grade 4 in English. Any student with a keen interest and skill in Photography will be considered.

Your next steps...

There are many careers in photography. Most of these require further study at an art school, further education or university. At present, most students wishing to take photography further will go on to do a one year ‘Foundation’ course at an art college or college of further education before applying for degree course in more specialist areas of art and design. If you already know that you wish to study photography as a degree course at a university after your A Levels, some institutions will offer and/or consider this route.

Alternatively, you might wish to go into a job where it is useful to have had an experience in photography, or where you will need to use some of the skills developed during this course. These might include careers in such fields as advertising, marketing, design, architecture, publishing and the media. The study of photography can also help you develop transferable skills that you can take into any career or job. Success in A Level Photography requires determination and dedication. However, whichever future path you choose; it can be a very rewarding beginning.