Photography A Level

(equivalent to one A Level)

A Level | AQA

The Photography Art and Design A Level prepares students for producing and working with images, both digitally and physically. It is also a good way to develop general design skills.


The main purpose of the Photography course is to develop your ability to appreciate the visual world and to enable you to respond in a personal and creative way.

The art department staff devise and implement projects which will encourage you to: 

  • Question all preconceived notions of art and photography and personal ability
  • Trust your creative instincts
  • Express your ideas and feelings through the controlled use of a broad range of materials and techniques
  • Investigate and relate to all the evolutionary processes that are inherent in the development of good artwork
  • Articulate issues relating to the work of other artists/photographers from a variety of cultures, past and present
  • Learn how to use cameras to do this

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Course details

What are the entry requirements?

A minimum of five GCSE subjects at grade 4 or above. A grade 4 or above in a creative subject such as GCSE Art, Photography, Textiles, DT Graphic / Product Design or a creative vocational course such as a BTEC level 2 in Media is preferable but not essential.

How will I be assessed?

The Art & Design (Digital Photography) course is comprised of two units. 

Unit Assessment %
Unit 1 Portfolio (coursework) 60%
Unit 2 Externally Set Assignment 40%

Each involves research into photographers and artists, analysis of examples of their work, development and presentation of your own ideas/images. 

What extra work can I do?

You are expected to keep up to date with current exhibitions by visiting galleries and making sketches and photographic studies in your workbooks, and by collecting and studying material from books and magazines. You are expected to spend as much time outside class time working in your workbook and taking photographs as you do during the lesson each week.

There is a small yearly charge (currently £25.00) levied on this course to pay for all specialist materials to successfully complete the course.

The Art department has very high expectations - we believe that
everyone has the potential to be creative in a personal and meaningful
way. You must be keen to produce images every week and work as
much outside class times as within the time-tabled classes (5 hours
homework a week or more).

Learning how to become a fully functioning artist/photographer is hard work but also a lot of fun!

What skills will I learn?

You will have access to cameras or be able to use your own camera and be required to work in a variety of areas of photography, which may include:

  • Portraiture, documentary and /or photo-journalism 
  • Landscape photography 
  • Working from objects, still life or the natural world 
  • Experimental imagery 

You will be encouraged to use modern digital techniques in order to produce and manipulate photographic images. At the heart of your work will be a workbook for each unit where your ideas and images are developed.

What is the department like?

The Art Department is made up of various areas: General Art & Design, Art & Design Textiles, Graphics and Art & Design Photography. 

We have a studio with lights and backdrops, classrooms with computers supporting appropriate software and high-quality printers, and a small photographic darkroom.

Future Careers and Progression

What are the progression routes for this qualification?

Students may go on to degree courses that specialise in many aspects of Art Photography, including vocational, creative and editorial approaches, or Foundation Art & Design… but the course is relevant to any career involving working with images or digital media.

If you study Art & Design (Digital Photography) you may also have the option to study Fine Art, Constructed Textiles, Graphics, or Art & Design. Many students also study Media.

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