Photography is such a powerful visual language that can be used in a variety of ways to express and document the world we live in. Photography gives you the opportunity to capture moments in time, see people and places in a different light and even challenge reality. Photography is often seen as both an art form and a science. It’s a great way to express your creativity and imagination through a variety of experiences exploring a range of photographic media, techniques and processes. The main emphasis of the course focuses on digital photography but students can explore analogue photography and art based approaches depending upon individual skills. The course is a practical subject giving you the opportunity to; build an online presence, create a sketchbook portfolio, attend galleries, visit local and overseas locations.

Students will learn and be expected to demonstrate skills in the following areas:
Use photographic equipment such as cameras, tripods, lighting, lenses and filters.
Adjust camera settings to suit the intended purpose, including; shutter speed, aperture, depth of field and ISO.
Respond to an issue, theme, concept, idea or work to a brief.
Show an appreciation of the formal elements – viewpoint, composition, line, shape, form, colour, pattern, texture, light and shadow.
Recognise the importance of visual analysis and using contextual sources to deepen subject knowledge and develop personal ideas having studied the work of historical, current and contemporary practitioners.
Image enhancement and manipulation using Photoshop and Lightroom.
Consider layout and presentation when working online and in print.

All practical workshops are designed to equip students with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to inform their pathway for Component 1.

Component 1: Personal Investigation (60% of the A Level) Students present an individual project based on a personal idea or genre which can be presented in a portfolio and includes written work of 1000 to 3000 words which supports practical work.

Component 2: Externally Set Assignment (40% of the A Level) Students respond to a stimulus issued by Eduqas and a body of work is produced on one of the visual or written briefs. The finished outcome or series of outcomes are created during a 15 hour period of supervised time. Students will have the opportunity to work in one or more of the following areas:
Landscape photography
Still life photography
Fashion photography
Experimental imagery
Photographic installation
Moving image

(Exam board: WJEC Eduqas)
(Specification code: A656QS)

A series of demonstrations and practical workshops are undertaken during the initial stages of the course to ensure all students are familiar with core technical skills in order to be successful. This is also an opportunity for students to work collaboratively and get to know each other. Then, practical projects are assigned and assessed on a continual basis so that students can develop personal skills that focus on a chosen issue, concept, genre, idea or brief. We promote individuality and encourage students to express their own lines of enquiry when selecting project titles. The course is structured and supportive in the way it is delivered and one to one tutorials provide support for all learners when working on personal projects. In addition, there are excellent facilities including a professional photography studio, two classrooms equipped with iMac’s, A1 exposure unit, negative scanner and A0 printer. There is also a wide range of photography equipment which enables students to study more specialist areas such as cyanotypes, underwater, scanography and microscopic photography. There are various cameras, lenses, filters and lights that students can use outside of college during independent study.

Minimum entry requirements are GCSE grade 4 in English as well as a genuine interest in photography. It is advisable to have studied a creative subject at GCSE in Art or Media; grade 4 or above is required. Students wishing to study photography who do not have an art based GCSE will still be considered on submission of a small digital portfolio of photographs. You do not have to be able to draw or paint as part of this course, but can if you wish to.

GCSE grade 5 is a minimum requirement if you want to take two or more art and design subjects. Anyone wishing to do this should speak to a member of the art department during enrolment.

Students will also need to meet the general College entry requirements. Entry requirements are subjects to change.

Many students go on to study the Foundation Art diploma at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College to support applications into prestigious arts-based university degrees. Students also apply directly to BA Honours degree courses in photography, including; press and editorial, commercial, marine and natural history, fashion and fine art photography. Broader progression routes include; film and television, media, journalism, fashion marketing, architecture, make up and special effects and interior design. Past students have progressed to prestigious universities such as Falmouth, Coventry, UAL and Westminster.

Photography is a great subject to combine with other creative subjects including; Fine Art, Graphics, Textiles, Media and Film Studies. Also, in previous years students have studied a variety of subjects alongside photography such as; English Literature, Psychology, Geography, Travel and Tourism and Sciences.