A Level Photography

Arts, Media and Publishing

Arts, Media and Publishing
Arts, Media and Publishing
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What will you be working towards?

Alternative Title Photography A Level
Code PG
Qualification Type GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Qualification Level Level 3
Course type Full Time


Gain an understanding of the photographic art form and the world around you.

Studying Photography will give you a greater understanding of the world we live in, and your place within it. You will be encouraged to explore subject themes that you are personally interested in to ensure that you are always on a creative journey that is meaningful to you.

We actively encourage individual ideas and experimentation with one to one discussion, feedback and group peer review taking place during lesson time to support your project work. There is also the opportunity to take part in several local study visits and one abroad. Recent destinations have included Paris and Venice.

We have a wide range of resources available, including:

  • Photographic studio and location lighting equipment.
  • A range of film and digital camera equipment.
  • Digital editing computer suite.
  • Photographic darkroom.

The course is essential in preparing you for degree-level study but is also ideal if you have a love of photography and wish to develop your skills further. No previous knowledge is required for this course, but a keen interest in the subject is a must!

“I have really enjoyed learning Photography at Hills Road as the support I have received has been incredible, and the teachers have been really helpful and supportive.” ESHA, Photography student



The focus of our course involves two main areas:
  • Generating visual ideas from direct personal experience using photography and note-making
  • Developing these ideas inspired by the methods and approaches of other photographers and artists
Year 12
  • Across the first term, we provide an in-depth induction programme covering chemical and digital photography techniques and a series of visual studies lessons. This work involves teacher-led presentations, lively group discussion, image analysis and practical work to assist with the development of your own creative skills and ideas.

  • Practical work: Course induction and individual project work – thematic project 
    You will explore a variety of practical approaches to photography, both in terms of techniques (film processing, printing and studio lighting, editing etc.) and subject matter e.g. landscape, portraiture, still life etc. including a visual studies induction which sits alongside the practical lessons and introduces the following topics: The History of Photography, Aperture and Shutter Speed, Composition, Natural and Studio Lighting, Genres of Photography: Street, Portrait, War, Social Documentary and Art and Advertising. We also explore the working methods for personal projects that will best support your progress on the A level course.

    Once we have completed the Induction program we ask students to develop their individual project research. We also continue to introduce students to a range of working methods and materials which can be used to develop project work. This period involves taking your ideas further through experiments with media, processes and imagery. You can build on your favourite ways of working or explore new approaches at this time.

  • Summer exam preparation
    You will have a choice of starting points for the exam and you will need to choose one.  The exam is 10 hours across two days which allows for a substantial set of work to be developed. The exam preparation work and the final photographic images are assessed together as a single set of work.

Year 13

  • The Summer term teaching begins after study leave in June. Year 13 develops the level of challenge and depth required to create stronger personal work. In addition, students conduct a research project called the Related Study, choosing particular photographers or an area of work to investigate. Students use this to inform the development of their practical work during the second year of the course.

How will it be delivered?

Personal investigation (internally assessed and externally moderated) 60% of total A level . Externally set task (internally assessed and externally moderated) 40% of total A level.

Entry requirements

GCSE grade 6 in English (Language or Literature)

OR GCSE grade 6 in Photography or Art (or similar subject title)

Minimum Entry Admissions Score applies

Your next steps...

Students may go on to study a variety of courses such as Photojournalism, Fine Art and Portrait Photography. The Photography A level also supports successful applications to a very wide range of further study at degree level, for example, we have future scientists, engineers, historians, actors and mathematicians studying on the Photography course. Students can build on their developing knowledge about visual culture and strong independent research skills, and apply their imaginative and creative abilities in many other areas of study. For many students, Photography at Hills Road is part of a broad programme of study which supports their progression to top higher education destinations.