A Level

Exam Board


Entry Requirements

A minimum of a 5 in another creative GCSE

Why study this course?

Photography enables you to refine and select appropriate techniques for enhancing and manipulating photographs based on a variety of design briefs and contexts. Photography can lead to a wide range of career opportunities in the creative industries. Photography is important because all sectors of the job market require creative thinkers who can innovate, see and make connections, solve problems and make informed decisions and judgments. This course will give you many transferable skills you can use in the future.

What will I study?

Year 1

The assessment for A Level Art & Design: Photography has two modules of study: The portfolio worth 60%, and the externally set assignment, worth 40%. The portfolio is based on research & experimental skills and exercises to include a wide range of media on & off screen, followed by a detailed project portfolio of choice usually based on a trip e.g. York. This personal investigation unit starts with a 3,000 word essay explaining and leading into your practical work.

Year 2

The externally set assignment (worth 40% of your overall grade) is given out in February and eight weeks of research and preparation on a chosen question leads to a 10 hour exam set over 3 days. All work is marked internally and moderated by the AQA exam board. Success in this subject is measured by the students’ response to and evidence of AQA’s four assessment objectives for Art & Design.

How will I be assessed?

Photography is assessed by providing evidence for AQA’s four art and design assessment objectives. Students will be awarded a mark out of 96; 24 marks are available for each assessment objective. Both coursework and exam are marked against these specification/assessment criteria.

AO1 = Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.
AO2 = Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.
AO3 = Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.
AO4 = Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

What do our students think?

Joe Eggleston, former A Level student, now studying Product Design at Degree level:

“I loved the open ended choices in developing the projects which lead to a great sense of independence. There’s a great variety in style of photography; from micro, abstract or even physical dark room development black & white photography.

The course lead to me taking a creative design based university degree (Product Design BSc at Sheffield Hallam). Thanks to this course I had a great affinity with digital skills, such as Photoshop, and critical evaluation skills like reviewing existing pieces for constructive criticisms.”

Where can it lead?

Studying photography enhances your creative, social and cultural understanding as well as developing your specialist technical knowledge.

Photography is a full A level course which can lead in to a number of further and higher education Art and Design Courses and careers such as:

Creative Photographer
Medical Photographer
Product Photographer
Graphic Designer
Magazine Features Editor
Medical Illustrator
Press Photographer
Television Camera Operator
Advertising Art Director
Digital Marketer
Film Director
Film/Video Editor
Media Planner
Multimedia Specialist
VFX Artist
Visual Merchandiser
Web Content Manager
Web Designer

Mrs S Archer

Course Leader

Mrs B Griffiths

Mr L Barnett

Course Materials

  • Photoshop Tutorials