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Photography A Level


Level                                  3

Qualification                     A Level

Duration                            2 years ​




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What will I study?

Photography, like fine art is used to communicate ideas and messages about the observed world.  The A Level encourages exploration of different materials, processes and techniques, both formal and experimental.  The start of the course is workshop based, teaching a range of Photography Skills including basic and advanced camera functions, studio and dark room processes.  You will learn not only how to use your camera to take a good photograph but to understand the technicalities involved and how to explore your own concepts and ideas.  After this introductory workshop period, students are encouraged to develop their own specialism and explore their own concepts and ideas free of external constraints while continuing to develop and explore their skills.  Students are encouraged to base their work around their own individual identity, incorporating cultural influences or personal experiences and interests.


Although the majority of the assessed work is practical, there is a separately assessed written essay. This encourages student to explore the work of other artists who inspire them, and look at their work in a wider context.

Drawing and other materials processes

Photography can take on the qualities of a drawing. Drawing forms an essential element of both development and final product.  A camera can record the observed world but is not able on its own to explore ideas. 

Photography includes works in film, video, digital imaging and light-sensitive materials including light projections within theatrical or architectural spaces.

Contextual understanding and professional practice

An important aspect of the course is to consider the work of artists and designers and use this to inform the progression of your own personal creativity.  Research will be conducted from a wide range of sources; for example, from historical works in museums, to contemporary art shows and fairs.

You will become familiar with contemporary and emerging concepts and learn how to analyse and critically evaluate photographic art work, demonstrating an understanding of purposes, meanings and contexts.


Additionally, you will also learn how to use a DSLR, the controls and variable elements of photography.

It is important to note that Photography at TRC is a pathway that belongs to the Art and Design A Level syllabus and, therefore, is creative and art based and not wholly media/design technology based.


Study Visits

Day trips to Art Galleries and sketching field trips.



Day trips: contribution towards petrol, approx. £1 per trip.

Sketchbooks: Students will need to buy their own sketchbooks, however we have high quality monogrammed sketchbooks available to purchase at cost price from us. We recommend buying these from the department to ensure that they are of a good enough quality. These range from £5.50 - £7.00

Starter portfolio pack including basic materials – £10.00 (subject to materials/availability).

Printer Credits – Photography is a visual subject and will rely heavily on good quality print outs.  Students are given a certain amount of 'printer credits', however, they may need to top this up. 

You will need to pay for photographic paper for darkroom use. We buy these materials in bulk and sell them onto students at cost price to keep costs down. Please be aware as darkroom photography is a highly specialised area of photography there will be some costs to incur. Bursaries are available to help students fund the cost of their courses.


It is recommended; that you have your own camera, however the college does have equipment that students can book out in order to complete their studies.  A camera on a mobile phone isn't recommended, instead an entry level DSLR is preferable.



The course consists of two components.

Component one (60%) is coursework and will start in September and continue through for approximately 4 terms. 

Component one allows for you to develop your technical and analytical art skills through the use of skills based workshops and the development of a journal exploring a set theme.  This component also includes a separate written study based on contextual research. This will be completed alongside your practical work over the four term duration of the first component.


Component two (40%) is the exam unit which sets a theme to be explored with a timed test at the end in which you produce your final outcome under exam conditions. 


Entry Criteria

Grade 4 GCSE Art or related qualification.

If you have not studied GCSE Art or related qualification, you can still apply:

Portfolio Submissions Sarah.jpg 

Please use the following template if you are planning to submit a portfolio: 


Portfolio Submission TEMPLATE.pptx


Useful Supporting Courses

Graphic Communication, Fine Art, Film, Media, Music and Performing Arts. Most subjects contrast well with and support the study of Photography from Sciences to History and Literature.



Most of our students progress onto higher education in Photography, Graphic Design, Fine Art, Illustration, Games Design, Film, Web Design and Interior Design.


Graphic Designer, Magazine Feature Editor, Medical Illustrator.