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Blackfen School for Girls

Blackfen School for Girls

Raising aspirations - releasing potential

Photography A Level


Exam Board:     AQA

Why study this subject: 

Photography includes digital imaging, manipulation and light-sensitive materials found in film and darkroom practice. A variety of photographic genres are explored with an emphasis on fine art approaches.  Students will be introduced to a range of stimulating photographic opportunities and will explore how lighting, lenses, camera functions, and digital techniques are used to manipulate imagery. 

Photography is more than documenting and recording. Students are required to develop imaginative, technically accomplished and individual approaches that reflect their creative styles and visual interests. 

Personal skills that will be challenged and developed: 

  • Critical, analytical and practical problem solving 
  • Risk taking and making use of failure 
  • Rigorous self-evaluation and critical reflection 
  • Organising, planning and time management 
  • Working independently
  • Working collaboratively
  • Presentation skills
  • Literacy and communication through technical descriptions, reports, essays and a dissertation. 

Units: How will I be assessed: 

For all components students create digital sketchbooks, supporting studies and final pieces. 

Component 1 (Coursework) 

•96 marks  

•60% of A-level 

Project 1: Evidence.  

This project explores the concept of evidence. Students will learn how to work independently using manual functions of the camera. 

Students will be exploring the following topics within the project:

  • ISO 
  • Aperture / depth of field 
  • Sutter speed 
  • Micro photography and refraction photography 
  • Post editing with Photoshop 
  • Wet room printing 

Project 2: The face and figure. 

This explores the face and figure within the environment and landscape settings. Students will further their knowledge of shutters speed and focus on long exposure drawings.  They will take inspirations from one or more of the following artists, working independently and developing their own path of exploration:  

Brian Hart, Denis Smith, Vincent Delevaux, Janne Parviainen



Project 3:  Independent research task

This project incorporates two elements: practical work and a written investigation (1000–3000 word essay).

Areas of study: Students are required to work in one or more area of photography, such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas:

  • Portraiture
  • Landscape photography (working from the urban, rural and/or coastal environment)
  • Still life photography (working from objects or from the natural world)
  • Documentary photography, photojournalism
  • Fashion photography
  • Experimental imagery
  • Multimedia
  • Photographic installation
  • Moving image (video, film, animation).
  • Micro photography

Component 2  (Exam) Externally Set Paper

Students will choose one topic out of seven thematic titles and explore that concept with their choice of media, techniques and inspiration.

• Preparatory period + 15 hours supervised time

• 96 marks

• 40% of A-level

Future course and possible careers:

Art and photography degrees teach problem solving, team work, independence and self-motivation qualities that every employer is looking for. In fact, the Telegraph recently listed Art/ photography graduates in the top 10  most employable.

This course can lead to a college or foundation course leading to careers in Art:

  • Graphic designer
  • Magazine features editor
  • Medical illustrator/ photographer
  • Photographer
  • Press photographer
  • Television camera operator
  • Advertising art director
  • Digital marketer
  • Film director
  • Film/video editor
  • Media planner
  • Multimedia specialist
  • Stylist
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Web content manager
  • Web designer
  • Crime scene/ forensic photographer
  • Media photography
  • Journalistic photography or art based media