A Level Programme

Photography A Level

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About this course

You will have access to a Mac and the latest edition of Adobe Photoshop, a Photography Studio, which consists of professional flash and continuous lighting kits, Soft-boxes, Snoot and Umbrella accessories as well as a still life table and tent for photographing small products. There are also Canon 600D cameras, lenses and tripods available to use. There is a traditional darkroom where you will learn how to initially expose your film negatives and watch it transform into a black and white print and then progress to developing your own film and printing it. We have also acquired a green screen which we will be utilising for photo shoots.

What will I learn?

During the course you will study the following units: Year 1

  • The Portfolio - consists of a range of two- or three-dimensional work that will be produced during the first part of the course but can be added to during the first year
  • Externally Set Assignment - Choosing from a number of broad-based questions you should be able to make reference to artists you are already familiar with. However, you may decide to introduce new artists. After a period of initial research, between 2 and 4 weeks, you will have 5 hours of supervised, unaided time, when you will be expected to develop your ideas. The work you produce is up to you; however it will all be confined to the Mac Digital Darkroom but it can take a variety of forms. You may develop Photoshop techniques, create freehand drawings, create collages using photographs, generate contact sheets from your photo shoots, annotate work, create print-screens to support a technique.

Year 2

  • The Personal Investigation - You are required to link a practical project with written material of 1000-3000 words. This will provide insights into the main influences on your work, the development of the work and your reasons for making various choices. The work will include reports on gallery visits and critical analysis of your own or others' work.
  • Externally Set Assignment - An exam paper will have eight questions from which you will be required to choose one. A number of artists, designers or craftspeople are mentioned in order to provide you with particular reference points for your research. These are included as examples and you may wish to identify other appropriate sources. Your work should conclude in a period of supervised, unaided time of 15 hours, when you will be expected to complete all the work for this unit.

How will I be assessed?

All four units are coursework based (including 5-hour and 15-hour supervised, unaided exam conditions assessments).

What do I need?

General Requirements

  • 5 GCSEs at Grade A*-C including English and Maths at grade 4 (grade C)

Specific Requirements

  • Art is not essential, but would help if you mean to combine artistic techniques in your work

In certain circumstances we will accept variations to this entry guide and create a personalised programme.

Where can it take me?

  • Halesowen College - an exciting range of courses, including Business & Media Production Foundation Degree and Teaching
  • University - degree in photography or combined with video, multimedia or graphic design
  • Careers - freelance photographer, studio junior, photo journalist, medical photographer, forensic photographer, teacher

Additional Information

Creativity and the willingness to be persistent with taking photographs and experimenting are needed. You need to be able to organise people for studio/location shoots and be prepared to be in front of the camera yourself. Photography combines well with Media Studies, Film Studies, Communication & Culture, Graphic Communication, Art and Textiles.