Photography (AQA)

The course aims to develop an understanding of a range of photographic approaches and techniques related to the developing, printing and manipulation of photographic images. This will involve both darkroom work and computer-based work (Photoshop) combined with investigations into the work of established photographers. The emphasis is on research and experimentation and you will have the chance to go beyond the traditional flat print using a variety of techniques. 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 judgements.

This course will help to develop many transferrable skills you can use in the future. Students who studied Photography went on to study Broadcast Media, Journalism, Graphic design, Film making, Animation and Art & Design.

A Level

Component 1 – Personal Investigation and Skills Development

During the first term, you will develop your camera-based skills, learning how to shoot outside in various settings and genres. You will spend a term learning Photoshop techniques, including basic image enhancement and manipulation. You may work on the moving image, creating gifs, cinemographs and video. You will integrate critical analysis and contextual research of photographers past and present with your practical outcomes.


In-house assessment only. This allows an opportunity to explore and develop skills for the rest of the A Level course.

Component 2 – Major Project

From February of Year 12, you will begin your first major project extending from your skills development workshops, on a theme set by the school/student. This project will take a year to complete.


Internally assessed and externally moderated in Jan/Feb of Year 13. 60% of total A Level qualification.

Component 3: Shorter Project and Critical Essay

From February of Year 13, you will undertake a shorter project, but this theme will be set by the examination board. You will also undertake a critical essay analysing your chosen topic for project 1 (‘Major Project’).


The written essay and exam project combined account for 40% of the total A Level qualification. They are assessed by the teacher and externally moderated in Year 13.

MINIMUM ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Five GCSEs at Grade 5 or above, including Grade 5 or equivalent in GCSE Art and Design, Photography or Media or be able to demonstrate a serious commitment to the Visual Arts through a portfolio submission.

Updated September 2023