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Photography: Lens based & light based media - A Level at Lordswood Sixth Form Centre

Course description

New Linear A Level 

Course content

To form their portfolio, students will undertake a skilled based introduction and complete two components of study over the two year course. Within the course introduction, students will explore a range of equipment, processes and ideas through a workshop format. They will practise different 35mm, dark room processing and ideas through a workshop format. They will practise different 35mm film, dark room processing, digital SLR, and Photoshop editing techniques to develop their photographic skills, whilst focusing on developing ideas towards a brief. Component 1 and 2 will allow students to independently develop a body of work that explores a theme meaningfully and in relation to their exploration of artists and processes that interest them. This will be resolved with a personal, informed final piece and sketchbook or portfolio of refined idea development. The student’s body of work in both components should reflect experimentation, a range of technical processes, refined editing skills and clear presentation of their own ideas. In component 1, students are required to produce a piece of extended writing (1000-3000 words) that shows reflective, analytical and evaluative skills. Component 2 culminates in a 15 hour examination designed to assess students’ ability to work effectively within set time constraints.

Entry requirements

C grade or above in GCSE art or GCSE photography.

C grade or above in English.


Each of the four units are equally weighted and are marked under four assessment objective headings.

• AO1 Developing ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.

• AO2 Experiment with and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining their ideas as their work develops.

• AO3 Record in visual and/or other forms ideas, observations and insights relevant to their intentions, demonstrating an ability to reflect on their work and progress.

• AO4 Present a personal, informed and meaningful response demonstrating critical understanding, realising intentions and, where appropriate, making connections between visual, written, oral or other elements.

Future opportunities


Students with an A level in photography have progressed to degree programmes in areas such as photography, fashion, or fine art. The analytical, communication and research skills developed would be useful for courses like history, RE, or English literature or students could use their skills to teach or help people through courses like art therapy. Career pathways include professional freelance photographer, journalist, or teacher.

Further information

What skills do I need to develop to be successful on this course?

Students must be creative, highly motivated, open minded and have a genuine passion for photography. There is a large amount of freedom of choice in A Level photography with regard to the concepts that students choose to explore, however they have to be focussed and plan their own time effectively to complete the necessary volume of work required. In addition students must be prepared to take photo shoots in their own time outside taught sessions to achieve the most interesting results The most successful outcomes are produced by students who undertake independent research and choose their own artists and themes to respond to.

What other subjects compliment A Level Photography?

Photography A Level could be taken as part of a creative selection alongside media, art, film studies, drama, or music or could be used as a subject to explore themes that students would study in subjects such as history, psychology, English literature and RE.

How will I be taught?

Students will be taught the techniques that will provide the foundations to their projects by specialist teachers. These members of staff will also work with students to guide them through the idea development process; conducting one to one tutorials with them. They will therefore ensure that students are provided with enough inspiration and information to begin their creative process but also enough freedom to explore artists, ideas and materials that they are interested in. The first term’s lessons will be skill specific, teacher led sessions, during which students will learn various methods of recording observations and presenting ideas in different media. They will also learn how art historical research and imagery can be analysed in written and visual terms. After this, students are required to work independently with teacher support via one to one tutorials each week in lessons. The Art Department staff are extremely accommodating and encourage students to work in the rooms during study periods, lunchtimes and after school.

What extra-curricular opportunities are there?

This subject opens many doors for students studying art and creates many opportunities for them to visit various different artistic environments such as galleries in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. It also allows students to visit universities to gain further knowledge of the subject and experience art in a further education setting.

Student Testimonial, why study A Level Photography?

Photography is a subject that is suitable for those who like to explore new ways of expressing themselves and finding new, exciting ways to look at the world around them. In A level photography we experiment with both digital and film cameras. The skills you will acquire during the course include; learning how to frame a picture using many techniques, and the correct use of many types of camera and editing software such as Photoshop. We also get to experience of using a dark room, which is a new encounter for everyone. Rachael Lau

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Lordswood Sixth Form Centre directly.

Last updated date: 23 November 2015
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