Accessibility links

Photography at Calder High School

Course description

Learning at AS

During AS you have been introduced to a variety of experiences exploring a range of photographic media, techniques and processes. This included the use of digital camera’s and how various parameters (shutter speed, aperture etc) can be adjusted to create a desired outcome. Through various presentations, focused assignments and practical sessions (studio based photography) you have built up a secure knowledge in the fundamentals of photography.

The assignments produced at AS include:

1. Still Life

2. Portraiture

3. Movement

4. Urban Landscape

5. Personal Project

You have been made aware of new technologies and how digital editing can be used to enhance, improve or create a desired outcome. Thorough focused exercises you have learnt how to optimise a digital image and how tone, contrast and colour can be manipulated to change the mood of an image. Some of the techniques and tools you have used at AS include:

1. Curves

2. Brightness & contrast

3. Shadow/highlight

4. Hue & Saturation

5. Selective colour

6. Colour Adjustments

7. Vignetting

8. Mirror Images

9. Sharpening

10. Beauty retouching

11. Dodging & burning

12. Blending modes

13. Opaque and translucent layers

14. Typography and the type tool

15. Masks

Through your personal project you have explored relevant images and resources relating to Photography from the past and from recent times. You have learnt how to critically analyse an image and interpret its messages and meanings. You have been introduced to specialist vocabulary and used this subject specific language to perceptively discuss your work and the work of others.

Learning at A2

During the A2 course you are required to build on the knowledge, understanding and skills gained in AS with greater depth, exploration and study. This might be achieved by, for example:

 Greater specialisation in a particular medium or process (advanced studio lighting techniques & photography)

 Extended development of particular themes, ideas, concepts or issues.

 Further theoretical research.

 More rigorous exploration of an inter-disciplinary or multi-disciplinary approach.

Some of the photographic processes you will be involved in at A2 include:

 Film photography & Dark room processing

 Painting with light and long exposures

 Multiple exposure photography

 Auto Exposure bracketing

 Advanced studio 3, 4 and 5 point lighting with modifiers

 Scene setting, location props and lighting

Some of the digital editing and software application techniques you will learn include:

 High Dynamic Range Editing and Tone Mapping

 Advanced Painting with Light using curves adjustment layers & masks

 Creating and using displacement maps and fragmentation tools

 Advanced Image compositing using multiple layers & blending modes

 Vector graphics production and integration using Illustrator

 Creative presentation techniques

 Slideshow production, transition creation, title/credits generation, music selection & application

 Stop frame photography

 Short film production and integration

Some of the external trips/visits/ practical sessions you will be involved include:

 Location based photography: Industrialised Environment

 Location based photography: Natural Environment

 Gallery Visit



Course content


Unit 1 (30%) Coursework Portfolio - Producing practical photo-digital artwork using Photoshop CS based software and related photographic packages. A range of digital cameras and lighting equipment will be used in relation to a theme. This unit of work is divided into mini assessment tasks that build to create a major portfolio of work.

Unit 2 (20%) Controlled assignment - (Exam: 5 hrs); Candidates select one starting point from an externally set question paper and are guided towards a final design using the skills they have acquired through completion of unit 1 tasks.


Unit 3 (30%): Personal investigation - Practical photo-digital art work related to a specific theme chosen by the student. Backed up with a written piece of work of between 1000 and 3000 words that relates to the personal investigation through an in depth study of a photographer/s who have inspired own work.

Unit 4 (20%): Controlled assignment - (Exam 15 hrs); Candidates select one starting point from question paper.

All units are internally assessed throughout the course and externally moderated at the end of the course. Students will be expected to complete a wide range of independent learning tasks and meet all deadlines set

Entry requirements

A GCSE C grade or above in an Art related subject, or a Merit or above in a BTEC art related subject.

Have creative and imaginative skills.

Access to their own digital camera – student will be advised on the best camera to purchase when starting the course.

Future opportunities

Higher Education:

Foundation/Degree courses in Art/Photography related subjects

Employment Fields

Fashion/ sports photography

Portrait/family photography

Documentary/ reportage for newspaper/magazines.

Interior Design



Product based photography

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Calder High School directly.

Last updated date: 20 May 2014
Provider logo

Key information

  • Start date: Next September