Photography AS/A Level


This course is largely practical and focuses on visual communication skills as well as encouraging students to develop creative, innovative methods of expressing their personal vision. Students will carry out projects, in-depth research and critical analysis of the work of other photographers, designers and artists, and will also use black and white photographic techniques and experiment with digital media.

What goes well with this course?

Advanced Level courses in Photography, Art and Graphic Design involve a high level of practical work, which is extremely time consuming. Although these three subjects complement each other, it is not advisable to take more than two because of the expected workload.


After studying Photography at AS and A Level, students can either take a one-year foundation course at an Art College, progress directly to a degree in Photography, or move into employment (as a Photographer's Assistant for example).

Course Content

Students will learn the practical skills involved in processing and printing black and white film. The majority of images will be produced using a 35mm camera.  A key component of the course will be the use of digital photography and processing.  Students will use Apple Macintosh digital imaging studio, using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator software, to produce work which has a relevance to current design practice.  The College studios are equipped with an impressive suite of computers, scanners and an A3 colour laser printer, with a large darkroom equipped with 16 enlargers.

Lessons vary in nature, but might include:

  • Shooting a film using the lighting kit
  • Processing a film or working in the darkroom   
  • Researching a photographer or a technique through books or on the internet
  • Watching and participating in demonstrations 
  • Giving a presentation of your own work
  • Digitally manipulating images on the computer
  • Writing up the results of an experiment in a workbook
  • Gathering and discussing ideas in a group

Students following this course will need to own a 35mm SLR camera.  A basic manual camera, obtained second hand will be perfectly adequate.  An advice sheet about camera types will be available at enrolment.  The College provides all chemicals for processing and printing, together with film and photographic paper for an introductory project.  Students will need to purchase film and paper for the coursework projects (approx. cost £50 per year).


Educational Experiences

Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences

The College runs a number of educational experiences each year to enable students to contextualise their learning. These experiences include trips to galleries, outdoor photoshoots and talks by visiting speakers, including a variety of local designers and artists.


AS Level

Component 1 Personal Investigation 50%

Component 2 Externally set assignment 50% including a 10 hour practical exam

A Level

Component 1 Personal Investigation 60% including 12% Essay

Component 2 Externally set assignment 40% including a 12 hour practical exam

The exam board for AS/A Level Photography is Pearson Edexcel.

Entry Requirements

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade C (new Grade 4) or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. 

 In addition, students should meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Grade B in GCSE Art or Graphic Design (if taken), or
  • Merit or above in BTEC Level 2  Art & Design

If students only have a Merit for their BTEC Level 2, then  a portfolio of work is also required.  

Students will need full-time access to both a 35 mm film SLR camera and a Digital SLR (DSLR) camera.

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2017

The application form for the academic year 2017-2018 is available to download here.

Students should return their completed forms directly to Coulsdon College, NOT their schools. All applications will be considered according to the College's Admissions Policy Admissions Policy.

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

Download Course Leaflet

Download the AS/A Level Photography information leaflet.

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