Photography – Photography 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 ideas. 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 dark room techniques and experiment with digital media.

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.

The course will include:

  • Shooting a film using the lighting kit
  • Processing a film and working in the darkroom
  • Researching photographers and techniques through books, the internet and gallery visits
  • Watching and participating in demonstrations and professional practice talks
  • Giving a presentation of your own work
  • Digitally manipulating images on the computer
  • Visually documenting and 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 £20 per year).


Component 1: Personal Investigation 60% including an Essay

Component 2: Externally set assignment 40% including a 15 hour practical exam

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.


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

Entry Requirements & Assessment

Students wishing to include A Levels in their programme need to have (or expect to achieve) at least five GCSE passes, with at least two at Grade 5 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 4 in Art or relevant Design Technology GCSE and Grade 5 if taking 2 Art courses

If students only have a Merit for their BTEC Level 2, then a portfolio of work is also required. Students will need their own 35 mm film SLR camera or a Digital SLR (DSLR) camera.


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. Photography can also be combined with BTEC Level 3 Art and Media courses.


How To Apply

Applications for entry September 2022. The application form for the academic year 2022-2023 is available to complete online 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. Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.



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Tel: 01737 551 176
Fax: 01737 551 282

Coulsdon Sixth Form College
Placehouse Lane
Old Coulsdon



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