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A-Levels - A Level Photography

Wakefield College

Margaret Street, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 2DH

GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Level 3
Arts, Media and Publishing

Course Summary

A Level Photography is a visually creative course where you learn new skills in both traditional and digital photography. Throughout the course we look at four main areas; darkroom, studio, location and digital manipulation and based entirely on course work students will have the opportunity to develop in these areas using their own ideas and imagination. The college has great facilities such as a fully working studio, lighting equipment, cameras and accessories, a darkroom and PC’s fully equipped with the latest editing software. It offers a range of activities that are set outside of the course work projects, from music photography to sports and event photography, which will help students gain experience and build a bigger and better portfolio of work. Students will also get the opportunity to come on various trips to see exhibitions and photograph on location, these include a visits to a wide range of galleries and an overnight stay in London. Although this is a course work based subject it is also demanding and students must have the ability and the motivation, using time within and outside of college to produce bodies of work that are of an excellent quality.

Course Details

What you will study

This is a two year course that focuses on 4 main areas of study (studio, darkroom, digital manipulation and location photography). Each area will be developed into individual projects based around subjects such as portraiture or landscape photography. The course is split into three main components:

1: Portfolio building. This will concentrate on learning, understanding and practicing the skills needed throughout the course, whilst producing a variety of independent projects.

2: Personal Investigation
This entails students developing skills in all areas as well as appreciating and learning about historical and contemporary photographers. Work will be underpinned with research and written analysis as well as a visual work which shows the learning process. Students will then be given the opportunity to develop their own personal style of photography with individual projects. Sharing good practice within the class learners will push their abilities to the limit and produce a body of work that shows a journey of development resulting in a skilful and creative final outcome. Each learner will also produce a 3000 word essay, which is split into two parts, based on the work and photographers they have researched.

3: Externally Set Exam
This will allow the student to focus on a particular theme and develop a personal response, with 15 hours of silent exam time to complete a final outcome from this development.

Your Course Structure

Classroom: 30%; Practical: 70%

How you will learn

Through a series of lectures and practical activities, you will receive tuition on the fundamental principles of photography which include time, aperture and light. You will then undertake theme based projects which you can interpret in any appropriate manner, using photography to generate and develop your concepts. Your workbook should demonstrate a creative journey, including each developmental stage and explorative technique used and reference to the work of other photographers, artists or crafts persons.

How will it be delivered?

How you will be assessed

Formative (half way) assessments with verbal and written feedback will help to further ideas and grades, and summative (end) assessments will be given when the projects are completed, also with verbal and written feedback.

There are four main criteria assessed:
AO1 - Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.

AO2 - Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.

AO3 - Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.

AO4 - Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

A Level -
Component 1 is worth 60% of the marks which must be supported by written work between 1500 – 3000 words.
Component 2 is worth 40% of the mark and will have 15 hours of supervised time at the end of the project.

Entry requirements

5 GCSEs 9-4, including English and Maths, plus an art related subject
A portfolio of work
NB 100% attendance in all your A level sessions is essential to get high grades.

Your next steps...

Further study

A Level Photography is an accepted entry qualification to universities and colleges for a wide range of degree and diploma courses such as the Foundation Degree in Commercial Photography here at Wakefield College.

Career opportunities

A Level photography can lead onto various media and art based course at HE level. Also it could lead to working with other photographers to become a photojournalist, studio/location photographer, graphic designer/re-toucher or a teacher/workshop leader, and various other employment, or ultimately become freelance or self-employed.

Additional information

For more courses like this, check our courses page.