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A level

Long Road has one of the largest Photography centres in the country. This, and the pride we take in reflecting contemporary and established practice within the photographic arts industry, means it’s a fantastic time to study here. Recent investment in  facilities, with extensive Digital Mac suites, a darkroom and a studio, enable students to acquire Digital, Traditional and Lighting skills taught by specialist teachers. Throughout the course there’s an emphasis on exploring and developing your own creative work whilst studying the work of renowned artists and professionals.

Course content

Year 1

You will be introduced to the necessary skills and techniques to enable you to become a successful photographer. You will work with both 35mm and digital SLR cameras, developing your images in both the darkroom and the digital environment.

Component 1

You will be expected to produce a portfolio of images, based on a personal response to a set theme, demonstrating a solid understanding of techniques covered alongside experimentation and the creative use of the medium. Alongside your portfolio of images you will submit sketchbook-based work that documents your development and contains contextual research related to aspects covered throughout Component 1.

Component 2

The emphasis of Component 2 will be the development of your own ideas and creative responses. Starting points are externally set. You will be required to produce preparatory work in response to a chosen starting point, extending initial ideas in your sketchbook and within a 5-hour supervised developmental period. The resulting preparatory work will lead to a fully-realized body of photographic work or to work of a further developmental nature.

Year 2

The second year encourages greater depth and a more mature development of your work refining and extending skills and ideas developed during the first year.

Component 3

Component 3 concentrates on carrying out a Personal Investigation based on ideas, issues and concepts relevant to a personal and expressive approach to photography. Alongside this project you are expected to produce a Related Personal Study in the form of a 1500 to 3000 word written piece of a critical and analytical nature.

Component 4

Finally, Component 4 is a further Externally Set Assignment where, after a period of sketchbook-based development, you will need to create an informed and competent response realized under exam conditions (15hrs).


Assessment is by practical examination, where you produce a project from a choice of set questions, and coursework.

Is it for me?

You will enjoy and benefit from the course if you:

  • are interested in Photography as an art form or would like a career as a commercial photographer or journalist.
  • are interested in exploring both the technical and theoretical aspects of Photography.
  • are good at time management.
  • enjoy practical work and prefer this form of assessment but feel confident about extended writing projects.
  • are good at using your creativity to develop personal ideas and responses and enjoy taking risks with ideas/techniques.
  • enjoy practical work and prefer this form of assessment but feel confident about extended writing projects.

Special features

During the course there are opportunities to visit local and national galleries. In the past these have included portrait workshops held at the National Portrait Gallery led by international photographers and practical on location visits such as the recent ‘Shoot from the hip’ visit to London. There are also possibilities of international residential trips to, for example, Paris or New York.

We have an on-going collaboration with Fujifilm UK, who have donated 40 digital cameras to the department, run workshops in fashion, landscape and documentary photography using Fuji-sponsored photographers and also run competitions for our students.

Entry requirements

At least 7 Grade 4s at GCSE in a range of subjects including Maths and English. A Grade 4 or equivalent is required in Photography if taken at GCSE level.

Examination board: AQA

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