Photography A Level

Board: Eduqas (WJEC)
Syllabus: ALevel (A656QSAL)

About the subject

Photography is a creative and practical course which combines technical aspects of image making with the exploration of ideas through a range of media, materials and processes. Learners will engage with early light-based images and rudimentary technology, such as a pinhole cameras and photograms, as well as the most contemporary, including the use of digital cameras, scanners and studio lighting. Students will learn to critique photographers’ work as well as develop and realise their own art.

Learning styles

Lessons will contain critiques of photographer’s work, analysis of composition, research and the development of ideas and photographic techniques.  Practical lessons will take place in the darkrooms, studios and the classrooms which are equipped with high spec computers.

Subject Combinations and Progression

Photography combines well with many creative and technical subjects. The high coursework content of the course should be considered when choosing your programme of study. Photography is also offered at Foundation or Degree level. Students also progress onto apprenticeships or employment.

Subject Modules and Assessment

The Eduqas (WJEC) specification consists of one assignment in year one (Personal Creative Enquiry) & two assignments in year two including the Personal Investigation and the Externally Set Assignment. See below for details:

Year 1 – Subject Modules (100% Coursework)

Personal Creative Enquiry Portfolio- 100% of Year 1 Marks (Transfer Exam)- The emphasis of this component is on the development of understanding and skills, using an appropriate range of materials, processes and techniques. Students will produce a collection of materials that exemplifies work carried out during the first year of the course which will provide the foundations for the skills required to succeed in in year 2


Year 2 – Subject Modules (100% Coursework)

Personal Investigation- 60% of A Level Marks This is a practical investigation supported by written material. Students are required to conduct a practical investigation, into an idea, issue, concept or theme, supported by an essay (1,000 words). The focus of the investigation must be identified independently by the student and must lead to a finished outcome, or a series of related finished outcomes.

Externally Set Assignment- 40% of A Level Marks

Preparatory period + 15 hours supervised time.

Question papers are provided by the exam board. They consist of a choice of questions to be used as starting points. Students are required to select one and respond with their own ideas. The 15 hours are used to produce a finished outcome.

Entry requirements

Level 4 in English Language & Level 4 in an appropriate Creative Subject, or a portfolio to show creative ability. Own DSLR camera.

To start the course students will need to have their own digital SLR camera. We use Canon and Nikon digital SLR cameras in the department. Some other camera brands are also compatible with our studio equipment. Students will need to purchase a standard lens, SD memory card and camera bag (to transport the camera safely). We also recommend the use of a UV or skylight filter to protect the lens from dust or scratches.  These cameras are widely available from suppliers such as Amazon, Curry’s and Park Cameras, Burgess Hill. MPB based in Brighton is a good online second hand retailer. It is worth shopping around as prices vary.

At the beginning of the new term students will decide if they want to create a digital sketchbook or traditional physical sketchbook. Students will be required to buy a materials bundle pack according to their sketchbook preference. Purchases are made via the MyProgress online shop. For physical sketchbooks students will also need a pencil case with pens, pencils, glue and scissors to bring to class and will be required to print work on a weekly basis, at college using print credit, at home, online or local printers such as JR Print. All students should be prepared to get final photographs professionally printed at the end of each project.

Any queries regarding equipment please contact Laura Andrews, Head of Photography