What is Photography?

Initially the course will help students understand the workings of the camera and the use of editing software such as Lightbox. Emphasis is also placed on framing of photographs and the range of artistic styles that can be developed photographically. Tutors offer practical advice or ideas and then students will develop an original response to a theme, artist or idea. Tutors support the student as the work progresses, offering a critical response and guiding the student’s technical development for a quality final result.

How is it studied?

OCR A-Level Photography is taught within the two-year, five-term and one year A-Level programmes.

Photography is taught in small groups and there is an emphasis on photographic assignments. Students will explore a range of genres including portraiture; landscape photography; commercial photography; still life photography; documentary photography; experimental imagery; editorial photography; photographic installation; and the moving image/animation. Visits to local and national photographic exhibitions are woven into the course to expose students to a range of artists and styles, which they can use or respond to through their own work.

How is A-Level Photography assessed?

Unit Modules Weighting Format
1 Personal Investigation that includes a portfolio of practical work and a written study of 1,000 words 60% Portfolio and essay produced during course
2 Externally set task 40% External Exam: 15 hours


Exam Board: OCR

What do I need to study it?

Many students join the course with no qualification in the subject. Specific techniques are developed throughout the course, and students should not be afraid of practical investigation. An interest in the workings of a camera and editing software helps. Student should have their own Digital SLR camera and lenses.

What should I study with Photography?

Photography can be studied with any subject. Its nature means that it can contribute to any subject combination by offering a more creative approach and practical experience. In combination with other A-Level Art and A-Level Textiles it can support applications to Art degrees and Art Foundation courses.

A-Level Photography also combines very well with A-Level Media Studies and A-Level English Language for those students considering a digital media university or career pathway.

What can I do with A-Level Photography?

Some students go on to Art Foundation courses or Photography degrees. Good photography skills will serve you well throughout a range of creative and related professions, including marketing, design, digital media and film making.

Questions about the course

Can I study A-Level Photography as a one year A-Level?

Yes. Students often combine one year A-Level Photography with two other subjects such as one year A-Level Art, one year A-Level Textiles, one year A-Level Media Studies or one year A-Level English Language.

Is Photography an acceptable subject for access to top universities?

Photography is useful if you are aiming for an Art degree or a degree orientated toward practical Media or Film. It is accepted by all universities, but you may need to combine it with less practical subjects if you are aiming to study an academic subject.