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Qualification: Photography - A Level
Location: Canterbury College

Photography - A Level

Photography is a subject that is ideal for students who want to develop their practical photographic skills and enjoy exploring ideas.

Students will learn how to analyse and respond to the work of traditional and contemporary photographers whilst learning how to express their own ideas with confidence. It is largely a practical subject with students taking photographs in lessons and in their free time. It is however important to recognise that quite a lot of time is spent documenting and analysing their research as well as the work they produce. Students learn both digital and analogue photography within excellent specialist photographic facilities including a studio and darkroom. Developing your skills by looking at artists and designers is an important part of any artist experience. We invite guest photographers in to run one day workshops throughout the year and we also have many visiting speakers from universities to give you information about progression opportunities and careers.


The focus of the first year is on developing students’ technical skills (cameras, darkroom, Photoshop and studio) as well as their understanding of the assessment criteria. Students will keep a sketchbook where they document their work and research and there will be a number of deadlines where they present boards of final images. In the second year you will be further developing your skills and exploring your ideas to a high standard. You will produce a portfolio of high-level photographic work to show at interviews.


Progression will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.


Year 2 becomes more specialised. The coursework element consists of one major project, which you choose yourself.  There is also a short-written element to the coursework.  The exam project culminates in a 15-hour practical exam.


All A Level coursework is due in at the end of January in your second year. From the start of February you will then start your exam project. In May, at the end of the exam preparation period, you will be completing a final piece during a 15-hour exam – spread over 3 days. The coursework is worth 60% of your A Level mark and the exam project is 40%.


For an A Level programme of study, we normally require students to have a range of at least five to seven GCSE passes at grade 4 or higher, ideally including English and Mathematics, but students must also satisfy the minimum entry criteria for A Level Photography below.

Grade 4

GCSE Art & Design or Textiles or Graphics




Level 2 Art & Design

For those who have not previously studied a GCSE in Art and Design or Photography or Graphics, or an equivalent Level 2 course, it is still possible to be considered for this course.

During the interview, you will be asked to bring examples of your work. This could be a portfolio, a sketchbook or even just images of the types of things you have worked on previously.


Studying Photography can lead to many careers in the creative industries. Possible careers include graphic design, commercial photography, fashion photography, fine art photography, architecture, product design, and web design.


The basic requirement is for students to buy an A3 coursework sketchbook for the first day and to have some pencils and pens available for homework. They will also need an A1 Portfolio by the end of the first term. It is also advisable to have your own SLR or DSLR camera. We will tell you more about this at Induction.

Contact us

We'd love to hear from you

New Dover Road
Canterbury, Kent

01227 936577