Photography A-Level (AQA)

Course Overview

The Art department is located on the top floor of a new building situated beside the main Sixth Form Centre. We have excellent facilities in our purpose built Photography classroom and darkroom, which features a full photography studio.

A-Level Photography at The Angmering Sixth Form College is a dynamic and practical course that will introduce you to a variety of experiences, processes and techniques including:

  • Technical skills needed to take high quality images using a DSLR  camera 

  • Contextual Studies to aid your understanding of the role of photography in modern society 

  • Digital manipulation techniques and manual experimentation 

  • Compositional devices and formal elements used by photographers who work across a range of genres. You will produce digital ‘sketchbooks’ to show your developing ideas and demonstrate your technical and critical understanding. You will also learn how to make and select images for final presentation.



The A-level course is structured as follows:

Year 12 

We start with an ‘Introduction to Photography’ where you learn the technical skills of how to use a DSLR, find out about the exposure triangle, and explore using the darkroom. These skills are taught in workshop style lessons to quickly get everyone up to speed, thinking and working at ‘A-Level’ standard. During this time you will also learn a range of Photoshop and image manipulation skills  to help you present your work in a digital sketchbook. Working in digital sketchbooks keeps the cost of printing down and streamlines the process of uploading and managing your workflow.

During our ‘Modernism’ project you will find out about the history of photography, studying several famous pioneering photographers. You will experiment both digitally and manually with a variety of exciting techniques and media to recreate famous photographs, inspiring you to develop your own unique style.

‘The Book Project’ allows you to develop your first personal project supported along the way by your teachers. The small class sizes at A-level enable you to focus and hone new skills and interests that become relevant to you. This provides the perfect working environment for you to experiment and learn from each other whilst giving you the opportunity to express yourself through your onward journey.

Throughout Year 12, critical reviews and regular tutorials are built into the programme to support your growth as a developing photographer.


Year 13

During the first half of the year, you produce a portfolio project which is worth 60% of your total mark. This is called Component 1. Building on what you learned about your own strengths and interests in Year 12, your teachers will support you in developing a rich body of work that you will present and showcase in a digital portfolio to prospective universities and employers in the creative industries.

In February you receive the Externally Set Assignment (ESA) from the exam board, and this is when you get to show off your skills and knowledge. Component 2 is an externally set assignment which involves a preparatory period where you develop your ideas and research your chosen theme. This is followed by allocated supervised time in the Photography department of 15 hours in which to produce outcomes related to your project. Component 2 is worth 40% of your total mark for A-level.

Throughout the course there are a number of opportunities to visit exhibitions at galleries and museums locally and nationally. We are often involved in projects that sixth form artists take part in.

Studying A-Level Photography can lead to further educational courses such as a one-year art foundation course or moving onto a more specialised course or career in Fashion, Sport, Documentary, Wildlife, Fine Art Photography, Photo-Journalism, Media Studies, Advertising, Publishing, Fine Art, Graphic Design, and Film making.

Studying Photography at A-Level will help you develop key and transferable skills which are highly valued by employers and universities.
The UK Creative Industries offer a wealth of interesting, lucrative and exciting career opportunities for students who study Photography at A-level.

You should be on track to achieve a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 4 - 9, including an Art-related subject.

You do not need to have all your own equipment to study Photography at The Angmering Sixth Form College, as we have a range of professional equipment you can borrow. All you need is your own SD card and a creative mind.