GCSE / A Level

Photography A Level (Farnham College)

Activate Learning, In Farnham
2 years
Next course start
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Course delivery
2 years
Next course start
See website for dates See details
Course delivery
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Course description

This two-year course will emphasise photography as a creative medium and will be taught primarily as a practical subject. You will learn the basic techniques, theories, principles and how to use photographic processes and equipment; incorporating studio, ICT and camera technique. This will enable you to create your own photographic imagery in response to a variety of exciting and stimulating projects. You will have the opportunity to explore the world of fashion, photo-journalism, advertising, social documentary and many other commercial applications of photography. This can lead to progression towards higher education in photography graphic design, web design, multi-media, video production and also into direct employment.

The course provides the opportunity to extend further your techniques and understanding of software applications, with a critical awareness of other photographer's work, through focused self-managed assignments.

All 16-19-year olds on full-time programmes will be required to retake GCSE English and Maths or to undertake Functional Skills, if they have not already attained the equivalent of a GCSE grade C in these subjects, every year of their course, until they complete their studies.

Those students who are interested in studying photography in a practical and creative environment. You should enjoy creative arts subjects and be able to grasp technical concepts.

Access to photographic studios and darkrooms the option to loan digital and film cameras and portable flash equipment, plus a dedicated suite of iMacs and current Adobe software.

Upcoming start dates

1 start date available

See website for dates

  • Classroom
  • Farnham

Suitability - Who should attend?

At least five GCSES, grade 4 (grade C) and above, with Maths, English Language and an Art-based subject.

Outcome / Qualification etc.

Students typically progress to Higher Education to study photography or an art related subject at degree level at university. Some work experience placements have led directly to employment.

Training Course Content

Specialist Academic Skills

  • A confident ability to create and develop ideas using a wide variety of traditional materials and techniques and digital software based on a thorough understanding of a variety of photographic styles and movements.
  • A confident ability to critically analyse, review and refine own ideas.
  • A confident ability to develop and realise relevant and meaningful solutions showing an in depth understanding of a brief.
  • A confident ability to effectively plan, organise and manage a brief from inception to successful conclusion.

Essential Skills for Progression

  • Development of English and ICT
  • Confidently record ideas in a variety of ways
  • Confidently use SLR and DSLR cameras
  • Confidently use (wet) darkroom equipment
  • Confidently use digital darkroom (Photoshop) equipment and software
  • Confidently use inspirational sources to develop ideas
  • Experiment with a variety of media and processes
  • As per Year 1, plus the ability to effectively plan, manage time, and define target audience.

Subject Specific Enrichment

  • Possible trips undertaking photographic shoots in different environments.
  • Possible trips to photography related exhibitions, universities offering graphic design and related programmes of study at higher level.
  • Possible guest speakers, lectures and workshops from universities.
  • Possible presentations of portfolios from ex-students

Course delivery details

Practical and theoretical elements are taught. Homework: Homework is set and marked on a fortnightly basis and could consist of written research or practical experiments, which typically can be completed within four hours per week.


It is desirable that students have their own 35mm DSLR digital camera, but not essential at the start of the course, as the option to loan equipment is available. Students will need to purchase an equipment pack that will consist of the essentials to start the course. Material fees will be approximately £35.00

Activate Learning
Oxford City Centre Campus
Oxpens Road
OX1 1SA Oxford Oxfordshire

Activate Learning

Activate Learning is a forward-thinking education group that aims for far-reaching, progressive change and impact through learning. We work with learners as individuals, helping them make the choice of course and career pathway that’s right for them. Our mission is to provide work-ready talent for business, and...

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