Photography students at Charters School will have gained high levels of creative thinking allied to advanced technical skills, underpinned by research of historical and contemporary contexts and the exploration of photography’s contribution to visual culture.

This means:

  • Students will be able to operate a camera with confidence, demonstrating manual control in a range of different photoshoot settings.
  • Students will produce a portfolio of work based on a set of negotiated themes that demonstrate analogue and digital proficiency.
  • Students will have the opportunity for open debate about work through regular critiques and tutorials to develop a broad visual vocabulary and an appreciation for other people’s ideas and viewpoints.
  • Students will develop their understanding of how to work to a brief both as individuals and as part of a team, focusing on the specifics of the creative process across a range of genres from social realism to commercial photography.


A Level Photography follows the AQA syllabus. It is a two year course with students being introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of photographic media, techniques and processes. Students are expected to produce a portfolio of work based on a theme, topic, genre or idea. The student’s portfolio of work must be supported with a research based essay. The course encourages and teaches both digital and analogue methods of capturing imagery and has a dedicated computer suite and darkroom. Students are introduced to a range of photographic genres, from the past and from recent times and are expected to respond to these examples through practical and critical activities that demonstrate their understanding of different styles, genres and traditions. The students present their work as digital portfolios using Adobe InDesign.

Potential genres that students might explore as part of their portfolio include:

• portraiture
• landscape photography (working from the urban, rural and/or coastal environment)
• still life photography (working from objects or from the natural world)
• documentary photography, photojournalism
• fashion photography
• experimental imagery
• multimedia
• photographic installation
• moving image (video, film, animation).


In Component 1, (the coursework worth 60%) students develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or theme leading to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. Practical work will make connections with some aspect of contemporary or past practice of artist(s), designer(s), photographers or craftspeople and includes written work of no more than 3000 words which supports the practical work.

In Component 2, (the exam worth 40%) students respond to a stimulus, provided by AQA, to produce work which provides evidence of their ability to work independently within specified time constraints, developing a personal and meaningful response which addresses all the assessment objectives and leads to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. The exam is a practical exam (15 hours long) spread over three days in which the students produce their final portfolio piece.



GCSE grade 6 in Photography.
GCSE grade 4 in English Language or Literature.

If Photography has not been taken then GCSE grade 5 in English Language or Literature is required.


Course title: Art and Design Photography endorsed

Course code: 7206



Take a look around the links below to find our where this exciting subject could lead.

Complementary Subjects

A Level Photography is an exciting course that embraces a wide variety of motivations and interests that Sixth Form students have in the visual arts and the wider community of digital media.

Our students choose photography for lots of different reasons and will often have a wide variety of subject choices. They choose Photography based on the high achieving results and the opportunity to be part of a creative and dynamic course. They choose Photography for the opportunity to develop a professional level portfolio, having access to industry standard software and a dedicated computer suite.

Subjects such as Psychology, History, English and Art have historically helped students to achieve high standards in their portfolios. Students with a scientific background enjoy the technical aspects of the equipment used in digital and traditional darkroom photography, whilst students with a creative interest find the development of a portfolio a rewarding outlet.

Future Opportunities

On completion of the A level, you'll have a unique and compelling body of work for the marketplace.

Becoming a photography professional opens doors to a wide range of careers within a global landscape of creative industries.

Photography students can progress to an Art Foundation level before moving on to a degree course if your portfolio of work demonstrates the strengths required by the university.

Past students have gained places on Photography degrees at UCA and the universities of Bournemouth, Falmouth, Bristol and Southampton.

Our students go on to work in fields from editorial and fashion to movie stills and medical photography

Be Inspired by Exploring Further


What is a Photograph? by Carol Squiers

This book explores what photography means in the 21st century


This Week in Photo

This Week in Photo is a great starting point for keen photographers. This Week in Photo covers all things photography – if you want to stay up to date with the latest news, it’s a must-listen