Header image

Header image overlay text

A-Level Photography

Main body content

Why study Photography?

Exam board and specification: AQA A-level Photography 7206

This is a subject where students produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas of study, for example, portraiture, landscape photography, still life photography, documentary photography, photojournalism, fashion photography, experimental imagery, multimedia, photographic installation and moving image (video, film, animation). Students develop practical and theoretical knowledge and understanding of:

  • Relevant materials, processes, technologies and resources
  • How ideas, feelings and meanings can be conveyed and interpreted in images and artefacts
  • How images and artefacts relate to the time and place in which they were made and to their social and cultural contexts
  • Continuity and change in different genres, styles and traditions
  • A working vocabulary and specialist terminology



What is covered by the course?


As an art department, students work towards their full A level from the beginning of year 12. They would only be put in for the AS if they wanted to have this as a stand alone qualification without going on to complete their full A level in year 13.

A-Level year one

Students are introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of photographic media, techniques and processes. They are made aware of both traditional and new technologies. Students should explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to a range of art, craft and design, from the past and from recent times, including European and non-European examples. This should be integral to the investigating and making processes.

Students' responses to these examples must be shown through practical and critical activities that demonstrate their understanding of different styles, genres and traditions. Students use sketchbooks/workbooks/journals to underpin their work where appropriate. They may wish to develop their drawing skills in order to produce storyboards, thumbnail sketches and/or diagrams, where appropriate.

Students may use traditional methods and/or digital techniques to produce images. Students are made aware of the four assessment objectives to be demonstrated in the context of the content and skills presented and of the importance of process as well as product.

A-level year two

Component 1: This is a practical personal and focused investigation supported by written material. In Component 1, students develop work based on an idea, issue, concept or theme leading to a finished outcome or a series of related finished outcomes. Practical elements should make connections with some aspect of contemporary or past practice of artist(s), designer(s), photographers or craftspeople and include written work of no less than 1000 and no more than 3000 words that supports the practical work.

Component 2: In Component 2, 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.

How is it examined?

Component 1: Personal investigation

  • No time limit
  • 96 marks
  • 60% of A-level

Component 2: Externally set assignment

  • Preparatory period (from 1st February) + 15 hours supervised time (in May)
  • 96 marks
  • 40% of A-level

Related university courses and careers:

University courses: Photography, Photojournalism and Documentary Photography, Fashion Photography

Jobs directly related to a photography degree include:

Jobs where a photography degree would be useful include:

Suggested reading:


The Photographers Gallery

National Portrait Gallery