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Photography A-level - Level 3 - Full-time (North Devon)

Level 3 A-levels
Course Code:
North Devon Campus
Two years

Photography is a thrilling outlet for your creativity. This is a really practical art and design course where all your image-making skills can flourish. With a camera in your hand, every day is a new chance to learn! You'll study digital and traditional photographic techniques and even experimental forms of photography.

This is a hands on qualification where you can discover your full creative potential and gain skills of creative thinking which can translate to other areas of study. A-level photography has had a 100% pass rate and a great grade profile for over five years.


This is a highly practical modular programme which will introduce you to photographic techniques and processes which you may not have come across before, and a second year in which you can really stretch yourself and find your own style of image making. Both the first and the second year include a themed coursework unit and in the second year there is also an externally set assignment. You will be introduced to lots of new ways of working and thinking about photography and different forms of art & design.

Throughout the programme you'll explore the endless possibilities of creating images by observing and documenting life around you. The first year covers lots of workshops and skills sessions which aim to prepare you for working in art & design at advanced level. After these workshops and a few shorter projects, you will begin an extended project which will allow you to focus on a genre of photography and techniques that you would like to explore further. In the second year, you will do another large project which will allow you to explore a theme or idea of your own choosing in greater depth before moving onto the externally set assignment in which you will choose to work on one of a number of themes suggested by the exam board.

We'll teach you essential photographic and editing skills, to help you discover new creative ways to express yourself through your shots. We encourage experimentation, and you'll work with other students to help each other progress.

We have an excellent photographic studio with lighting, a photographic darkroom, and lots of iMacs running Adobe Creative Suite. With opportunities to see photographic exhibitions, experience live work and gain work experience, you can get a real-world understanding of working in the creative industries, one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy.
Your work will be assessed using clear assessment objectives which will be carefully explained. You will also have the opportunity to assess your own work so that you understand exactly what kind of evidence you have to provide. Your will need to record your observations; ideas and insights appropriate to your intentions; analysis and critical evaluation of images and texts, showing your understanding; development of ideas through sustained investigation; and, present a personal response explaining connections with the work of others. You will be given regular feedback about how you are getting on.
To be accepted onto a two-year Level 3 programme, all entrants must hold at least a grade 4 in GCSE Maths and a grade 4 in GCSE English, as well as at least three other GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above. Certain subjects require a minimum of GCSE grade 6.

It is advisable to have a grade 4 or above in a creative GCSE: Art, Graphics, Textiles, Photography, Resistant Materials, CDT etc.
If you have not taken a creative GCSE, you can show a portfolio of work by emailing or
If you want a career in photography, you can move on to the Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design, or go directly on to a specialist degree course in art and design (which we offer here at Petroc). Increasing numbers of our students are making successful applications in photography and related subjects and are going on to lead successful careers in the media, art and photographic worlds.
Our spacious, creativity-inspiring art studios allow each student to have a dedicated personal work area. In addition, we have specialist workshops and facilities to support a variety of media. These include: A print area, photography studio, iMac computers suite with industry-standard software for graphics, image making, film and animation.

Learning Technologies and Library Services offer relaxed, quiet and comfortable places to study. You will find a variety of private and group study spaces on campus and multiple computers that can be pre-booked. The college WiFi also allows you to bring your own devices to use.

There are always friendly members of staff on hand to help you find information to assist your study, and you can borrow items including books, journals and media equipment in the Library.
While you don't need to bring a camera to college, you should arrive prepared to start the year with some basic art materials and an A3 sketchbook. You will be sent some more information about the sorts of things that you need to equip yourself with before the start of term. You may also be sent a task to have a go at over summer so that we have some interesting things to talk about right from day one.
You will need some A3 sketchbooks to record your work in, costing around £4 each, and you will also need some basic art materials for example pens, pencils and glue. We try to run a couple of day trips to London and other locations each year - we try to keep the cost of these trips to around £35.
Please contact the Advice & Guidance Centre on 01271 852422 for more information.
Q: Do I need my own camera?
A: No, while it may be useful for you to have your own camera, it is not essential. The department owns a range of cameras which we lend out to students as and when they need them.

Q: I want to buy a camera, what should I buy?
A: If you would like to buy a camera, wait until you are settled into the course and we may be able to give you some advice that will help you to make the right decision.

Q: I see that photography is an Art & Design course, will I have to do things like drawing and painting?
A: While the focus of the course is on photography and making images with photographic processes, we encourage you to use drawing and other art & design processes to help you to communicate your ideas and to develop your own work.

Q: Is there a reading list for the course?
A: The book we recommend you start with is 'The Photography Book' published by Phaidon. It is a small book which will introduce you to a great many photographers whose work can start to whet your appetite. There are a number of other books and sources of reading we would recommend once you have decided to focus on a particular area of the subject.

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