A Level

Exam Board: OCR

2 years


Course Content:

At Alton College on the Photography A-Level you will study:

  • Traditional darkroom techniques, which will enable you to fully appreciate how photography has evolved into the 21st century.  It will be a hands-on practical history lesson!
  • How to think about visual communication and how imagery is used to communicate an idea or viewpoint of an individual.
  • Research into a variety of worldwide photographic artists, to help and influence your own creative image making.
  • Digital workflow & editing as an extension of the darkroom using Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • A personal investigation, in your 2nd year of study, exploring artists, photographers and technique to gain an in-depth practical understanding of the process you apply within your photographic practice, supported by a related written study.
  • Independently and be encouraged to take responsibility for directing much of your own practical projects and research work. 


60% personal investigation, 40% externally set task.
Externally set task includes a 15 hr controlled element.

Studying at Alton College:

Lessons activities are wide ranging and stimulating from theory based to practical exploration.  You will develop your own ideas by researching into other artists and be encouraged to examine the world around you visually.  You will work through a variety of techniques and learn to work with appropriate media, materials and processes.  Photography students are expected to annotate work, to express personal and creative ideas and produce final outcomes using a range of approaches and methods from the darkroom to digital.

Entry requirements:

Students should normally have achieved at least five GCSEs at grade 9-4. For GCSEs which remain with the old grading system, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C.

We recommend a grade 5 in a creative or technical subject at GCSE, although in exceptional circumstances we do consider students without an Art qualification.

Course costs:

Purchase of photographic consumables : approx. £20 per project. 

Optional trips from £20 each.

Photography works well with:

Art and Design
English Language
Graphic Design