A-Level Photography

What is A-Level Photography?

Photography is a popular subject at A-Level with many students attracted to the combination of technical instruction and the creative freedom it offers. In an age when we all take photographs, the A level allows students to reflect on the practice of photography and refine their skills as image-makers.

If you choose to study Photography you will have a considerable scope in choosing and pursuing your own projects. As a result, the work of our students – and the Department’s expertise – is diverse. The course aims to develop an understanding of a wide range of photographic approaches. Whether you’re interested in digital photography, traditional SLR work, or film-making, you’ll receive expert support and tuition.

Our Photography room is equipped with a suite of Macs and an area with studio backdrops for indoor shoots. For those who want to explore and develop film-based work, there is a black and white darkroom and film processing area.

Where you'll study

Brand new for September 2021, our new Arts Centre site is located within 10 minutes’ walk of our main Sixth Form centre in the bustling community of Summertown. Situated in a modern and creative suburb of Oxford, the d’Overbroeck’s Arts Centre is a stone’s throw away from the city’s wide variety of world-famous galleries and art museums to get you inspired.

At our Arts Centre, you’ll have access to specialist studios and state-of-the-art facilities for:

  • 3D Art
  • Ceramics
  • Fine Art
  • Photography
  • Textiles


The stunning new open art spaces enable more room for collaboration, exhibition and display opportunities, as well as ambitious project work, both in terms of size and complexity.

What you'll do

First Year

In the first term students will take an introductory course which will cover all aspects of the subject; understanding how the camera works, use of lenses, studio lighting, the digital manipulation of images and an introduction to film-based photography including darkroom work. The introductory course also covers the critical analysis of photographs and contextual studies into the work of different photographers.

Second Year

In the first term, students will work on a coursework project on a topic of their choice. They will need to demonstrate their understanding of the subject along with the practical skills which they have developed. The coursework project needs to be supported by an essay about a relevant photographer or aspect of photography.

In the second and third terms students work on their final exam project which also requires them to show how they can explore an idea or theme, use their practical skills effectively and present finished work that is personal and coherent.

Throughout the duration of the course, you’ll make regular location visits to take photographs and visit exhibitions in Oxford and London.

Whom does this subject suit?

You don’t need to have any previous experience of photography but a strong interest in the subject is essential. You will need to work hard to develop technical skills and spend time researching projects, alongside the more practical elements of the course.

What might the subject lead to?

Many of our students have gone on to study photography, film and animation at universities and colleges in the UK and abroad: in recent years, students have been offered places on Photography degree courses at LCC, Falmouth, UCA Farnham, UAB Bournemouth, Nottingham Trent,  Manchester and Middlesex. Others have used work from their photography portfolios in their applications to leading art and/or design foundation courses in the UK and USA.