A future less ordinary



Our Subject

Click! Snap! Photography at Bilborough Sixth Form College, which follows the AQA syllabus, allows you to develop a personal approach to image making. In the first term you’ll learn the basic underpinning theory and practical application of both traditional and digital photography. Later on you’ll apply a wide variety of photographic techniques and approaches including: photography as personal expression, study skills and time management, various genres of photography, and the critical assessment of imagery. Our Photography department is a great place to hone your skills. We’re proud to have two large teaching areas with industry-standard PC suites. The large black & white darkroom has facilities for both wet tray development and dry-to-dry processing of photographic paper.

To study Photograhpy at Bilborough, you need a minimum grade C/4 or above in English GCSE, and an enthusiasm for visual imagery and have an inquisitive nature.

Students have access to a wide range of photographic equipment. As it is impossible to cover these items under the general college insurance, the department underwrites the insurance and charges each student a £20 fee to cover the cost; this also allows students free access to film and photographic paper throughout their course. Bursary students are exempt from the charge. Payment can be made during the first half term of the course.

Our links with HE

Photography is accepted by universities and colleges as a discipline which shows wide-ranging ability. You may wish to continue your study of Photography through a Foundation course in Art and Design or progress on to a degree at one of many institutions across the country. Our knowledgeable Photography teachers are always happy to talk to you about the best possible path to your ideal career – whether you want to be a photographer or do something media-related. Whatever your future plans, we hope to inspire in you a life-long love for image making and a sound grasp of the theory behind it.

Course Structure

AS-level Photography consists of two units. The first is ‘Portfolio’, where you’ll be asked to choose one of the topic areas designated by your teachers.  These topics are broad and allow for a wide variety of interpretation to suit your individual preferences. Your portfolio will contain both photographic images and an illustrated workbook, demonstrating that you have made both technical and aesthetic in-depth research.  Your body of work will be marked by the college and moderated by a visiting member of AQA in June. The second unit consists of an externally set assignment. You must produce your work to a specific timescale, which includes five hours of unaided supervised work. Again there is a mixture of both practical and academic study, producing a workbook containing research images, notes and critical evaluation and a final set of images.

In your A2 year you will undertake the ‘Personal Investigation’ module, in which you develop work in response to self-initiated ideas or concepts. In addition there is a separate written component explaining your ideas, techniques and artistic influences.Finally, you’ll do another externally set assignment, choosing one topic from eight set by the exam board and producing your work to a specified timescale.


“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
Ansel Adams

“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.”
Joan Miró

Need more inspiration?  Take a peek at some of our photography students’ work on our Flickrsite

Comments on student work from AQA moderators:


“Students benefitted from a well taught and structured course at AS level.  An impressive amount of photo shoots supported each project and students were encouraged to develop individual work with strong contextual links.  This is a very well organised department who work hard to ensure that their students have a clear grasp of photographic processes and the development of those who continue in A2 is clear.  All projects seen in the sample showed good practice and were very thorough fulfilling all the AQA assessment criteria”


“The centre delivers a good technical course, providing students with a solid understanding of photographic processes, including black and white darkroom work in Unit 1. A range of projects enable all students to respond individually whilst making interesting and valid contextual links”

“Work was extremely well contextualised with lots of good supporting research and links to a wide range of artists, providing inspiration for each project. AO3 was particularly strong with students taking up to 10 photo shoots for each project.”

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