Our Subject


An introduction to Photography
A Level Photography FAQs

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 Photography at Bilborough, you need a minimum grade 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.

You’re expected to have your own camera by the January of your first year – about four months into your studies. If you’re unsure of what to purchase, we recommend trying out our own cameras first: we currently use Canon 4000D DSLRs, and these will give you a good idea of what you’re comfortable working with.

If you’ve received a bursary, you’re entitled to use our cameras throughout the course, and don’t need to purchase one of your own.

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

Your final grade comes from the work you produce in the second year (Year 13) of your Photography A Level. This second year has two units – Component One is worth 60% of the overall grade, and Component Two is worth 40%.

Year 12

In Year 12, we’ll introduce several photographic projects, ranging from Architecture, Landscapes, Street Photography and Still Life to Portraiture (Studio and Environmental). As you discover your own preference(s), it’ll help you to choose a final project for your second year.

You’ll learn how to use film and photographic materials in a darkroom, whilst also mastering the manual settings on a digital camera.

Year 13

Component One is the first unit in Year 13, and accounts for 60% of your overall grade. Having chosen your favourite from the topics we introduce in Year 12 (Studio Portraits, for example), you’ll work in your second year to build up your skills and knowledge. Component One begins in September and finishes the following January.

Component Two begins in February and finishes in May, and covers the remaining 40% of your final grade. You’ll be given a list of topics by the exam board (AQA) and asked to complete a related photography project. Once again, you’ll be able to choose the project you’re most interested in and develop it in relation to the set question.


“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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