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Hatcham College

A Level Photography

A-Level Photography

A-Level Photography is a prerequisite that students have studied a GCSE Art & Design course and achieved a grade 6 or above. Photography requires enthusiasm to learn new skills, refine and apply the observations made with a camera and determine which digital platform, processes or techniques are most appropriate in exploration of ideas.

Photography requires the use a variety of tools and materials, as appropriate, for recording surroundings and source materials. It is used to convey personal identity more widely than any other art form, is applied in the creative process across art, craft and design and is widely used in social, commercial and scientific contexts. The development of affordable lens-based technology has changed the way that both professionals and the public use photography.

You will be required to work in one or more of the disciplines to communicate your ideas. By working across disciplines, they will extend their understanding of the scope of photography; by focusing on one discipline, they will gain a deeper understanding of specific processes within photography.

It is expected that students visit galleries and exhibitions in their own time and use the resources found within their own work. You will develop the skills to interpret and convey your ideas and feelings using photographic techniques and also written analysis. This is in the form of critical analysis via essays, extended responses and statements and also visual accounts. The research of other Photographers and connecting your findings to your own work is mandatory.

Exhibition of students’ work will conclude the course. Recently graduated students who have studied this subject have been successful in gaining places on degree courses such as Art and Architecture at universities such as Bristol and Westminster, University of the Arts London,  as well as Art Foundation courses at Camberwell and Ravensbourne Colleges.


Photography is sub-divided into the following two main disciplines:

Film-based photography

  • Film types, film speeds, specialised films which will facilitate the processes of generating and developing ideas, pushing/pulling films, reciprocity failure
  • Viewpoint, composition, focus, aperture, shutter speed, exposure, through the lens metering
  • Darkroom techniques, using appropriate paper types, developing and printing, emulsions, exposures, tone and contrast
  • Techniques such as polarisation and solarisation when printing, photograms, photomontage
  • Acquisition, manipulation and distribution of the image through computers, scanners, photocopiers and computer software.

Digital Photography

  • The principles of digital photography, including the pixel and digital processing
  • Viewpoint, white balance, composition, focus, aperture, shutter speed, exposure, shooting modes, histograms
  • The use and qualities of image acquisition hardware and software, image manipulation and analogies between digital and other forms of photography
  • The relationships between colour and tone for screen and print-based media, screen calibration, colour gamut, file formats such as raw, jpeg, tiff, png
  • The use of a range of source material, software and hardware in the generation and development of ideas.

Please click on this link to view the Photography Handbook