Art and Design: Photography

Course Information

Literacy ****
Numeracy *
Communications *****
Creativity *****
Practical *****
Group Work ***
Examination Assessment 40%
Non Examination Assessment 60%
EBacc x
Examination Board AQA


General Information

The course provides opportunities for each pupil to recognise and develop his/her own creative ability and to appreciate the relevance of Photography to everyday life and the wider environment. Pupils will study a wide range of photographic techniques and study a range of traditional, new media and Graphic techniques so that a final portfolio of work can be produced.

What will I need to succeed?

  • Be willing to think for yourself. 
  • Try to show your individuality.
  • Be willing to work independently. 
  • Be willing to work in your own time and take it seriously. 
  • Persevere and don’t give up. It really is worth it!

Expected Subject Content

During Year 10, all Photography pupils will follow a distinct programme of study that is designed to build practical skill, independence and visual literacy. Pupils will undertake a variety of small units of work designed to enable them to build a portfolio of work throughout Years 10 & 11. 

Each pupil’s individual skills will be directed and counselled through a variety of projects, examples being technical work with DSLR cameras and studio lighting, darkroom techniques, use of Photoshop/imaging software, fine art photography and application of imagery to a wide variety of contexts.  

Some projects will place emphasis purely on visual aesthetics, whilst others will emphasise other important factors such as the function and suitability of a design for a given purpose or the personal exploration of a given theme. All of our units of work are reviewed regularly and will usually respond to the exam board’s requirements and suggested exam study topics.

All projects will include an element of critical study to support Photographic understanding. The design process, showing sequential stages through which ideas pass before being finally realised, is considered an important part of the course, as are values of craftsmanship, both in execution and presentation of work.

When pupils show particular strength in a photographic area, they will be encouraged to specialise in this during the examination period.

Expected Assessment Requirements (1-9 Grades)

Examination: 40%

Pupils will receive the question paper in advance, so that preparation can be done thoroughly (8-10 weeks will be allowed for this).  10 hours will be allowed for the actual examination, plus time to prepare materials and present the completed project.

All preliminary Photographic work, written work, designs, drawings etc. will be presented for examination with the completed ‘examination piece’, which is likely to be a series of images or a creative response to an exam brief.  Each pupil will decide on the type of response he/she wishes to make from the choice of questions/stimuli.

Coursework: 60%

For examination, one extended project is required and any other number of smaller projects in addition. Regardless of the number of units submitted, all assessment objectives must be met in the coursework as a whole.  Each will show the development of ideas and research, leading to completed designs and works of photographic art.  A definite theme or design brief will be the starting point for each unit, and from this, pupils can produce any quantity of work in a variety of media.  Some projects will take one term others may stretch over two, with continuous formative assessment taking place.  Sketchbooks are a continuous homework element of the course with projects being completed in both traditional books and on-line ‘digital sketchbooks’. Pupils should be prepared to undertake photoshoots both in school and out of school for homework. They are encouraged to visit local art galleries and museums and to take a general interest in the whole environment. Trips are often arranged to gallery exhibitions in London and Hampshire to support learning and engagement.

What careers it can lead to after leaving Swanmore College

Commercial Photographer


Film Director

Art Photographer




Computer Graphics

Interior Designer

Portrait/Wedding Photographer

Fashion Design

Set Design

Director of Photography

Fashion Journalism

Web Designer