Level 3

Qualification: A Level

Duration: 2 years

What will I study?

Photography is used to communicate ideas and messages about the observed world. The A Level encourages exploration of different materials, processes and techniques, both formal
and experimental. The start of the course is workshop based, teaching a range of Photography Skills including basic and advanced camera functions, studio and dark room processes. You will learn not only how to use your camera to take a good photograph but to understand the technicalities involved and how to explore your own concepts and ideas.

After this introductory workshop period, students are encouraged to develop their own specialism and explore their own concepts and ideas free of external constraints while continuing to develop and explore their skills. Students are encouraged to base their work around their own individual identity, incorporating cultural influences or personal experiences and interests.

Although most of the assessed work is practical and sketchbook based, there is a separately assessed written essay. This encourages students to explore the work of other artists who inspire them and look at their work in a wider context.

It is important to note that Photography at TRC is a pathway that belongs to the Art and Design A Level syllabus and therefore, is a creative and art-based subject and not only media/design technology based.

Study Visits

First Year: Day visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park (October) and residential trip to Liverpool (June/July)
Second Year: Day trip to Manchester (February)


Day trips: contribution towards petrol, between £10-£15 per trip.

Sketchbooks: Students will need to buy their own sketchbooks; however, we have high quality monogrammed sketchbooks available to purchase at cost price from us. We recommend buying these from the department to ensure that they are of a good enough quality. These range from £5.50 – £7.00.

Starter portfolio pack including basic materials – £12.00 (subject to materials/availability).

Printer Credits – Photography is a visual subject and will rely heavily on good quality print outs. Students are given a certain amount of ‘printer credits’, however, they may need to top this up.

You will need to pay for photographic paper for darkroom use. We buy these materials in bulk and sell them onto students at cost price to keep costs down. Please be aware as darkroom photography is a highly specialised area of photography there will be some costs to incur. Bursaries are available to help students fund the cost of their courses.

It is recommended; that you have your own camera, however the college does have equipment that students can book out to complete their studies. A camera on a mobile phone isn’t recommended, instead an entry level DSLR is preferable.


The course consists of two components.

Component one (60%) is coursework and will start in September and continue through for approximately 4 terms.

Component two (40%) is the exam unit which sets a theme to be explored with a timed test at the end in which you produce your final outcome under exam conditions.

Entry Criteria

Grade 5 GCSE Art or related qualification. (Grade 6 if taken in combination with another Art based course).

Grade 4 English Language.

If you have not studied GCSE Art or Photography, you need to submit a portfolio before enrolment. Please contact the department.

Useful Supporting Courses

Graphic Communication, Fine Art, Film, Media, Music and Performing Arts. Most subjects contrast well with and support the study of Photography from Sciences to History and Literature.

You can have a look at the subject specific Instagram sites by searching:


Most of our student’s progress onto higher education in Photography, Graphic Design, Fine Art, Illustration, Games Design, Film, Web Design and Interior Design.

Graphic Designer, Magazine Feature Editor, Medical Illustrator.

Culture Vulture

Check out our Culture Vulture link to see what takes your interest.

Photography Culture Vulture

Flying start

Click the link and have a go at our 10-week learning plan to get you off to the best start.

Photography Flying Start

Course Overview

Follow the link to see an introduction to the course, identifying what you will study with us in the first few months and what you might already know.

Photography Course Overview

If you are having difficulty in opening any of these documents, please email 

Check out our new studio here:

Photography Studio