Photography - Options 2024

Course Specification:              AQA GCSE Art and Design – Photography (8206)

Course contact:                      Ms Rachel Winstanley 

Course Description: GCSE Photography is all about your skill, creativity, and imagination. You will create a portfolio of work in response to project themes and different kinds of inspirational starting points. GCSE Photography requires students to study the following four Assessment Objectives (AOs).

AO1: Develop ideas through investigations, demonstrating critical understanding of sources.

AO2: Refine work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes.

AO3: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions as work progresses.

AO4: Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and demonstrates understanding of visual language. 



What will I learn?

Our approach to photography is creative. You will learn several processes and techniques, but the main aim of the course is to help you look harder and better at the world around so that you can create images that reveal those worlds in new ways. Photography has a wonderful ability to surprise, delight and challenge the viewer. The camera sees things that our eyes cannot see.

Although we are calling the course ‘Photography’ it is really the study of a wide range of light and lens-based media. We will be exploring camera-less photographs (photograms/ cyanotypes), making our own pinhole cameras, learning the rudiments of developing and printing in the darkroom as well as the use of industry standard image manipulation software like Photoshop.

How will I be assessed?

Component 1: Coursework (60% of final mark)

Component 2: Practical Exam (40% of final mark)

During the course you will build up a portfolio of work that is carefully selected and thoughtfully presented. This will include two extended projects responding to a theme in an in-depth way. Evidence will take the form of digital sketchbooks, development pages and test pieces. Projects will be concluded by a final piece outcome, usually taking the form of larger scale photographic images. Work might also include printmaking, digital media, and 3D making.

After Christmas in Year 11 you will receive an exam paper from AQA. You will choose ONE question to work from and then have a limited number of weeks to carefully research your thoughts and ideas in response to this chosen theme. This will take the form of a digital sketchbook filled with primary research, artist connections and exploration studies. You will then take your research into a ten hour practical exam. During the exam time you will create a final piece outcome to finish your project.


 Future Opportunities and Careers

Photographers produce visual creations using a huge array of digital tools and physical materials. Some work commercially, selling or exhibiting their creations to make a living, while others use their skills in industries like journalism, advertising, graphic design, engineering, fashion, film and television. You could pursue many avenues in a diverse career within the Arts. 

Further study examples

A-Level Photography - Notre Dame               Art & Design (Photography) – Elliot Hudson College

Extended Diploma in Creative Practice – Leeds Arts University

Photography BTEC Diploma/ Extended Diploma - Leeds City College

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fashion & Editorial Photography – Leeds City College

T Levels – Digital production