Advanced GCE in Art and Design – Art and Design (Photography)

Course Overview

The OCR A Level Photography specifications are designed to encourage learners to develop skills, creativity, imagination and independence based on personal experience, taught skills and critical understanding. Learners show this through their responses to a range of stimuli.

  • The aims and learning outcomes are as follows;
  • Intellectual, imaginative, creative and intuitive capabilities.
  • Investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills, aesthetic understanding and critical judgement.
  • Independence of mind in developing, refining and communicating their own ideas, their own intentions and their own personal outcomes.
  • The experience of working with a broad range of media.

Qualification Details

  • Qualification: Advanced GCE in Art and Design – Art and Design (Photography)
  • Exam Board: OCR


Course Teacher Profile

Mrs E. Thomas

Mrs E. Thomas


Mrs. Thomas is the Curriculum Team Lead for Photography in the Amethyst Sixth Form

Course Requirements

To enrol for the A Level Photography course you must have the following…

  • Grade 6 in Photography
  • Grade 5 in English

Year 1 Summary

Autumn term 1 (8 weeks)

Portraits and Fashion – Students explore portraiture photography, carry out at least 1 studio shoot and 1 location shoot in response to your own ideas.

Self-portrait – Students explore self- portrait photographers and create 3 final self-portraits which reflect themselves.

Landscapes – research a range of landscape photographers traditional and contemporary. Students carry out at least 7 shoots looking at different aspects of the landscape and different techniques to develop their own ideas.


Autumn term 2 (7 weeks)

Documentary photography – Students explore historical and contemporary documentary photographers. Analyse photobooks, explore sequencing photography, photography theory reading Roland Barthes, students pick a place /person to photograph / document on at least 4 occasions.

Film stills – Students watch a chosen film from a selection. Pause all potential visual film stills and screen shot them. Students then pick 3 to recreate accurately achieving correct lighting, composition, colour etc.

Year 2 Summary

Practical Portfolio

Assessment Objective 1 – Develop ideas through sustained and focused investigations informed by contextual and other sources, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding.

Assessment Objective 2 – Explore and select appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes, reviewing and refining ideas as work develops.

Assessment Objective 3 – Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress.

Assessment Objective 4 – Present a personal and meaningful response that realises intentions and, where appropriate, makes connections between visual and other elements.

Careers and Next Steps

There are a few areas of work that you can use Photography straight after A level, however students often decide to study a degree enabling them to specialise in a particular area of Photography.

Skills developed include;

  • Creativity and ability to convey ideas and concepts.
  • Work independently.
  • Good written, verbal and vision communication skills.
  • Ability to develop and change ideas and concepts in response to a client’s needs.

Careers choices for pupils who have study Photography at A Level:

  • Wedding Photographer
  • Sports Photographer
  • Portrait Photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • Travel Photographer
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Stock Photographer
  • Medical Photographer
  • Concert Photographer

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