Photography at Aquinas is an exciting and challenging subject that encourages students to be creative and show a more personal understanding of Photography. The aim of this course is to promote a broad based learning experience across a range of themes in digital lens based processes and practical techniques. The course aims to encourage creative thinking and artistic understanding, as well as developing students own use of the camera.

During Year One students will build up skills through techniques and processes, some of which will have done at GCSE some of which will be new experiences, all of which will be at a more Advance Level. The aim of the first year is to ensure that students can experience the full range of digital lens based learning in order to enhance skills and techniques. Students will be introduced to a variety of themes, from architecture to still life, responding to artists and photographers, focusing on experimenting with different aspects of the camera; for those new to Photography learning their way around the camera, for more experienced Photographers improving and adapting to their strengths. Students will also respond in practical ways.

In Year Two students are expected to work more independently, developing work over a longer period of time, showing a higher level of personal interpretation and working on developing ideas more in-depth. Students will use research into the work of artists, photographers and designers to develop their own knowledge and understanding Photography throughout the two years.

  • Course Outline
    • Year 1 Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

      Students will gain experience of working with the Digital SLR learning how to use the camera from basic controls through to manual settings, from lighting techniques to experimental processes. Along-side each topic students will be introduced to photographers and artists to inspire and respond to both with their photography and also through practical responses such as ‘drawing into’, wax entrapment, tape transfers, cut-outs, and digital manipulation. There are two main projects the Portfolio where students will respond to a range of short topics to build up a folder of techniques, followed by an extended project where students respond to one theme for the final part of year 1, in a more personal way.

      Year 2 Progression and Formal Assessment

      Building on skills learnt in the first year through two assessed projects:
      Component 1: Personal Investigation (60%)
      Component 2: Externally Set Assignment (40%)

  • Career opportunities and further study
    • Studying Photography at Aquinas can lead to a wide variety of courses at University. Students have gone on to study Film Production at Salford University and Future Works, Photography at Leeds College of Art, Advertising and Marketing at Leeds. Some students have gone on to study an Art and Design Foundation Course before applying to University, many of our students have gained places on the MMU Foundation Course or the Stockport Foundation Course. Many Art and Design related degree courses expect students to have an Art Foundation Course after studying A-level.

      Students who study A Level Photography alongside other subjects have gone on to study a wide range of different subjects on to Higher Education, gaining degrees in Fine Art, Costume, amongst other courses as well as applying for Apprenticeships or gaining employment.

  • Trips and Events
    • Trips

      As an Art and Design department we are keen to include first hand inspiration for our students for example so they experience ‘in the field’ and see the work of artists in galleries.

      During the first year students will visit Manchester and Manchester Art Gallery to inspire ideas for projects. Liverpool and the Tate gallery.

      As part of the Photography careers enrichment students visit the MMU Degree Shows in Manchester in June to see further study and courses that are available. We also visit the Foundation Shows at both MMU and Stockport College.

      During the second year students have had the opportunity to visit the galleries in London, including the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The National Portrait Gallery and the Saatchi Gallery, amongst others.


      As the second year draws to its close the U6 students have the opportunity to organise the end of year finalé which is the Art and Design Exhibition. This event showcases the work of the U6 students ensuring that each student has both final pieces from their final year on display, with sketchbooks and mounted work, presented around the Art and Design Department, along with the other courses from the Art and Design Department. This has always been a very successful night.

  • Useful Links

Entry Requirements

You can download provisional entry requirements for 2018 courses below. Please note that your enrolment on to a particular course must be approved by the Head of that department.

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