AQA GCSE Photography


Candidates should be introduced to a variety of experiences exploring a range of lens-based and light-based media, techniques and processes, including both traditional and new technologies. They should explore relevant images, artefacts and resources relating to lens-based and light-based media from the past and from recent times, including European and non–European examples which should be integral to the investigating and making process. Responses to these examples must be shown through practical and critical activities which demonstrate the candidates’ understanding of different styles, genres and traditions. Candidates should be aware of the four assessment objectives to be evidenced in the context of the content and skills presented, and of the importance of process as well as product. Candidates may use sketchbooks/workbooks/journals to support their work where appropriate. Areas of study Candidates should work in one or more areas of lens-based and light-based media such as those listed below. They may explore overlapping and combinations of areas:

  • Portraiture
  • Landscape photography (working from the built or natural environment).
  • Still Life photography, (working from natural or manufactured objects).
  • Documentary photography, photo journalism, narrative photography, reportage
  • Fine Art photography, photographic installation
  • Photography involving a moving image, (television, film and animation).
  • New media practice such as computer manipulated photography and photographic projections.

Some areas of study may also be relevant to other endorsements; animation and film methods within Photography: lens-based and light-based media can be used for a variety of purposes and needs dependent on the requirements of the project undertaken. Candidates are required to integrate critical, practical and theoretical study in lens-based and light-based media that encourages direct engagement with original work and practice. Where direct engagement may not be possible, the expectation is that work should include appropriate and explicit critical study. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate practical skills in the context of specific chosen areas of study or any combined areas of study. Skills and Techniques Candidates will be expected to demonstrate skills and techniques in the context of their chosen area(s) of study within the use of photography: lens-based and light-based media as follows:

  • The ability to explore formal elements of visual language; line, form, colour, tone, pattern, texture, in the context of lens-based and light-based media
  • investigating different ways of working as appropriate to their chosen area (s) of study
  • responding to an issue, theme, concept or idea, or working to a design brief
  • showing in their work the use of viewpoint, composition, focus control, depth of field, movement and narrative
  • using appropriate techniques, technologies and equipment for recording images and lighting subjects within their chosen area
  • showing an understanding of the developing, printing, manipulation and production qualities of still and moving images where appropriate
  • understanding the value of working individually and as a member of a team within their chosen area
  • providing evidence of the use of safe working practices. Knowledge and Understanding Candidates must show a knowledge and understanding of:
  • how ideas, feelings and meanings are conveyed and interpreted in images, artefacts and products in their chosen area(s) of study in Photography: lens-based and light-based media
  • historical and contemporary developments and different styles and genres in relation to Photography: lens-based and light-based media
  • how images, artefacts and products relate to social, historical, vocational and cultural contexts
  • a variety of approaches, methods and intentions of contemporary and historical artists, craftspeople and designers from different cultures and their contribution to continuity and change in society within their chosen area(s) of study in Photography: lens-based and light-based media
  • a working vocabulary and knowledge of specialist terms relevant to their chosen area(s) of study