A Level Photography

For examples of work and activities in the Photography department, please go to the blog (https://ricvisualarts.wordpress.com/blog/), or visit the selected pages below:











A level year 1 – Portfolio


1. Introduction to course

Composition, Aperture, Lighting.

Studying works of photographers in order to understand techniques before students take their own photos.


2. Understanding natural, artificial, and incidental lighting

Studying photographs while taking own photos.

Learning the technique of ‘painting with light’.


3. Project One: Interpreting a narrative


  1. Read and/or research one of the books listed below. Plan various ways of illustrating the story with a photographic cover.


Spend time researching your chosen book. It is advisable you read the book, or at least a chapter or section to get a real feel for it. Your brief is to be as creative and original as possible both in the images you make and in the way you present them as a final cover. Choose a style and technique that will best illustrate the story, theme, and meaning of the book. Remember you must engage the viewer without spoiling the story.

Look at the work of book designer Chip Kidd (we have a large book of his work in the classroom).

You must present your research, your test shoots and experiments, your various ideas, your final versions, and your final piece together with your thoughts and comments as you progress.

You should present your final image without text. You can make a separate version with the title if you wish.

Update your blog as you progress with this project.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe

Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexander Dumas

The Portrait of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton

Jaws – Peter Benchley

The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov


4. Shooting on film

Students will shoot a series of photos on film, after having studied work by leading black & white photographers. This will prepare them for the next project.


5. Darkroom printing

After initial experience with pinhole photography, students will be shown how to develop prints in the darkroom. There will also be a session on Photograms.


6. Project Two: Objects

Students must begin their projects by aiming to make a familiar object look entirely unfamiliar. From there they can explore methods and techniques of taking a still life, utilising all that they have learned in the first term. Manipulation, whether in-camera or in post-production is encouraged, and this is the perfect time for students to improve and further develop their Photoshop skills.

Students will be shown the effects of using filters prior to taking photos, as well as darkroom techniques and scanning and manipulating in Photoshop.

Throughout the duration of the project students will be given the chance to use experimental darkroom techniques such as solarising, incorporating photograms, multiple exposure, dodging and burning, cropping, and using ‘Liquid Light’.


Many techniques will become relevant once more when learning about Photoshop tools.


7. Colour, Filters, and Photoshop tools

Students will take digital photos and manipulate them using Photoshop. They will be given time to take photos and/or use colour photos they have taken since the start of the year.



Throughout the duration of the course, students will be asked to keep a ‘visual diary’ of images. Photos will not necessarily be judged on picture quality, but inventiveness, consideration, personal viewpoint, and development. They can also be used as extra research material or ‘brain storming’ for the personal projects.

Lessons will begin with a short group discussion on the subject, making sure all students understand what they are working on. Any work not finished in the lesson will become homework.

Once a fortnight there will be a group critique of all work where students can give each other feedback and encouragement, as well as share ideas and concerns.

Professional photographers will give talks at RIC about their work, as well as to offer tips and advice.

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