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High School

Photography (S6 Only)

Higher Photography 

The Higher Photography course is delivered within the Art and Design Department where the PTC and Curriculum leader is Mrs Maclachlan.



Purpose and aims of the Course

The course encourages candidates to be inspired and challenged by visually representing their personal thoughts and ideas through the medium of photography. An integrated approach to learning means candidates plan, develop and produce creative and technically proficient photographs. Candidates develop skills that are valuable for learning, life and work. The course allows them to broaden their skills base and to widen their horizons regarding the range of vocations available to them.

The aims of the course are for candidates to:

  • Communicate personal thoughts, feelings and ideas using photography
  • Develop technical and creative skills through using photographic media, techniques and processes
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of a range of photographic practices
  • Develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking and reflective practice
  • Develop an understanding of the impact of social, cultural, historical, and scientific influences on photographers’ work and practice
  • Become critically self-reflective autonomous learners



The project has a total mark allocation of 100 marks. This is 77% of the overall marks for the course assessment.

The photography project assesses candidates’ ability to integrate and apply their creative and technical skills and their knowledge and understanding of photographic practice. Candidates must plan and carry out a selected photography project. They research and investigate their project topic. Drawing on this material, they develop their own creative response by carrying out practical photographic work. From this development work, candidates select and present a series of 12 images which communicate the project topic. Candidates also evaluate the effectiveness of their photographic work and practice.

The project provides an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate the skills listed in the ‘Skills, knowledge and understanding for the course assessment’ table in this document.


The total marks available for each section are as follows:

  • Section 1 — planning, research and investigation 20 marks
  • Section 2 — development and production 70 marks
  • Section 3 — evaluation 10 marks


Evidence to be gathered Volume Candidates may present their work in a variety of ways.

  • The 12 final prints must be a minimum size of A5 and a maximum size of A4 (or equivalent area).
  • Only evidence which is relevant to the selected project should be submitted for assessment.
  • There is a 500 word limit for the evaluation. If the word count exceeds the maximum by more than 10%, a penalty will be applied.


Critical analysis question paper – 30 marks


Section 1: Multiple choice

This section has 10 marks. It contains 10 multiple-choice questions. Candidates answer all questions. Marks are awarded for:

  • Demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the properties of light and image formation, camera controls, and image-making techniques and their effects


Section 2: Analysis

This section has 20 marks. It contains two questions which ask candidates to critically analyse two unseen photographic images from a range of genres and styles. Candidates answer both questions. Marks are awarded for:

  • Analysing two unseen photographic images by applying knowledge and understanding of the properties of light and image formation and photographic practice
  • Drawing valid conclusions and giving explanations supported by justification