Our full time BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Photography will introduce you to the fascinating world of photography. It is predominantly a technical course that will give you a good grounding and the opportunity to experiment with a number of photographic techniques, different genres, and will prepare you for the next stage of your photographic journey.
The course consists of twelve Units and is delivered over 35 weeks. During the course you will cover practical aspects of photography, such as camera techniques, studio lighting, digital manipulation techniques and b/w darkroom printing. You will also explore theoretical aspects, such as contextual studies, ideas and concepts development and visual communication. Uniquely, we offer life drawing and photo etching as part of this course.
Initially, you will be introduced to the work of different photographers and will develop your camera skills. You will explore ideas for the set photographic projects, which you will present in the form of a blog. You will be introduced to studio lighting, in our well equipped photographic studio, and will learn not only how to produce good quality studio photographs, but also how to set up and manage a studio-based photographic shoot.
In our b/w darkroom you will have the opportunity to learn how to process film and print high quality b/w photographs, while in our digital suite you will learn techniques that will enable you to optimize the quality of your digital photographs and prepare them for printing. You will become proficient in manipulating images and creating digital composites using Adobe Photoshop, and will explore the possibilities of the program.
Later on you will cover location photography and the use of flash, concentrating on composition and the creation of a strong narrative; you will revisit studio lighting and will focus on specialist techniques. Towards the end, you will concentrate on professional practice and your final project while preparing the end of year exhibition.
Throughout the year there will be a great emphasis on developing your ideas and exploring different photographic genres, while challenging statements and preconceptions. You will be supported in every step of your journey and will get ready to progress to our HNC Photography course, or to University, or to break into the photographic industry.
What background and qualifications do you need to join? (Entry Requirements)
You will need a small portfolio of your own photographic work. Completion of a level 2 Photography Course will be an advantage. You will also need to have a GCSE, grade C or above, in Maths and English (or an equivalent level of qualification). You need to be passionate about working in photography long term.
What does the course lead to?
Students from this course have gone on to work in photography or to attend higher-level courses such as HNC, HND, BA, or even MA courses. If you are not planning to make a career in photography, this course enables you to reach a professional standard in your own work.
Where will I study?
The course is based at our Chelsea Centre, however there are location trips and gallery visits.
What are the facilities and equipment like?
Studio: Flash equipped studio with Elinchrom equipment, Hi-Glide support, transmitters/receivers and light meters. Medium format cameras are available for studio use.
Digital Suite: Mac equipment using the latest version of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Film scanners (all sizes up to 10″ x 8″), as well as flatbed scanners.
Wet Darkroom: A wet darkroom with 35mm to medium format enlargers, film processing up to 5″ x 4″ and film scanners. Resin and Fibre based processing and drying systems and support for alternative processes, filtered water and hospital grade air cleaning facilities.
How much should I study outside class?
As it is a full time one-year course, students need to be able to work in their own time under pressure. They are required to undertake research, complete photographic projects and prepare workbooks outside the course hours independently. This course is suitable only for those ready and willing to make a commitment in a very demanding environment.
How is the course assessed?
The course work is assessed at the end of each Unit.
Are any course materials online?
All course materials are online and accessible via our Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). This allows students to access project briefs, background notes, handouts, links to galleries etc. at all times. It also provides students the opportunity to book studio slots, arrange tutorials and contact other students.
During the first session of the course, you will be shown how to access the system and ways in which to make it useful to you.
What books and equipment do I need?
You will need to own a DSLR, or mirrorless camera. A compact, or a bridge camera is not sufficient for this course. Ideally, you will also own a few lenses, flashgun, tripod, although these are not essential for the start of the course. You should not buy additional equipment just ahead of the course, it is better to see what application you want to use equipment for first, and decide later. Access to a computer is also essential.
What else do I need to buy? / What extra costs are there?
There is a studio fee of £50 towards central materials, which needs to be paid in the first week of the course. You will also need to purchase film, darkroom paper, memory cards, memory sticks and other items that you might need.