Photography Higher National Certificate – C6329

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Course Overview

Delivered by highly qualified and industry-experienced staff, this course provides essential skills, knowledge, and understanding of photography to support your progress within the creative industries. This two-year evening course takes in our excellent photography facilities contain darkrooms, professional studios, and digital imaging suites that will allow you to explore and develop your photographic techniques and understanding. Delivery is split into four units per year and learning takes place through lectures, workshops, live client briefs and via our online environments that you can access remotely to support your studies.

What You'll Learn

Year 1

In year one, you will be introduced to both digital and analogue materials and processes. After a short period of basic skills, project work will require you to practice within the; editorial, studio, advertising, fashion and portraiture genres. You will also examine both the history of photography and contemporary practice to provide you with a critical understanding of the work of other practitioners.
In Year 1 of the course you will cover the following subjects:
1) Darkroom techniques
2) Lighting for photography
3) Individual Project
4) Professional development

Year 2

Building upon the skills you’ve developed in your first year, in year two of the course you will further develop your own personal photographic style and identify the pathway you wish to develop further. This greater sense of independence is reflected through the practical units that require you to negotiate photographic projects rather than follow those set by staff.
Year 2 covers:
1) Contextual studies
2) Techniques and processes
3) Visual Narratives
4) Photographic practice

The second year of the course will culminate in a public exhibition of your photographic work.

Entry Requirements

Standard entry to this course requires a recognised level 3 qualification in a related subject (i.e. two A2s at grade D, extended diploma PPP, or an Access to HE). You are expected to hold GCSE English and maths at grade 4/C or equivalent. We welcome mature applicants who do not match standard entry requirements that can demonstrate the ability to study this subject at university level and also demonstrate experience in photography or a related discipline. Applicants are required to bring to interview a portfolio demonstrating creative and technical ability. Overseas learners can send Qualifications (IELTS 5.5) work experience, and portfolio electronically or by post.

How you will be assessed

Short informal tasks and feedback are used to build your practical and academic skills. For each unit of the course there will be at least one end of year assessment task that will be graded at pass, merit or distinction. As a largely hands on course, the majority of final assessments involve the production of photographic imagery and supporting evidence in the form of a sketchbook or blog. In the second year of the programme you have to complete a project externally set by Pearson Edexcel. All assessment is moderated before grades are released.

At the end of your course, a summary of your unit grades is taken and you will be awarded with a Pearson Edexcel Higher National Certificate at pass, merit or distinction level.

Course Fees

Tuition fees

Total Fees: £2000.00

Additional Costs

As a minimum you will be required to start this course with your own digital SLR camera and will be expected to budget for additional film, printing and other day to day equipment requirements including memory cards. The second year of the course ends with a public exhibition. Costs associated with this exhibition will be dependent on your approach, subject matter, and preferred presentation techniques.


If the course is longer than one year the total fees are for the first year only and further fees may apply in future years. All fees are based on a ‘home’ learner status. Please contact us for information on overseas fees.

For more information, please see our course fee disclaimers page.

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Course and Career progression

As a Higher National Certificate graduate, you may be eligible to formally progress on to year two of a related top-up honours degree. Graduates from this course who already possess an honours degree have progressed directly onto MA Photography programmes. Universities may require you to also hold GCSE English. Previous graduates from this course have been successful as press photographers, photographic assistants, freelance photographers across a broad range of fields such as portraiture, studio, wedding photography.

What Happens Next

Due to the nature of this programme you may also be invited to attend an interview. Where necessary, other means of interview (i.e. telephone, web-based/Teams) can be arranged.

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