Photography Level 3

This course is designed for students who have completed their GCSE’s or a relevant Level 2 qualification and want to explore different aspects of photography, such as portraiture, advertising, documentary and fine-art photography.

I like the use of experimentation and the College provides the equipment for me to do that. I love the dark room facilities and the idea that I can produce my own negatives and images, using my hands and the knowledge that the course has helped me to build.George Fitzgibbon - Photography Level 3

***Applications for full-time courses to start in September 2022 are open now!***

We want to make sure you have the best chance of securing a place with us. All full-time applications received by 31st of January 2022 will be guaranteed a place at Colchester Institute, subject to you satisfying the published entry requirements. We still accept applications after this date but may not be able to guarantee you a place on your chosen programme.

Application for this course are made by the ‘Apply Online’ buttons located in the menu further down the page.

If you are looking to start, or are a parent/guardian of a learner looking to start in September 2022, then bookings for our popular January Open Events are also open.

January Open Events

What Will I Learn?

Year 1

In the first year of the Photography UAL Diploma qualification you will have the opportunity to explore your creativity developing some of the essential skills that underpin all creative disciplines.  With access to a photography studio, mac suite and darkrooms you will learn through experimentation using a broad range of 2D, 3D and digital processes. Projects will help you to gain a contextual understanding of art and design and support you to make and articulate personal connections and interpretations.  You will have the opportunity to take part in exhibitions and gallery visits and to develop your skills through independent and group learning.

Year 2

In the second year projects enable you to develop a more specialist understanding and to apply your creativity in response to a series of fast paced industry relevant briefs. The Photography UAL Diploma programme encourages you to combine traditional and digital photography processes to create a portfolio of work suitable for moving image, portraiture, advertising, documentary as well as and fine-art photography. Regular contextual lectures on the history of art and design, photography and fashion, will underpin and complement your studio work.

The course will enable you to make informed choices with regard to a career in the Creative Arts sector. In addition to your main study programme you will also engage in activities to develop your English, maths and employability skills to enhance your progression to Higher Education or to employment.

Course Content

Photography UAL Diploma / Extended Diploma Level 3 – Course Content

The first year of the course consists of the following units;

  • Introduction to Visual Language
  • Introduction to Research Skills
  • Introduction to Critical and Contextual Awareness
  • Introduction to Materials, Processes and Technical Skills
  • An Integrated Approach to 2D Problem Solving
  • An Integrated Approach to 3D Problem Solving
  • An Integrated Approach to Time-Based Problem Solving
  • Developing an Art and Design Project

The second year of this course consists of the following units;

  • Characteristics and Contexts in Art and Design
  • Preparation for Progression in Art and Design
  • Engaging with an Audience in Art and Design
  • Project Proposal and Realisation in Art and Design
Entry Requirements
  • 5 GCSEs (9-4), including English and Maths plus an Art and Design subject, or satisfactory results (Merit/Distinction) in a relevant Level 2 qualification
  • An interview with a portfolio of artwork
Career Opportunities

Opportunities exist ranging from freelance photography to work for a wide range of employers, including creative businesses, publishers and photographic agencies, or in the education or public sector. Most professional photographers specialise in one area, such as commercial photography (including product, fashion, food or illustration photography), fine art, picture editing, picture research, photojournalism or social photography.

Course Progression

On successful completion of the first year Diploma programme you can continue your study of Photography onto the second year: Extended Diploma at Level 3; alternatively you can choose to study for the Art and Design Foundation Diploma, or other further/higher education courses.

The second year Extended Diploma programme will prepare and guide you through the UCAS application to progress to university, including the BA (Hons) Visual Arts with Foundation Year (Level 0) at Colchester School of Art, or to employment within the Creative Arts sector, or an Advanced Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media (Photography or Video Production).

How to make an Application – Watch our video guide!

We have also prepared a step-by-step video guide – please view this video which will guide you through the application process.

Photography Level 3
Qualification: One Year: UAL Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design | Two Years: UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design
LevelLevel 3
DurationOne or Two Years: Year 1: Diploma | Year 2: Extended Diploma
CampusColchester Campus
Start DateSeptember 2022 - Applications open on 1st October 2021
Fee(s)16-18 year olds: Free
19+: £8,583 (This fee covers the full two-year course)


All Fees and prices shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2021-22 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.