Art & Design – Higher Photography


‘You don’t take a photograph, You make it.’

Ansel Adams (1902-1984)

Higher Photography is a course that is offered to S5 and S6.


  • applied use of camera controls and a range of photographic techniques and processes
  • the ability to produce investigative research for photography and to plan, shoot, print and develop photographs
  • exploration and experimentation with a range of photographic media, manipulation techniques and processes
  • producing creative and technically proficient photographs
  • effective management and storage of photographic images
  • critically self-reflecting and evaluating their own work and the photographic work of others.


There are 2 internal units, Image Making and Contextual Imagary, and an Project that is externally Assessed at SQA. There is also a written exam.

Image Making – pupils will develop a knowledge and understanding of camera techniques and controls and will investigate and analyse the factors that influence photographers and their work. They will apply their knowledge of light and image formation when creating photographic images. They will use exposure times, composition and framing creatively for photographic effect, organise their files and output their photographic images.

Contextual Imagery – pupils will explore and experiment with using a variety of photographic techniques, technology and processes. They will use their understanding of the social and cultural interplay between photographers and society when developing their own personal, creative approaches to photography. They will plan, produce and present photographic images in different styles and genres.

Alice In Wonderland

Photography Project – pupils will produce a self initiated photographic project. They will produce a series of 12 images relating to their chosen brief. In this project the pupils will demonstrate the following skills;

applied technical and creative photographic skills.

project planning skills.

critical thinking and evaluation skills.



This course is for S4/5/6 students. All students must be enthusiastic and willing to work independently and conscientiously. A great deal of the photography will take place out of school in your own time, to be brought back into school and worked on in the computer suite/Art and Design dept using Photoshop. They must also possess the technical ability and literacy skills required to produce practical and written folios.

Some experience in Art and Design is preferable but not essential. If you can satisfy the CL that you have the necessary skills/aptitude to take part in this course then you may be offered a place.


The NPA at SCQF level 5 offers realistic opportunities for holistic assessment across outcomes and units. The content and contexts will promote learner confidence in photography skills for everyday use — eg gathering and selecting images, identifying key components, labelling and storing, mounting and presenting final images, understanding categories of photography (still life, portraiture and landscape), and identifying a selection of diverse images taken indoors and outdoors. The learning content will increase the learner’s ability to create a portfolio of work and develop individual confidence to evaluate and critique their own work.

Each Unit is individually assessed, and learners will be expected to use simple automatic functions of cameras to capture good images and to work with their peers to critique their work.

The focus will be mainly on practical photography delivered in a flexible format with the use of practical activities, workshops, discussion, self/peer and tutor assessment, project work, practical visits and exhibition work.

During delivery there will be opportunities to develop:

  • Co-operative working
  • Communication skills
  • Research skills
  • Planning
  • Organising
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • ICT
  • Creative Digital Technology


The main content will include:

  • Camera operations
  • Camera care
  • Camera handling
  • Tutorials and practical demonstrations
  • Simple concepts — lighting, composition and framing
  • Reviewing the work of prominent photographers
  • Capturing good images
  • Making simple adjustments and enhancements to images
  • Editing and presentation
  • Storing photographs
  • Outputs: print online, mobile applications
  • Folio work
  • Exhibition work

The context and the content of the NPAs put the learner at the centre of the learning process. The aim is to provide a short, flexible course in photography to develop an understanding of what photography has to offer.

At level 5 the aim is to develop and broaden the learners’ skills and experience. They will be expected to select a range of images (indoors and outdoors) taken by contemporary photographers describing the style, viewpoint and technical approaches used. They will plan five photograph sessions in a variety of locations using natural and artificial lighting and present their findings. They will be expected to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their chosen images, suggest improvements and how these can be achieved. Enhancing and resizing images will be undertaken and the finished result will involve peer discussion. They will learn how to present images in print, as a CD (including the original images and the edited version) and as an electronic presentation.

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