What you’ll study

Summer Shows

Take a look at some of the inspiring work that was on display at last years Summer Show for BA (Hons) Commercial Photography.

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Graduates from this course have gone on to create images for clients including The Times Fashion Supplement,
Kit Magazine, Huck, Vogue, The Telegraph, The Guardian,
and the BBC. If you want to push boundaries, challenge perceptions and set the future agenda for commercial photography, we want you. We’ll help you to gain a broad understanding of photographic practice and theory, so that you graduate confidently in the creative and critical visual language needed to work in the industry as an individual and with a creative team.

Employment prospects are good, even before you graduate. In recent years, many students have been commissioned and published while still on the course and have had success through prestigious competitions. Career options are varied, too. As well as setting up freelance businesses, many graduates go on to work in a variety of roles within studio management, assisting, styling, and advertising, which gives them an edge.

Over the three years of study, you can choose to focus your studies and specialise in one of the 4 award-titled BA(Hons) pathways we offer:

— BA (Hons) Commercial Photography (Advertising)

— BA (Hons) Commercial Photography (Fashion)

— BA (Hons) Commercial Photography (Documentary/Editorial)

Level 4 (First Year)

In your first year, you’ll learn the creative and practical skills that you’ll build upon during your degree.

We’ll introduce you to a variety of traditional and digital photographic techniques and processes through the units ‘Principles and Practice’ and ‘Digital Imaging and Production’, giving you a strong technical foundation in location and studio lighting, analogue and digital capture and digital post-production techniques.

Our ‘Historical and Theoretical Studies in Photography’ unit covers key themes and theories. Photography projects and written assignments are used to reinforce learning and enable you to exercise your developing knowledge and practical skills in the unit ‘Creative Photographic Practice’, where additional workshops will also introduce you to moving image.

As part of these units, you’ll attend guest lectures by visiting photographers and industry professionals to underpin your holistic knowledge of contemporary commercial photographic practice.

Level 5 (Second Year)

Your second year builds on the skills and knowledge that you gained during your first year and provides opportunities for you to develop your genre-specific interests.

At Level 5, you’ll continue to develop your digital skills and promotional awareness through the unit ‘Professional Futures’.

Your industry understanding will be consolidated towards the end of the unit when you undertake a period of work experience in the form of a placement, which will be overseen by the unit leader, allowing you to gain hands-on experience working alongside industry professionals.

In the past few years, students have gained placements at:

  • GQ Magazine
  • Wonderland Magazine
  • Another Magazine
  • Getty Images
  • Tim Walker (Photographer)
  • Wolfgang Tillmans (Photographer)
  • Platon (Photographer, New York)
  • Frederike Helwig (Photographer)
  • TANK Magazine
  • Skinny Dip (Agency)
  • Sunbeam Studios (Studio)
  • Phil Toledano (Photographer)
  • Diver & Aguilar (Photographers)
  • Sølve Sundsbø

Our ‘Critical Analyses’ unit gives you an overview of some of the approaches used in the analysis of commercial photography, together with the development of research and written communication skills, allowing for a more intellectual engagement with photographic practice, and preparing you for the major written assignment at Level 6.

During Level 5 you will be offered an opportunity to consider the three named awards, although there is no obligation for you to opt for a named award.

Level 6 (Third Year)

Your third year allows you to build on the platform of skills and knowledge gained during Levels 4 and 5. Level 6 adopts an extremely focused approach to your career ambitions, developing specific creative and conceptual skills in order to gain a more complex understanding of the particular discourse with which you wish to be professionally engaged.

Gaining a BA (Hons) award in this discipline equips graduates to compete at the highest level of professional practice as well as providing a platform for potential post-graduate study. This is evidenced through an accomplished and developed commercial portfolio and the critical skills with which to locate this work within an ever more complex visual culture.

Two major units, ‘Specialist Practice’ and ‘Major Project’, provide the opportunity for two bodies of work that will become your professional portfolio and the content relates directly to the named award title that you have chosen.

The unit ‘Research Paper’, for which a critically informed analysis of a subject related topic will be produced, will help to inform your practical work, while supporting your aspirations for future study at postgraduate level.

Course Trips

As part of your course you may also get the opportunity to take part in course trips, previous trips have included:

  • New York
  • Berlin
  • London
  • Paris
  • Brighton

*These trips are optional and some may incur additional costs