Study Type
Full Time
Study Level
Level 3
Start Date:
36 weeks

Course Sheets

Entry requirements

View The Isle of Wight College's standard entry requirements for full-time college courses (depending on the level of the course to be studied).

Five GCSEs at Grade 4/C or above including English and maths are required although account will be taken of other experience and qualifications; equally important are your enthusiasm, commitment and your willingness to work hard on all areas of the course. You will have the opportunity to show any existing work at the interview stage.
Who the course is for
The Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Photography provides the knowledge, understanding and skills for learners wishing to enter upon a career in photography or progress to higher education
What the interview will involve
Prior to the interview you will be sent a Pre-Interview Task which will form the basis of questions and discussion. You will have the opportunity to express your interest in the course, discuss any prior experience you have gained and show relevant portfolio work. You will be given an overview of the course, the units you will undertake and the nature of the assessment process. You will be asked about your long-term career goals and how you feel this course will get you there. At this stage you will also be able to ask tutors about possible progression routes and destinations for work or further study.
What you will learn

Activities and assignments will be based on the two teaching modules: 

  • Exploring and Developing Photography Skills 
  • Advancing Creative Practice 

Within these teaching modules are the four units that will be taught and assessed over the two years: 

  • Skills Development 
  • Creative Project 
  • Personal Progression 
  • Creative Industry Response 

Workshops and project topics include; 

  • Introduction to photographic practice 
  • Digital workflow 
  • Photoshop and camera RAW 
  • Photographic lighting  
  • Darkroom photography 
  • Studio photography 
  • Working on location 
  • Client led briefs  
  • Portfolio website design 
How you will learn

The 4 units will provide the foundation for a range of assignments which are internally assessed by the teaching team and then verified by an external moderator from the examining board. Assessment is based on the achievement of all the specified learning outcomes. You will complete a number of skills based briefs which will enable you to provide evidence to show that you have met the grading criteria. Each unit will be awarded a pass, merit or distinction.

Grading is designed to reflect development so the final grade is weighted towards the second year of the programme to ensure that students have maximum opportunity to develop and apply their skills. All evidence produced for assessment is based on practical portfolios of work. The same five assessment criteria are used to assess all work throughout the qualification.

Work placement
There may be opportunities to take on an industry placement with local companies. The Creative Industries department has links to local industry, and we have a range of work experience opportunities available to students to enable them to enhance their skills and knowledge of the industry. You will get the opportunity to work to live briefs for external clients and to develop your technical, communication and industry focused skills.

A BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma develops learners’ skills and understanding of work within a vocational context. BTEC Level 3 Extended Diplomas offer direct progression on to Higher Education degrees and are recognised by Higher Education institutions and attract a maximum of 168 UCAS points at D*D*D*.

This course has an excellent record of students progressing into Higher Education, and Career Progression is an integral part of the Second Year of the Extended Diploma. You will go on visits to local universities, and we host guest speakers for the industry and Higher Education institutions.

As part of your studies in year 2, you will create a professional website, produce and develop a portfolio which you can take to employers or university interviews. You will also investigate job roles and opportunities within the industry, produce a CV and get support with job and Higher Education applications.


There may be a cost for purchasing equipment or uniform for this course. Find out about financial support available.

Qualifications you will get
After two years of study, you will get a BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design Practice (Photography Pathway), equivalent to 3 A Levels. Grades range is between PPP and D*D*D*, if you achieve the top grade of D*D*D* it is worth 168 UCAS Points.
Additional information
The course is based in the Art, Design and Media building on the main College site. Facilities are of a high quality including dedicated digital suites running industry standard software and related packages, such as Adobe Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom and InDesign. There is also a purpose-built photographic darkroom, allowing traditional black and white ‘wet’ photographic development and printing, as well as a fully equipped photographic studio. Practical and theoretical work is integrated throughout the course and hands-on practical photographic practice will form a large part of your course. Your studies will be supported with workshops, lectures, demonstrations and tutorials. All tutors have related degrees as well as industry experience. The course has links to the industry and students will have the opportunity to gain work experience through live client briefs as part of their studies. In the second year, students will have the opportunity to specialise in an area of photography through their choice of Final Major Project. For up to date student work and information please follow us on Instagram @photography_iwcollege

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