Photography in S5-S6

Purpose and Aims of the Course

The Course encourages learners to be inspired and challenged by visually representing their personal thoughts and ideas through the medium of photography. Using an integrated approach to learning, learners will plan, develop and produce imaginative photographs. They will also develop their appreciation of photographic work and practice. The skills that learners acquire by successfully completing the Course will be valuable for learning, life and work.

The Course allows learners to broaden and deepen their skills base, and to widen their horizons regarding a range of vocations.

The aims of the Course are for learners to:

♦ communicate personal thoughts, feelings and ideas using photography

♦ develop technical and creative skills in using photographic media, techniques and processes

♦ develop knowledge and understanding of a range of photography practice

♦ develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking and reflective practice

♦ analyse the impact of social and cultural influences on photographers and their work

♦ become critically self-reflective autonomous learners


The Course provides opportunities for vertical and lateral progression to other National Courses, and to other SQA qualifications in Photography and other related subjects.

Students are engaged in individual project work, much of which involves generating, evolving and synthesising their ideas in an environment conducive to experimentation and promoting effective learning.  Structured opportunities to collaborate are designed to stretch and support the individual, developing the ability to formulate and communicate informed personal comment, judgement and speculation. Students will critically reflect on their own work and the work of others throughout the course.

The course is not available at Advanced Higher but pupils have progressed to Advanced Higher Art&Design using Photography as their medium.

Due to the possible nature of the practical photography work, it is essential that some of this is undertaken at home in order that course deadlines can be met.  This is especially true of the research and investigation of relevant image makers/photographers, and formal written homework will be issued.  All students should very quickly get into the habit of experimenting with photographic techniques and theory in their own time, as a matter of course, if they intend to achieve their full potential.  It may also be necessary to use lunchtimes and supported study in order to complete work in the department.

  • Researching photography and ideas.
  • Developing your own ideas through a personal theme.
  • Effective planning and reviewing.
  • Working with others.
  • Mastering the technical aspects of using a digital SLR camera in ‘Manual’ mode.
  • Creating effects with lighting and gaining an understanding of composition. 
  • Enhancing and manipulating images using appropriate software packages.
  • Presentation skills.
  • Evaluating your work and photographer’s work in related areas.
  • Use of industry standard software – Adobe Photoshop.

Is photography for me? 

You will enjoy this subject if: 

  • You enjoy being creative.
  • You enjoy problem solving.
  • You like working with others.
  • You enjoy communicating your ideas visually.
  • You want to express your own ideas and feelings.

Influential Photographers

  • Colin Prior– Scottish landscape photographer who started his career as a photographer when he won ‘best newcomer’ award in the Camera Beneath the Waves competition. Colin’s love of photography as an amateur developed in to a career that means that his calendars are sold across the world.
  • Harry Benson –  he has photographed some of the most famous people in the world ranging from The Beatles to Martin Luther King jnr and Barrack Obama.  He has captured images of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the devastation of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
  • Sophie Gerrard – is an award winning photgrapher who specialises in contemporary documentary stories with environmental and social themes. Her clients include The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Le Monde. She is also a lecturer in photography at Edinburgh Napier University.
  • Alicia Bruce – her photgraphs have been exhibited and published internationally.  Some of her images have featured in The Times and The Scotsman. She was featured in The List Magazine’s 2018 Hot 100 list for the way she tackled domestic violence in her portrait series and her association with Zero Tolerance.

“Higher Photography is a great place to explore your creative side following a personal project and to learn from your mistakes”

Lomond Docherty 6Sm