Whether you want to capture wildlife imagery or shoot Vogue covers, photography is the perfect way to observe and engage in the world around you.
Studying this subject, you'll see how photography has evolved – understanding its place in history and contemporary culture, alongside developing your technical and creative skills. Content is queen, so your photography skills will be in demand in our digital world. You could work freelance or as an in-house photographer with fashion brands, food and other retail companies, news and arts organisations, advertising agencies, catalogue companies, or many others. You could choose to specialise in an area like architectural or property photography, or qualify further to become a photographer for the police or the RAF. 
The impact you could make
  • Work on a photoshoot for one of your favourite sustainable fashion brands
  • Become embedded with the British Army and travel the world taking photographs of British forces at work
  • Specialise in pet photography and take portraits of our favourite furry friends
What you could study
  • Photography and arts practices
  • History and origins
  • Visual culture
  • Digital techniques
  • Analogue and darkroom techniques
  • Storytelling in photography
  • Live briefs
  • Portfolio building
  • Fashion and design
  • Advertising

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

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Example module
"Recently we did a module where we had to experiment with different genres of photography, which was good because I made me try genres that I wouldn’t have tried, like fashion photography and commercial photography."
Second year photography student at Leeds Arts University
Example assignment
"I’ve done a project looking into the flower industry, photographing the impact it has on our environment."
Second year photography student at Bath Spa University

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some photography courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects. Entry requirements vary, so always check with the provider.
Art and design
Graphic design
Hard skills you'll develop
  • Composition
  • Exposure control
  • Image editing
  • Photographic equipment
Soft skills you'll develop
  • Communication
  • Planning
  • Sales
  • Innovation

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying photography. The following information is based on a typical photographer, audio-visual, and broadcasting role.
Available jobs
42,100 vacancies in the past year
5.91% growth over next eight years
Average salary
Up to £46,325

Career options

Photography and design


Picture researcher



Gallery curator

Art buyer

What is a...photojournalist?

You may never have heard of a photojournalist, but they usually work for online or print news outlets, taking the photos that tell the story. You may need to travel to wherever in the world the news event is happening. As well as having an eye for capturing the people and places that tell the story, you’ll need to be resilient as you could end up covering events like war, famine, or the aftermath of natural disasters.  

Getting in: Entry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study photography at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from photography applicants.

A Levels
Scottish Highers
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma or an SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative to A Levels/Highers.
You may be required to submit a portfolio as part of your application

Other subjects you may be interested in

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know:
  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer. 
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer. 
  3. No limits!

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like. 
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies. 
  5. Find out more

    Read our guide to creative and design apprenticeships.

A day in the life of a Video Production Apprenticeship

Take a look at a day in the life of a video production apprentice.

Explore further

Go deeper into topics around photography with the following. 
  1. Love, Cecil

    There are many documentaries about photographers on Netflix, Amazon, the BBC and other platforms, but why not start with this one about British photographer Cecil Beaton?  
  2. The Photographers' Gallery

    If you can, visit the Photographers’ Gallery in London, or go to an upcoming photo exhibition at an art museum, like the Tate Modern. 
  3. Deconstructing the image

    The Association of Photographers (AOP) has a YouTube series in which photographers talk about how they created certain pieces of work. 
  4. Centre for British Documentary Photography

    If documentary photography interests you, check out this website which features photos from many contemporary and historical moments in Britain.  

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our application advice will help you get ahead in your photography journey. 
Skills, experiences, and interests to mention
  • As well as your portfolio, think of other ways you can show your passion for photography. You could critique a photographer you like, or a recent exhibition you’ve been to, or talk about books you’ve read.
  • Show you understand the industry by giving an idea of what you might like to do. Mention any shadowing or work experience – even if that's taking portraits at a recent family wedding.
  • What shows your initiative and that you’re a self-starter? Have you started a club at school, or designed a website for yourself or a relative?
  • Illustrate your research skills by mentioning schoolwork, or topics you’ve investigated outside of school, such as the photographic history of your local area.
  • Think about the technical side too. Maybe you've already developed your own photos, or you have a hobby doing crafts or coding.

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