BA (Hons) Commercial Photography

Course summary

Overview

This exciting course in Commercial Photography will develop your understanding of photographic practice within a modern commercial environment. As well as developing creative and technical skills, you will study the impact that photography has on society and contemporary culture.

model posing for photograph in the woods

You will be kept abreast of the industry by academic and support staff who are all active practitioners.

Why choose this course?
Learn about photography and its relationship with the fields of marketing and promotion, explore practice in the commercial sector and experiment with related subject areas such as moving image and emerging digital technologies.

We have offered photography courses for over 50 years, and are an affiliate member of the Association of Photographers. With accreditation by the British Institute of Professional Photography and international regard, this is a truly vocational degree.

Work experience is a core part of the course, allowing you to apply your learning and enhance your career prospects after graduation.

The course uses a range of professional equipment (digital and analogue) and industry standard computer hardware and software packages in dedicated workshops, including specialist dedicated Apple Mac labs, darkrooms and studios.

You will also have access to an extensive range of camera and lighting facilities for studio and location work including:

  • Hasselblad analogue and digital cameras
  • Nikon and Canon Digital SLRs
  • Profoto
  • Elinchrom and Bowens lighting
  • Apple Mac computers together with Flextight
  • Nikon and Epson scanners and large format Epson printers (up to 50' wide).

joy in a bottle

Open access time in our dedicated photography facilities allows our students to access specialist resources and equipment that are necessary to prepare work for assessment. Further to this there are weekly workshops, guest lectures, external visits and group critiques available outside of the formal sessions.

Career and study progression
Areas such as advertising, fashion and editorial are prime candidates for future career pathways as well as other substantial market sectors such as social and events photography.

Upon graduation you will be able to seek employment in the following areas:

  • freelance in fashion
  • advertising and editorial
  • post-production retouching and picture editing
  • new areas of convergence.

You may also wish to undertake postgraduate study to specialise in a subject you’ve already studied, or to explore something new.

We have a wide range of postgraduate courses offered by the London School of Film, Media and Design. See our postgraduate courses page to view all the courses on offer. 


Careers support
Our degrees are designed to help you find the career that’s right for you. 98% of our graduates are in work or further study within six months of graduating. With our desirable West London location, we have strong links with many national and multinational organisations such as the InterContinental Hotels Group, The Savoy, Thomas Cook Travel, Cobra Beer, and the Royal Palaces. 

We have a strong track record of providing valuable work placements and we also provide hands-on experience at the University through our Student Ambassadors’ scheme. Many of our staff have successful backgrounds in relevant industries and can advise you on how to kick-start your career. Our careers service will also help you realise your potential by offering specialist advice and guidance on a wide range of careers issues, including:
  • CVs
  • job hunting
  • recruitment and selection procedures
  • further study.

We are The Career University.


How will the course be assessed?

Year one
0% written exam, 0% practical exam, 100% coursework

Year two
0% written exam, 0% practical exam, 100% coursework

Year three
0% written exam, 0% practical exam, 100% coursework

Course detail

You will be kept abreast of the industry by academic and support staff who are all active practitioners.

The course uses a range of professional equipment (digital and analogue) and industry standard computer hardware and software packages in dedicated workshops, including specialist dedicated Apple Mac labs, darkrooms and studios.

You will also have access to an extensive range of camera and lighting facilities for studio and location work including:

  • Hasselblad analogue and digital cameras
  • Nikon and Canon Digital SLRs
  • Profoto
  • Elinchrom and Bowens lighting
  • Apple Mac computers together with Flextight
  • Nikon and Epson scanners and large format Epson printers (up to 50’ wide).

Open access time in our dedicated photography facilities allows our students to access specialist resources and equipment that are necessary to prepare work for assessment. Further to this there are weekly workshops, guest lectures, external visits and group critiques available outside of the formal sessions.

Modules

Year one (Level 4)

  • Introduction to Photography: Identity
  • Photographic Histories
  • Experimental Approaches to Image Production
  • Introduction to Photography: Place
  • Introduction to Commercial Photography
  • What is Documentary?

Year two (Level 5)

  • Business and Branding
  • Photography Theory
  • Narrative Photography
  • Live Brief: Fashion
  • Industry Experience
  • Photography and Society

Year three (Level 6)

  • Media and the Moving Image
  • Professional Photographic Practice
  • Dissertation
  • The Professional Portfolio
  • Major Project

Entry requirements

112 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications.

These can include:

  • A Levels at grade B, B and C, or above
  • BTEC Extended Diploma with Distinction, Merit, Merit
  • Access to HE Diploma

You also need GCSE English and Maths (grade 9 – 4 / A* - C) or Level 2 equivalents.

Successful applicants to an interview and portfolio review. Please bring to the interview your photographic work (which should be presented in a portfolio case, box or in book form). Your portfolio should consist of 20-30 prints, presented as a series of projects, showing not only technical awareness but the ability to explore themes and ideas in a coherent manner.

Mature applicants (aged 21+): If you do not hold the above qualifications but possess relevant work experience, you are invited to apply. Your application will be considered on an individual basis.

Level 5 entry
If you wish to enter directly at level 5 of this course you will be required to follow procedures in accordance with the university regulations. The demonstration of appropriate knowledge, competencies and relevant industrial experience is required and will be considered by the relevant university board. You are an ideal candidate for entry at this level if you have a 120 undergraduate credits at level 4 or a CertHE in a related subject area.

Level 6 entry
If you wish to enter directly at level 6 of this course you will be required to follow procedures in accordance with the university regulations. The demonstration of appropriate knowledge, competencies and relevant industrial experience is required and will be considered by the relevant university board. You are an ideal candidate for entry at this level if you have a 240 undergraduate credits (at level 4 and 5), a DipHE, Foundation Degree or HND in a related subject area.

International entry criteria

International students need to meet our English language requirement at IELTS 6.0 or above and a minimum of 5.5 for each of the 4 individual components (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening).

In some countries where teaching is in English, we may accept local qualifications. Please visit http://www.uwl.ac.uk/international/your-country to check for local equivalencies.

We offer pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet these requirements. Find out more about our English Language courses

Fees

Fees for home and EU students

Main fee
£9,250 (2019 fees may change subject to government policy and regulations)

Fees for overseas students

Main fee
£12,500
Find out if you are a home or overseas student.

Funding

Help with funding is available to a range of students, whether you are studying full or part-time, in your home country or overseas.

You may be eligible for a student loan to cover the cost of tuition fees or a maintenance loan to support you during your studies. Additional funding is available to some types of students, such as those with dependants, disabled students and more. Find out more about applying for student loans and other funding options.

Information in the video above is accurate at the time it was produced. Bursaries for September for 2019 entry have not been announced. 

Please note fees are paid for each year of study unless otherwise stated. You will be required to re-enrol and pay fees at the beginning of each academic year. Fees may be subject to government regulations on fee increases. Future inflationary increases will be applied to each subsequent year of the course, subject to government regulations on fee increases.

How to apply

Interview

Your interview provides you with the opportunity to show your enthusiasm and commitment to photography, and meet the course leaders and lecturers. You will also be asked to bring along a portfolio of your work.

Tips on applying

We invite successful applicants to an interview. This is not only a chance for you to meet the course team, but also to show your enthusiasm and commitment to photography. You will need to produce evidence of a passionate interest in photography and the visual arts in a portfolio, and any sketchbooks that document your creative process. We are interested in applicants who demonstrate visual curiosity, motivation, commitment, ambition, and a burning desire to communicate.

Download our portfolio and audition guide FAQ (pdf, 56Kb).

Apply for this course

UK and EU students

Apply for this course at www.ucas.com when UCAS applications are open, from the previous September until June (see dates). You will need our institution code W05 and the UCAS code given on the right hand side of this page.

If the UCAS deadline has passed, you can apply through Clearing by calling our hotline on 0800 036 8888 (or +44 8231 2468). Clearing takes place over the summer months (July to September).

If you are making an early application, before UCAS has opened, you can apply directly to the University by clicking the red 'apply now' button above. You should also use this button to receive specialist information if you are applying for Nursing and Midwifery courses.

More about how to apply to the University of West London.

Please also read our student terms and conditions.

International students

Apply at www.ucas.com or you can apply to study this course using our online application system.  Simply click the red ‘apply now’ button above.

You can also review the relevant information about the qualifications we accept from your country and our English language requirements, as well as details about your visa application.

More about the application process for international students.

Please also read our student terms and conditions.

 

During the course

What our students say

Paula John-Jules - FdA/BA Photography

"Entering University life as a mature student was quite daunting, being amongst the young technically minded college leavers many of whom had already established an understanding of basic photography skills. I felt a little out of place as I entered with very little skills except what I had taught myself, but my passion for creativity kept me persistent and focused. I felt the tutors implemented, fun within learning, they also understood, each individual student who came on the course had different levels of understanding and catered for us as individuals and concentrated on our strong and weakest points.  For the first time I felt that I had the freedom to express myself with my camera in a studio-based environment. With the tutor's encouragement and hard work, I was able to achieve a great final mark and have seen a vast improvement in my own personal work."

Ashley Gee-Allaway - FdA/BA Photography

"My experience with education in the past had not been positive and left me disillusioned about the whole process, however I found that the Foundation Degree Photography course at UWL offered me the support and flexibility I was looking for. For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by photographic technique, always looking for new and interesting ways to represent the world around me. During the first year of my course I came across a group of blind photographers who created visual images using other senses such as touch. With this as my main inspiration I set about exploring ways to represent familiar environments in an unfamiliar way. Armed with a light strapped to the back of each of my hands and a room in complete darkness the resulting images are the product of that exploration."

Rick Hanley - BA Photography

"My experience at UWL was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding times of my life. It is important to know that you will get out of the course exactly what you put in. I found all the tutors and technical staff very supportive and always eager to engage with my ideas, concepts and practical work. Each one of them has their own insight based on their personal area of expertise. They would encourage and challenge me to push for the best possible work I could produce. I really had my eyes opened to the possibilities of what photography can be."

Lukas Birk - BA Film and Photography

"One thing I really valued during my three years at UWL was that the staff were always available. There was always space for discussion which was not only encouraged in the classroom but also when meeting in more informal settings. I received help and attention from all department members and they felt responsible for me and my work. The more enthusiastic I was about a project the more enthusiasm came back from them and that encouraged me considerably."

Rosangela Borgese - BA Photography

"I chose to study photography at UWL as I knew it would be possible for me to fully engage with the tutors and technicians on a one-to-one basis. My course took place in the evenings and was set within a close-knit environment  where practical support and invaluable feedback was always available. My expectations were realised throughout my time at the University. The photography department has active links with industry partners, giving current students the opportunity to take part in live photographic briefs throughout their studies.

The lecturers, demonstrators and technicians have invaluable practical and theoretical experience in their chosen areas of expertise. They have high expectations from all their students and push us to achieve our best. Thanks to their tutorship, experience and feedback, I was shortlisted for the The Guardian Student Media Awards as well as being granted the Sakamoto Award from the School. I really enjoyed all of my time at the University, which gave me the ideal environment in which to learn and develop my skills as a photographer and artist."

Jobs and placements

Work Placements are encouraged throughout the course and facilitated through the team’s personal connections in the industry, the course affiliation to trade organisations s (AoP & BIPP), the University /School Alumni, and a dedicated Placements Officer working for the School of Art, Design and Media together with an Arts Specialist in the University Careers Team. A period of industry experience is undertaken in year 2 as part of the requirements for the Professional Studies module. There is also direct experience of working in a professional environment in the live brief undertaken in the Client Brief module.

KIS