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Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course

Overview

Studying on the BA (Hons) Commercial Photography course will prepare you for a successful career in fashion, editorial, beauty, advertising, architectural photography, fashion film (moving image) and post-production or set and run photography studios and even set up a magazine (we have successful alumni doing all of this and more!).

You will learn outstanding and innovative advance image production skills with expert workshops and tuition. Contextual studies, professional practice (Mental Wealth) and entrepreneurial skills will be supporting your development and readiness for industry 4.0.

Interdisciplinary collaborations with students from our BA Design Interaction, Graphic Design, Illustration and Animation courses or with our award-winning fashion students, architecture or urban dance students will allow you to exchange skills, technical support and subject expertise across disciplines. Collaborative and interdisciplinary practice is what we do well and we have many examples of outstanding student projects commended by our industry contacts.

You will be encouraged to experiment and develop emerging technology such as AR/VR and eg. 3D technologies designed to give you edge in the competitive job market. We see these as future skills for fourth industrial age (4iR) in commercial photography.

Image credit: Chloee Allen

What makes this course different

View across a bridge

Commercial networks

You will be studying in East London with access to Europe’s largest commercial photographers’ networks and our successful photography alumni

Hands in front of a laptop

Career focused

You will work on interdisciplinary collaborations with students from BA Design Interaction, Graphic Design, Illustration and Animation or eg. with our award-winning fashion, architecture or urban dance students allowing you to exchange skills (such as AR/VR/ 3D technologies) and access to technical support and subject expertise across disciplines designed to give you edge in the competitive job market. We see these as future skills for fourth industrial age (4iR) in commercial photography.

Girl standing up, smiling

Placement

Optional placement year

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

This course is designed to give you the opportunity to prepare you for a successful career in fashion, editorial, beauty, advertising, architectural photography, fashion film (moving image) and post-production or set and run photography studios and even set up a magazine (we have successful alumni doing all of this and more!).

Through BA (Hons) Commercial Photography you willgain fresh perspective and approaches (divergent thinking) giving you an edge in the competitive job market, and skills for the fourth industrial age (4iR). 

You will undertake interdisciplinary collaboration with students from BA Design Interaction, Fine Art Technology, Graphic Design, Illustration and Animation or find collaborators from e.g. our successful fashion department or our unique urban dance course, gaining access to exchange of skills, technical support and subject expertise across disciplines.  

Experiment and develop emerging technology such as AR/VR and e.g. 3D technologies.

MODULES

  • Core Modules
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    Contextual Studies 1

    Contextual Studies in the first term equips students to understand the history of fine art, fine art technology, graphic design, design interaction, illustration, animation, photography and creative writing and its relevance today. The module comprises thematic lectures, seminars, screenings and field trips as well as keystone research and writing skills such as the use of citation, referencing and academic integrity appropriate to undergraduate study. The module content will support development of students’ practical work on the adjoining modules. At the end of the module, students would have developed the skills for analysing and contextualising their own work, and that of their peers.

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    Practice 1

    The module serves as a rigorous introduction to a creative practice, an overview of fundamental skills that will enable experimentation and application, developing their own working practice. The module aims to provide students with an introduction to practical and critical study, to understand the role of research in creative practice and in supporting the development of creative projects. The approach aims to imbue an experimental and open-minded attitude that enhances levels of production, strengthens adaptability, personal confidence and the ability to creatively solving visual ideas. Through experimental and production of work, students become to understand their work in relation to research and feel empowered. The module allows students to discuss and develop their work with the help of group critiques and views of others in the enhancement of ideas through to creative outcomes.

     

    At the end of the module students will be able to begin to self-manage the development of a creative practice, and to disseminate ideas.

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    Experimentation and Application 1A

    The module introduces the student to a range of processes and practices, skills and knowledge, through a series of workshops and projects. The module equips the student to discover a range of techniques working within context of their discipline and support their developing practice.

     

    The module focusses on process, developing skills and practical knowledge encouraging students to discover a range of creative ways of working within the context of their discipline as well as extended practice supporting their developing practice. The module is backed up through regular group tutorials.

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    Experimentation and Application 1B

    The module introduces the student to a further range of processes and practices, skills and knowledge, through a series of workshops, projects and electives to extend their practice.

    Technical introductions and workshops enable the student to broaden the scope of their skills and practice, as well as specific workshops pertinent to contemporary processes and methods, including a range of analogue and digital tools.

    These skills and processes are introduced and discussed in relation to the development of a visual language applicable to contemporary fine art, graphic design, illustration, photography and animation practice.

    The module allows students to present their work to audiences, testing their ideas and concepts, receiving feedback feeding forward to their practice and to level 5 of study. Cross-disciplinary exhibitions are encouraged as well as inter-disciplinary discourse.

    The module Practice into Research supports the module, and allows student to contextualise their practice in a form of a presentation of their work.

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    Research into Practice 1

    Students will begin to establish an intellectual framework within which they can begin to understand a relationship between theory and their own practice. Students will begin to contribute critically in the seminars, in relation to contemporary and historical research methodologies. The module is supported by one-to-one tutorials. At the end of the module, students would have developed the skills for analysing and contextualising their own work, to be applied further in second year of their study. The outcome of this module is both a presentation of the student’s practice or research area and a written work.

    The lectures are complemented by tutor led discussion focusing on student work in progress, interrogating the practical work within the context established by the lectures in order to promote deeper understanding and extend creative ambition.

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    Professional Life 1 (Mental Wealth)

    Developing the key psychological and physical determinants of human performance are increasingly critical for successful graduate-level employment, entrepreneurship and career progression in the 4th industrial revolution.

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to identify the skills, competencies and experience required for successful development to, and in, a range of potential future career areas.

    Herein they will begin to recognise the areas for their own personal professional development (including emotional, social, physical, cultural and cognitive intelligences) through taught and workshop activity.

    Central to the developmental process is for each student to cultivate the reflective skills, openness and self- awareness to enable themselves to assess what they are doing, identify areas for improvement, and confidently receive and give constructive feedback. Students will additionally develop knowledge of strategies to advance their own physical intelligence through ‘life style’ and ‘self-care’ approaches to inform their health and wellbeing.

    Having acquired understanding of the key developmental areas, students will have opportunity to join in-house activities as a trainee, mentored and supervised by students from higher years. In this position they will learn and begin to apply the cognitive, cultural and social intelligences developed elsewhere in their studies (and from  external activities) as required in the workplace, namely cognitive flexibility, emotional resilience, motivation, ethical decision-making, managing your audience, coordinating with others, negotiation, creativity, active listening, attention, problem solving, research, synthesis and analysis.

  • Core Modules
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    Contextual Studies 2

    At Contextual Studies Level 5, students will consolidate and continue to advance the theories and research methodologies introduced at level 4. In addition, students will begin to build a critical thinking and understanding of contemporary art and design production, dissemination and reception within an expanded field. By addressing the historical, political, economic, social, environmental and ethical aspects of art and design, this module aims to equip students with the main discussions concerning these issues, and the space to test their understanding of them in relation to art and design practice (their own, and that of their peers).

     

    The module develops students advanced conceptual skills and analytical abilities, research and writing skills appropriate to the study of art and design at this level, feeding directly into key studio project across the year so that the research methodologies we develop may be tested and deeper connections between practice and theory explored.

     

    The module is further supported making use of the opportunities for the first-hand encounter with visual art and design available in London art galleries, museums and art institutions.

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    Practice 2

    The module enables students to expand on the skills and knowledge from level 4, encouraging students to take risks, try new things, not to be afraid of learning through mistakes and failure to develop their practice. This, in turn, will help students to begin to define their individual approach to fine art, fine art technology, graphic design, design interaction, illustration, animation and photography.

    The emphasis of this module will be on research and the development of a body of references that supports practice-based outcomes, supported by Contextual Studies module.

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    Advanced Experimentation and Applications

    The module builds on the technical processes introduced through workshops and technical demonstrations at Level 4, focussing on developing students’ advanced technical skills and locating students’ work in relevant professional and creative contexts. The module equips students to experiment with and make appropriate use of materials, processes, and technologies, showing understanding of quality standards and attention to detail.

    The module delivery includes advanced workshops / masterclasses by tutors who are working in the industry /industry connections/ visits to industry or e.g. professional production companies.

    The module supports development of work in other level 5 modules.

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    Advanced Practice

    The module will allow students to develop their practice as an artist, design thinker, illustrator, animator and photographer. The module develops an individual working practice supported by group seminars and one to one tutorials. It also introduces the student to working collaboratively via presentation of work at the end of year showcase.

    The module enables students to expand on the skills and knowledge from level 4, encouraging students to take risks, try new things, not to be afraid of learning through mistakes and failure to develop their practice. At the end of the module the student will be able to begin to self-manage the development of a creative practice, install and exhibit their work, and disseminate ideas to audiences.

    The module will prepare students to undertake an independent project in their discipline of fine art, fine art technology, graphic design, design interaction, illustration, animation, photography in level 6.

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    Research into Practice 2

    The module continues to build students’ critical thinking and understanding of contemporary art and design production, dissemination and reception within expanded field. The module aims to equip students the space to test their understanding of theories and debates in relation and reference to their own work and practice.

    Students will draw connections between theoretical approaches and students’ own practice in a form of a written piece of work/ document.

    At the end of the module, students will produce a 200-word critical rationale in preparation for student’s choice of a level 6 research into practice route.

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    Professional Life 2 (Mental Wealth)

    Developing the key psychological and physical determinants of human performance are increasingly critical for successful graduate-level employment, entrepreneurship and career progression in the 4th industrial revolution.

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to apply several of the skills, competencies and experience required for successful development to, and in, a range of potential future career areas.

    Herein they will advance the areas identified at level 4 for their own personal professional development (including emotional, social, physical, cultural and cognitive intelligences) through taught and workshop activity.

    Through engagement with the Career Passport, students will reflect on the success of the strategies that they employed to further develop their reflective skills, self-awareness, ‘life style’ and ‘self-care’ approaches and where necessary improve their approaches.

    Students will have opportunity to select an in-house microbusiness/ life briefs and commissions to join in the role of ‘Producer’. In this position they will take on a specific production role, working collaboratively with peers and academic staff on a live project. In doing so they will apply the cognitive, cultural and social intelligences learnt elsewhere in their studies (and external development) required in the workplace. In addition to the intelligences developed in the level 4 Mental Wealth Module, students will also focus on service orientation, self-discipline & management, reaction & response time, cognitive & muscle memory, managing stress, critical thinking, Complex problem-solving, research, synthesis & analysis.

    Main topics of study:

    The module will enable students to apply and develop further a variety of skills-based competencies explored at level 4, including self-awareness and regulation; mindfulness; emotional resilience; motivation; ethical decision-making; active listening; self-discipline and management; attention; reaction and response time; cognitive and muscle memory; managing stress; physical resilience; subject knowledge. Students furthermore rehearse and apply these skills in their creative practice modules. Students will also apply and develop new competencies including cognitive flexibility; managing an audience; co-ordinating with others, negotiation; creativity; leadership and entrepreneurship; service orientation; critical thinking; complex problem solving; research synthesis and analysis.

    - Working on client briefs / competitions /commissions to a professional outcome that meet the need of the client/ commissioner / audiences

    - Considering their practice through project work that will have positive social impact on the wider society

    - Attending and engaging in the cluster employability initiative Detour Ahead: Roadmaps for the Art and Design Industry. Detour Ahead programme includes a week of inter-disciplinary practitioners talking about their route to professional success. The week also includes professional practice knowledge such as copyright and licencing, freelancing, tax, giving the level 5 students more in depth understanding to apply for their own professional life.

    - Application of creative coding for visual practitioners

    - Performing roles and responsibilities of creative teams including communication, co-ordinating with others, negotiation; creativity; leadership and entrepreneurship; critical thinking; complex problem solving; research synthesis and analysis.

    - Developing and editing creative industries CV and cover letter and the format and tone of this for potential work placements and experience over summer break between level 5 and 6

    - Creation of a digital public profile

  • Core Modules
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    Practice 3

    This module is about preparing students to be fine artists, designers, illustrators, animators and photographers.

    The module does this by introducing choice. We ask students to reflect their idea of what their own practice might be, filling gaps of knowledge or extending their skill set. It’s about them setting the terms and direction of travel, exploring in an extensive and critical way.

    The work in this module will be developed through extensive research and practical testing of ideas and processes, informed by critical, contextual, historical, conceptual, economic, social and ethical research.

    Self-critique and responsiveness to the views of others is important part of the module in the development of students’ ideas and proposal.

    At the end of the module students will have proposed and refined their own agenda for term 2 negotiated body of work to be presented at the degree showcase at the end of the academic year.

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    Research into Practice 3 – Commercial Photography

    The modules in level 6 are designed to be inclusive to students’ discipline, and respond to differentiated assessments needs. The commercial photography Research into Practice route is a group research project, responding to the working practices and visual culture of commercial photographers.

    The commercial photography Research into Practice module is a project that aims to test all of the research methods and critical thinking skills students have acquired from level 4 and 5, and contribute them to a visual group research project that is informed by a shared subject (which is negotiated annually). As well as demonstrating through writing and discussion a level analysis of visual and theoretical subjects appropriate to a students’ final year of study, the aim of this module is to augment academic practice (research, writing, discussion, presentations) with material research based on studio practice (experimentation, skill development, processes and techniques).

    As individuals, students will present their response to the shared research subject together with a supporting document that captures the key research, analysis and argumentation that links theory to their own commercial photography practice.

    Students will produce a final outcome based on this presentation, which is public-facing and utilises appropriate media. Each student’s response will depend on their position as a commercial photographer who is aware of key commercial photography concepts and who understands their responsibilities in a contemporary society.

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    Independent Major Project Part A

    This module is about preparing students to be fine artists, designers, illustrators, animators and photographers. Students produce an independent negotiated project, that enables them to work towards their own agenda and own it. The module allows students to develop and apply advanced creative processes to a professional outcome showcased at a public exhibition of the work at the University. This readies them for their next objective; employment or post graduate study.

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    Independent Major Project Part B

    This module is about preparing students to be fine artists, designers, illustrators, animators and photographers. During part B of the Independent Major Project, students finalise the production of the independent negotiated project, culminating in a presentation at the degree showcase.

    The module allows students to develop and apply advanced production methods to a professional outcome showcased at a public exhibition of the work at the University. Each student will contribute towards planning, production and curation of the Degree Showcase. This readies them for their next objective; employment or post graduate study.

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    Professional Life 3 (Mental Wealth)

    Developing the key psychological and physical determinants of human performance are increasingly critical for successful graduate-level employment, entrepreneurship and career progression in the 4th industrial revolution.

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to apply the full range of skills, competencies and experience required for successful development to, and in, a range of potential future career areas.

    Herein they will advance the areas identified at level 5 for their own personal professional development (including emotional, social, physical, cultural and cognitive intelligences) through taught and workshop activity.

    Through engagement with the Career Passport, students will reflect on the success of the strategies that they employed to further develop their reflective skills, self-awareness, ‘life style’ and ‘self-care’ approaches and where necessary improve their approaches.

    Students will have the opportunity to select an in-house microbusiness / life briefs and commissions to join in the role of ‘Manager’. In this position they will oversee the successful operation of the enterprise, coach and mentor students new to the programme and lead those working in ‘producer’ roles. Working collaboratively with peers and academic staff, they will ensure the effective delivery of a live project by managing people and physical resources. In doing so they will apply the cognitive, cultural and social intelligences learnt elsewhere in their studies (and from external activities ) required in the workplace.

    Students will have the opportunity to enter external facing industry / live briefs such as D&AD New Blood Awards, AOP Student Awards, Sony student competition, Lensculture, Life Framer etc. in order to leverage their raise and improve their employment prospects.

HOW YOU'LL LEARN

You shall benefit from our progressive approach to learning through forward-thinking and inclusive blended/ flipped learning and patchwork assessment, allowing you to make connections between modules, technical skills and research and your practice.

You will think critically to undertake complex problem solving, to be able to succeed in 4iR and beyond (we call this emotional intelligence). 

Gain insights in our yearly cluster employability initiative Detour Ahead: Roadmaps for the Art and Design Industry, a week-long inter-disciplinary guest talk event as well as advice about copyright and licensing, freelancing and tax.  

Guided independent study
We are investing in key areas beyond your studies including our career services, library and well-being, to be available both face-to-face on campus and online with many of these available 24/7. We have new, modern library facilities on both campuses offering inspirational environments for study and research. Libraries contain resources in print and digital formats, a range of study spaces and dedicated librarian who can assist with your learning.

Academic support
Students are supported with any academic or subject related queries by an Academic Advisor, module leaders, former and current UEL students. 
If you need a bit of extra help with certain skills such as academic writing, maths or IT, our Skillzone and English for Academic Purposes we offer workshops, drop-in sessions and one-to-one appointments to help our students achieve their potential. You can receive advice and guidance on all aspects of the IT systems provided by the university from our IT Service Desks located on all three campuses. Our Student Support hubs in Docklands and Stratford feature centralised helpdesks to cater for your every need. UEL provides also support and advice for disabled students and those with specific learning difficulties (SPDs).

Workload
Each year you will spend around 300 hours of timetabled learning and teaching activities. These may be lectures, workshops, seminars and individual and group tutorials. Contact hours may vary depending on each module.
The approximate percentages for this course are:

Year 1: scheduled teaching - 300 hours; guided independent study - 900 hours.
Year 2: scheduled teaching - 300 hours; guided independent study - 900 hours.
Year 3: scheduled teaching - 300 hours; guided independent study - 900 hours.

The size of classes can vary depending on the nature of the course, module and activity. This can range from large groups in a lecture theatre setting, to smaller groups taking part in seminars and collaborative work. You will receive your personalised timetable at the beginning of the academic year dependent on your course.

HOW YOU'LL BE ASSESSED

We'll assess you through a combination of coursework and exams. Coursework will include presentations, exhibitions, pin-ups and critiques. Furthermore, you'll also be assessed through learning, research journals, online portfolios and degree shows. You'll always receive detailed feedback outlining your strengths and how you can improve.

Students with disabilities and/or particular learning needs should discuss assessments with the Course Leader to ensure they are able to fully engage with all assessment within the course.

Feedback is provided within 15 working days in line with UEL's assessment and feedback policy.

CAMPUS and FACILITIES

Docklands Campus

Docklands Campus, Docklands Campus, London, E16 2RD

WHO TEACHES THIS COURSE

The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Dr Antigoni Memou

Dr Antigoni Memou is Senior Lecturer in Visual Theories at the School of Arts and Creative Industries.

Read more

What we're researching

At the University of East London we are working on the some of the big issues that will define our future; from sustainable architecture and ethical AI, to health inequality and breaking down barriers in the creative industries.

Our students and academics are more critically engaged and socially conscious than ever before. Discover some of the positive changes our students, alumni and academics are making in the world.

Please visit our Research section to find out more.

YOUR FUTURE CAREER

The changes in digital technology and distribution has provided opportunities for the new generation of photographers and graduates, who are more able to adapt to the technological challenges and processes, but also opportunities in multi-disciplinary and expanded practice such as fashion films, moving image digital billboards etc., aided by high quality moving image capabilities of the current DSLR cameras. 

The majority of the BA (Hons) Commercial Photography graduates will work as self-employed and/or freelance. They may start work as photography assistants gradually progressing into freelance photography or they may set up their own studios/ entrepreneurial ventures such as magazines.  Increasingly graduates may take on roles such as producer, project manager, social media manager; digital marketing and design or marketing and PR. 

The BA (Hons) Commercial Photography will offer not only technical and creative skills but opportunities in multi/ inter-disciplinary and expanded practices, prepare students on the course to bring interdisciplinary practices into their practice such as e.g. producing fashion films.

Students and graduates may also seek opportunities to work with e.g. bloggers and other opportunities created by social media. The graduates are able to market to wider international audiences through platforms such as Instagram, gaining opportunities such as one of our recent BA Photography graduates getting retouching jobs through Instagram posts, now retouching for photographers working for high-end magazines such as Vogue.

We expect BA (Hons) Commercial Photography graduates continue to follow career destination that our current BA (Hons) Photography alumni have achieved.

Currently the BA (Hons) Photography course alumni work in wide range of careers such as: Freelance Photographer, Award-winning Feature and Documentary Director, Flight Test Photographer, Senior Photographer at NET-A-PORTER GROUP, Director of a Photographic Studio (The White Rabbit studio and Espero Studio), Co-director of Location Scouting Company, Fashion Photographer, Interior Photography, Portraiture Photographer, Property Photographer, Documentary and Portrait Photographer, Lifestyle, Portrait and Product Photographer, Videographer, Freelance Camera Operator, Digital Operator, Freelance Lighting and Digital Photographer's Assistant.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal.