Abby Donald

BA (Hons) Commercial Photography

Course Duration

3 years; full-time
4 years; full-time Extended BA route
6 years; part-time
7 years; part-time Extended BA route


Course: W643
Institution: P65

Our BA (Hons) Commercial Photography course will help you succeed in today’s dynamic and competitive photographic industry.

From lighting and framing a dramatic fashion shot to visualising concepts for advertising campaigns, commercial photography has the power to influence and inspire. This course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to succeed, combining visual awareness and innovation with technical excellence, professional understanding and business skills.

Our BA (Hons) Commercial Photography course will equip you with advanced technical skills in studio and location lighting, digital capture and post-production techniques. This is an integrated programme of study with industry-oriented assignments, hands-on workshops and expert tuition using sophisticated camera and lighting equipment. You will also develop your industry knowledge and professional skills to enable you to find work in high-end commercial photographic practice.

Mark Ronson for NME by award winning graduate Andy Ford

Mark Ronson for NME by award-winning graduate Andy Ford.

Our curriculum is geared towards employability and enterprise. We develop photographers who are technically proficient, visually sophisticated and professionally astute – who understand trends in the industry, how to pitch for business, and who graduate with a broad range of transferable skills that enable them to succeed in the creative industries.

Working both individually and in interdisciplinary groups and with real-world mentors, you’ll gain vocational experience to be able flourish both academically and professionally. You will acquire a broad range of entrepreneurial abilities in marketing, self- promotion and business development, enabling you to develop a financially sustainable practice, fundamental to your success in the industry.

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Students have full access to our range of photography studios and the latest industry standard equipment - free for use and hire.

With support from our teaching and technical team, as well as practitioners from industry, you’ll develop your confidence in responding to client briefs while demonstrating creative problem-solving and conceptualisation skills. Then, in your second year, you’ll work with real industry clients to build a professional portfolio. Recent course contributors include Getty Images, The Met Office, Mercedes-Benz, and Pro-Direct Sport. You’ll also benefit from our affiliation with the prestigious Association of Photographers (AOP).

With an overall overall satisfaction rate of 95% in BA (Hons) Commercial Photography, 100% of students agreed that “my course has provided me with opportunities to apply what I have learnt”
- National Student Survey 2022

Our photographic resources include industry-standard studios, with an infinity cove to create seamless backdrops for shoots and a series of well equipped studios for portrait and product photography. We also provide access to lighting and high-end digital camera equipment, large-format scanners, post-production suites and 6000 pieces of kit that are free to hire from our Equipment Resource Centre.

Our curriculum includes a rich schedule of visiting lecturers and photographers, many of whom also take an active role in running practical workshops, contributing to group critiques and seminar discussions, and providing portfolio review sessions. And we are regularly visited by talented photography alumni, including industry professionals such as Harry Borden, Suki Dhanda, Tom Oldham and Candice Farmer. Many also provide work placement and assisting opportunities.

Andrew young

Food photography by student Andrew Young.

Our students attend world-class events including the annual Visual Culture Symposium in London, where speakers have included picture editors from The Telegraph and The Guardian, amongst acclaimed international photographers. You’ll also be encouraged to enter graduate showcases and awards, with one of our recent graduates winning Best in Show - first runner up, at Free Range 2019.

BA (Hons) Commercial Photography had 100% student satisfaction in the category: “Staff have made the subject interesting”
- National Student Survey 2022

Our strong international connections also allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange.

We create an environment in which commercial photographers can develop their professional practice and gain a wide range of skills and knowledge, enabling them to shape their futures and make a positive impact in the photographic industries.

Although many of our students do come in with top grades and high UCAS points, these aren’t necessarily essential for entry. We typically ask for a minimum of 112 UCAS points, but we understand that talented artists, designers and makers can have a wide range of relevant strengths and skills beyond formal qualifications. We’re just as interested in exploring your portfolio and discussing your creative experiences as we are in seeing your grades.

We recognise the value of a variety of qualifications and relevant experience and welcome applications from students who have followed less traditional routes. We also accept a range of international qualifications and will look at each application individually.

For more information please consult our How to Apply page and the UCAS Tariff Table.