Photography Higher

What is special about this course?

This exciting part-time course is delivered in a dynamic and supportive learning environment. You will be given the opportunity to develop a broad range of creative and technical skills in photography whilst creating a portfolio of work. You will have the chance to be experimental with a range of photographic assignments, develop your knowledge of photographic theory and learn industry standard software with digital technology. Successful completion of the Photography Higher can lead towards a recognised progression route in Higher Education and increased adaptability in the workplace.

Entry requirements

You will own or have access to a DSLR camera and be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of controlling the camera and its functions to produce well-exposed, focused and composed images. You will also be computer-literate and have access to a computer, ideally installed with Adobe Photoshop Elements or equivalent.

During the course you will learn about the history and art of photography as well as gaining technical and creative skills in order to produce photographs to a given theme and in different styles and genres. You will learn to decipher the visual language of an image whilst gaining a practical knowledge of photography. The course will enable you to become a competent and confident photographer equipped with the technical skills to create imaginative work.

You will maintain a journal throughout the course which will be used for recording notes, ideas, sketches, plans, test photos, technical details, postcards, magazine/newspaper cuttings and inspirational images from the photographic media – both historical and contemporary.


You will need a DSLR camera and advice and guidance on types and likely costs will be provided at the start of the course. You will also need to buy an A4 journal (approx £10.00) and an A3 journal for the final project. (approx £15-20)

How will I study my course?

  • Part Time

Each week will comprise of scheduled, connected learning time and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments.  Some flexible learning must be done on a weekly basis.  

Connected learning is when you learn together with lecturers, students and others. Connected learning happens at a scheduled time in a practical workshop, an online-classroom, a studio, a specialist classroom, the workplace or in the outdoors.

Flexible learning covers lecturer directed learning and self-directed learning

Lecturer-directed learning is weekly learning activity, for example:

  • posting your idea in a discussion forum,
  • completing a quiz, 
  • practising a task, activity or idea
  • watching a video or reading,
  • discussing and working on a solution with another student,
  • researching and gathering information,
  • completing an assignment or project-based task.

Self-directed learning is your decision about further study and focus.  We encourage you to take ownership of your learning and areas of interest. You can ask us to help you to determine areas for further development.

As and when it is appropriate and safe to do so, your connected learning will take place in the Photography studio. However, during periods of social distancing restrictions, some of your learning may need to move to an online-classroom.  This will include a combination of video conferencing, interactive chat and sharing of presentation slides and other visuals. Online-classrooms provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion with your lecturer and fellow students. 

How long will my course last?

34 Weeks

3 hours of class time with the lecturer per week, plus at least 3 hours of self-directed study.







How will I be assessed?

    There is a written critical theory exam of 1 hour. In addition, you will be encouraged to apply your creative knowledge to a final photography project in a subject and genre of your own choice. 

Where can I study my course?

    • Broadford
    • Fort William
    • Portree

Start date




You will need a DSLR camera and advice and guidance on types and likely costs will be provided at the start of the course. You will also need to buy an A4 journal (approx £10) and an A3 journal for the final project. (approx £15-20)


A Fee Waiver or funding of up to £200 could be available to help with payment of course fees, depending on your personal circumstances.

This support will be available for people who are 16 or over, living in Scotland and either in low paid work or actively seeking work. To be eligible, you must have income of £22,000 a year or less, or be on certain benefits.

You will also not be undertaking any secondary, further or higher education, SDS funded training or participating on the Community Jobs Scotland programme.

Please contact your local college centre for more information about eligibility, or call us on 01397 874000.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Successful completion of the SQA Higher could lead to progression to the HNC Photography. Higher Photography is underpinned with the development of creative learning, critical thinking and proficient use of digital media.  These skills can be applied to a range of industries for a variety of careers. The Higher can be used to support a progression into Higher Education in a discipline of your choice.

Is there more information available online?

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I have always been interested in portraiture. I have gone from being a complete beginner to being able to capture exactly the images I want.

The course challenges you to push your boundaries through development of camera theory and practical skills, break out of your comfort zone, while still allowing you to take creative direction. Being able to learn from each other not only provided a sense of community in the class but encouraged us all to explore aspects of photography we were unfamiliar with.

I plan to study creative arts at university and my new photography skills have been so useful when taking reference photos for paintings or drawings, telling narratives through photography or even documenting any creative work I’ve produced.

Sara Oussaiden

Apply for Photography Higher

I want to start in 2022/23

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI West Highland. UHI West Highland operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.