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BA (Hons) - Commercial Photography with Integrated Foundation Year

Whether you’re into architecture, advertising, a fashion influencer or a product photographer, our bespoke commercial photography degree will set you up with the skills, knowledge and confidence to become a photographer in the fast-paced, high-intensity world of commercial photography.

At the University of Cumbria, we have created a cutting-edge, industry-led commercial photography degree course, designed to launch your career in professional photography, image making and content creation.

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Commercial Photography with Integrated Foundation Year cover image

Course Overview

On this commercial photography course with an integrated foundation year, you will study commercial photography at university level, learning advanced photographic and lighting skills in the studios and on location. You will understand how to use studio lighting to make your images pop, as well as professional post-production and editing skills to give your images the final finishing touches, taking your portfolio to the next level.

On this course you will...

  • Be taught by photography tutors who are embedded within the commercial world and have developed excellent commercial connections and professional expertise. Their clients include Nike, Converse, JD Sports, Pfizer, and Panda London.
  • Benefit from full access to Cumbria's dedicated, industry-standard facilities. Our four photography studios come complete with lighting rigs and with iMacs set up for tethered shooting in each.
  • Be able to use large format and 3D printers, with all the tech overload supported by our dedicated photography technicians on hand for support. Our digital facilities are matched by our analogue facilities giving you the best of both worlds.
  • Have access to a vast selection of camera systems from 35mm analogue, high-end DSLR and medium format digital cameras to help build your skill set.
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Course Structure

What you will learn

The Commercial Photography programme has been developed in response to the industry's need for more dedicated routes and preparation for employment following graduation. The commercial degree puts emphasis on photographic and editing skills, the knowledge needed to work commercially, working to client briefs and commissions, concept development, and acquiring and applying business skills. All targeted towards preparing a career path via a recognised industry route or a more entrepreneurial approach of a self-employed photographer. By studying this programme, you will become equipped to design and manage a successful career in the commercial photography industry.

Year one

By joining the Integrated Foundation Year pathway, you will have the same access to facilities as any other student in the Institute of Arts, but you will have the added advantage of working closely alongside graphic design, illustration, fine art, and photography IFY students, seeing how different disciplines approach visual enquiry and problem-solving.

You will work with a range of tutors and technical staff who will guide and support you in building your skills, knowledge, and confidence, establishing a wide lifelong network of creative colleagues, and creating a portfolio of art and design work that will act as a springboard onto the next level of the course.

  • Making Images
  • Visual Enquiry
  • Environment
  • Portfolio and Progression
Year two

The Cornerstones of Practice deals with the craft of photographic image capture, both analogue, and digital. In level 4, you will study alongside peers on the Photography degree in semester one before peeling off to dedicated commercial photography modules in semester two. Your research and contextual skills will be established at this level through the module Cultural Contexts and you will be encouraged to work on inter-disciplinary project-based problem-solving projects at this level to support you in gaining experience working with other disciplines, as you will need to in your future career.

  • Photographic Image Capture
  • Digital Image Production with Lighting Design
  • Contemporary Image Theory
  • Cultural Contexts
  • Collaborative Practice
Year three

Commercial Application attends to developing your specialist skills as a commercial photographic practitioner. This will include business development skills, live briefs, developing your visual style and identifying your audience as well as acquiring wider skills of still and moving image creation and the application of your commercial practice. Level 5 modules are dedicated to your commercial skills acquisition and application; we support you in seeking opportunities to test them out in real-world settings.

  • Commercial Practice 1
  • Media and Moving Image
  • Word and Voice
  • Commercial Practice 2
  • Negotiated Live Project
  • Business Development
Year four

Independent Showcase: here you take full charge of your own practice and bring it into the public domain. Research, practice, and professional skills come together in the final year of study to refine and showcase your personal vision and expression of photographic practice. At this point you will be an independent, intelligent, and competent practitioner with a commercial portfolio representing the breadth of your skill and depth of your engagement.

  • Blueprint of Practice
  • Resolution of Practice
  • Independent Research Paper

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
A student stands in front of a wall splattered with paint.