Documentary & Editorial Photography BA(Hons)
Expose truths, prompt emotion and provoke action through visual media.
This degree has undergone a name change for 2024. It was previously known as Press & Editorial Photography BA(Hons).
If you want to use your camera to expose truths, prompt emotion or evoke action, this course is for you. With expert tuition from industry-connected lecturers and access to specialist photographic facilities, you’ll learn to tell compelling visual stories for the media. Exploring documentary, portraiture, news, sport, music and fashion as well as immersive multimedia narrative photography, you’ll develop sophisticated photographic and multimedia skills while gaining professional experiences that will give you the critical edge when you graduate.
- Learn from experienced, industry-connected lecturers that offer unparalleled access into the ever-evolving photography industry
- Work like a professional photographer from the start, while gaining valuable industry insight and technical know-how
- Develop essential skills in creative problem solving and collaboration, and an understanding of photographic law, ethics and human rights
- Have full access to our state-of-the-art educational photographic facility, which includes the latest camera equipment, studios and post-production technology
- Enjoy opportunities for local, national and international work placements
- Take part in optional local and international study trips, to places including London and New York
- Get the opportunity to present your work to leading names in industry through our annual Press Awards and have the option to display your work at an exhibition in London
Lead image by Alice McDonald.
On this Documentary & Editorial Photography degree, you'll have the opportunity to gain a BA(Hons) degree over three years or study Documentary & Editorial Photography BA(Hons) with an Integrated Foundation Year and/or professional placement options.
You’ll learn to tell compelling and original visual stories by developing comprehensive and sophisticated photographic and multimedia techniques. You’ll develop a deep understanding of how impactful photographic stories are constructed, explore the relationship between image and audience, nurture critical communication, collaboration and professional skills and discover the importance of media law and ethics.
You’ll start by building a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of photographic techniques, the history of photography and the basics of professional practice. Through a series of modules, you’ll develop skills in studio lighting, editing and production software, website building and presenting. You’ll also be introduced to concepts of critical thinking, analysis and reflection.
Essentials of Photographic Narrative
You’ll get an introduction to the core technical skills and visual understanding required of a documentary and editorial photographer. Through live briefs that mimic real world jobs, you’ll also explore the narrative models used by journalists and documentary makers.
From ethical practice, marketing and copyright to managing finances, in this module you’ll get to grips with the business side of being a professional photographer.
Photography Histories & Visual Culture
You’ll deepen your contextual awareness by exploring the diversity and complexity of visual storytelling and global audiences throughout history.
Photographic Narrative in Context
You’ll learn the importance of contextual awareness when working as a documentary and editorial photographer. Through the creation of a portfolio that incorporates a variety of genres and outputs, you’ll develop your understanding of audience, markets and purpose.
Critical Approaches to Reading the Image
How do images convey meaning, and how do people read them? Developing your critical analysis skills, you’ll explore issues of gender, race and identity, critical approaches to audience and the role of the image in shaping public knowledge.
In year two, you’ll add moving image to your artistic toolkit. You’ll apply your new photographic and analytical skills to video and multimedia, taking creative risks as you continue to develop your unique approach to visual narrative storytelling. Building on your professional experience, you’ll also organise and complete a work placement.
Audio Visual & Interactive Storytelling
You’ll learn how to marry story, content and context to create audio visual and interactive work that resonates with an audience. You’ll also develop skills in story identification, genre constructs and conventions, audio capture and editing, video capture and editing, researching, interview techniques, narrative functionality and hardware usage.
Law, Ethics & Human Rights
Examining historical and recent case studies where ethics have been called into question, you’ll uncover the legal and ethical frameworks affecting the production and dissemination of photography, journalism and broadcast media.
Working both collaboratively and independently, you’ll produce a variety of creative content that focuses on audience engagement. This practical work will be backed by a theoretical understanding of audience across a range of media and contexts.
Cultural & Critical Context
Through lectures and seminars, you’ll examine the generic conventions used across journalism, documentary, editorial, photojournalism and visual storytelling, and how they shape public knowledge. You'll learn to critically contextualise practices with social, cultural, technical and political contexts.
You can choose to take an optional professional placement after your second year on a three-year programme, or after your third year if you’re studying for a degree with an Integrated Foundation Year.
You’ll be responsible for finding your own placement, with support from the Employability team.
Choosing this option will enhance your industry experience and skills while studying.
How you’ll study during your professional placement
You’ll spend time working in a professional context, as part of a business or organisation. This can be in one role, or up to three, and must be for a minimum of 24 weeks.
You’ll develop in-demand workplace skills, deepen your insight into industry and grow your network of contacts, all of which could help you get ahead in your career after graduation.
Throughout this year, you’ll develop a portfolio of work that includes critical self-reflection on what has been learned from the experience. You’ll be required to evidence your experiences, the skills you’ve learned and your professional growth.
You’ll start your final year deep in dissertation research, while pursuing guided independent photographic work for your final major portfolio. Reflecting on the work completed in the early part of the academic year, you’ll build your final major project and prepare a professional toolkit for entry into industry.
The developmental portfolio is driven by your own unique aspirations and strengths, providing the skillsets, confidence and direction to deliver a cohesive and resolved Final Major Portfolio, as well as guiding future prospects.
Your dissertation is an opportunity for you to explore your own interests and specialisms. While writing, you’ll engage with research and analysis into the historical and professional concepts, practices and theories that have been introduced during the course. Although supported by workshops, seminars and specific supervision, the emphasis of this module is student-led independent learning.
Final Major Portfolio
Building on previous experience, and especially upon the strengths of your developmental portfolio, you’ll design individual and unique outputs that speak to an identified audience. Evidencing a deep and clear understanding of context and purpose, your creative work will be dictated by you with the support of your tutors. Your final submission will be highly professional, creative and critically engaged.
In this final stage, you’ll fine tune your professional profile with support from industry mentors, ready to step out into the workplace.
This module is shared with the Commercial Photography BA(Hons) course.
Why study an Integrated Foundation Year route?
If you’re taking on a new subject that you haven’t studied in depth before, have been out of education for a while or have a non-standard educational background then an Integrated Foundation Year degree may be the right choice for you. It is a four-year degree with an Integrated Foundation Year to start, which allows you to explore the primary elements of your subject before progressing on to the remaining three years of the BA(Hons) degree.
What you'll study in your Foundation year
If you choose this pathway, you'll study five core modules in your Foundation year. These are all designed to help you explore the foundational elements of your subject. You'll gain relevant technical skills, learn to experiment and take risks, develop an understanding of professional practice, have opportunities to work across disciplines and collaborate with other students on live project briefs.
You'll begin your foundation year by working collaboratively with others to explore themes of the future. You'll take risks, experiment through play and be supported to break through barriers.
You'll take subject-specific workshops and develop essential technical and practical skills in your area of study. You'll also enhance your analytical and organisational abilities.
You'll work with your peer group to think beyond discipline by addressing a societal or global issue. You'll then showcase your work to your peers and deliver and accompanying evaluation of your process.
You'll enhance your creative and practical skills in your subject specialism by responding to typical industry briefs, underpinned by focused research and experiments. You'll also gain industry insights through guest lectures and workshops.
You'll develop your unique identity in your specialism through the production of a self-initiated body of work. Your final project will be the bridge to your next year, fully supported by evaluative reviews and critical analysis of the work you have created.
After the Foundation year, you progress into Year One of the full three-year degree, equipped with a deeper knowledge of your subject, a clear understanding of your strengths, and develop a practical and technical skillset and the confidence to excel in your chosen subject.
If you apply for and enrol onto a degree with an Integrated Foundation Year, you’ll have the option to switch onto a five-year version including a placement year. That means you’ll complete the first three years of your course before completing a placement in industry in your fourth year and returning to Falmouth for the fifth year of your programme.
The Integrated Foundation Year pathway for this course is new for entry year 2023 and subject to validation.
The modules above are those being studied by our students, or proposed new ones. Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Course Leader.
How you'll learn & be assessed
On this Press & Editorial Photography degree course, you’ll gain valuable practical experience through tutorials, seminars, lectures, workshops, industry masterclasses and guided independent study, all designed to promote your development as a critical practitioner. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn through live briefs, study trips and work placements – allowing you to experience the professional aspects of documentary and editorial photography.
At Falmouth, we use a 'digitally enhanced learning & teaching' approach. Your experience will always be predominantly in-person, including seminars, tutorials and studio teaching, with some, more targeted elements, being online either live (synchronous) or pre-recorded (asynchronous). You can read more here.
100% of your assessment will be coursework.
- Continuous assessment with no formal examinations
- Portfolios, journals and logbooks
- Presentations and essays
- Photography store housing a vast range of camera equipment for digital, analogue and moving image, plus specialist lighting equipment and location shooting kits
- Colour and black and white darkrooms, including film processing and alternative and sustainable photographic processes
- Underwater photography equipment
- Nine professional photographic studios
- Professional print facility
- Digital post-production suites equipped with latest hardware and software available on both Mac and PC platforms
Lecturers on this course are not only experienced educators but are practitioners in the field with deep roots in the international photographic community. With an understanding of the demands of industry, they work closely with industry professionals to provide students with essential insights and opportunities.
Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every staff member who teaches on the course.
Stories from our community
Explore student projects, graduate successes, staff news and industry insights
As a graduate from this Documentary & Editorial Photography degree, you’ll have the skills to carve out a career in a diverse range of roles, including:
- Editorial, news, sports, fashion or advertising photographer
- Fine Art Photographer
- Photo editor, retoucher or archivist
- Photographic agent
- Marketing/Creative/Art director
- Studio or gallery manager
- Lighting director
- Web designer
- Digital post-production technician
Our graduates have worked at:
- British Journal of Photography
- The New York Times
- The Daily Telegraph
- The V&A Museum
- Pinnacle Sports Agency
- Rex Features/Shutterstock
- Kurt Geiger
- Martin Parr Foundation
- Motorsport Images
- Getty Images
- MIND Charity
How to apply
|Documentary & Editorial Photography BA(Hons) three year degree
|Documentary & Editorial Photography BA(Hons) with Integrated Foundation Year
|Documentary & Editorial Photography BA(Hons) with professional placement
Application advice & interview informationGo to Toolkit
We consider all applications on their own individual merit and potential. We invite all applicants to an interview day or audition to give them the opportunity to demonstrate this along with what inspires and motivates them in their field. Applicants will also be able to show their portfolio or give a performance depending on the course. We welcome applications from all subject backgrounds, whether you’ve specialised in STEM, the arts or humanities.
|BA/BSc(Hons) three year degree
|104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points
|BA/BSc(Hons) four year degree with professional placement
|104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points
|BA/BSc(Hons) four year degree with Integrated Foundation Year
|80 – 120 UCAS Tariff points
Check the title of your course to see if it's a BA or BSc award. UCAS Tariff points will primarily be from Level 3 qualifications such as but not limited to A-levels, T Levels, a BTEC/UAL Extended Diploma or a Foundation Diploma.
For applicants whose first language is English we require you to have or be working towards GCSE English Language Grade 4 (C), or equivalent.
If English is not your first language you will need to meet the same standard which is equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of in country equivalencies and approved tests.
If you need a student visa to study in the UK, you may need to take a recognised language test. You can read our English Language Requirements for more information.
For starting your studies in 2024
UK applications: 31 January 2024 (for equal consideration)
Applications after the 31 January will be considered on a first-come, first-served as long as there are places available. Apply for this course now.
International fee payers
International fee payers can apply throughout the year. But we recommend applying as early as possible, to make time for visa and travel arrangements.
We want someone who:
- Has visual skills, technical ability and engages with photographic narrative.
- Can communicate verbally and through writing.
- Knows about photographic history, contemporary practitioners and current affairs.
- Is curious about the world, and eager to explore through photography and storytelling.
Fees, costs & funding
|Annual tuition fee
|£9,250 per year
|£17,460 per year
|£1,850 per professional placement year
|Full-Time UK and EU/international
|Annual tuition fee
|£9,250 per year
|£17,950 per year
|£1,850 per professional placement year
|Full-Time UK and EU/international
Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may therefore raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible.
The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs
Typical course costs
- A laptop is the most essential piece of equipment, along with a reliable broadband connection
- Digital SLR camera capable of shooting RAW files with manual over-ride of any automatic settings and extra memory cards. It does not have to be a brand new camera
- Camera holdall or photo backpack
- An external hard drive of at least 500 GB, and potentially cloud storage alongside this
- £200 - third year exhibition
Recurring annual costs
- £1,800 for film, travel, trips, paper and any other sundries
Additional typical course costs for Integrated Foundation Year pathway
- £250 for materials
- A laptop/desktop computer
- Adobe Creative Suite
To engage in the digital learning activity, although you will be able to access IT suites on campus, you will benefit from a laptop to access the platforms and tools we use. Depending on your subject, you may need a specific type of computer. If you're unsure about what you might need, please contact our course advisors.
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