izsaltmarsh
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Hey guys, I'm a year 12 student and the A-levels I take are photography, french and sociology and I'm really enjoying all of them so far (I am on track for at least Bs-A*in all) Photography is my favourite subject but I was always just considering keeping it as a hobby because apparently it is a very hard and competitive industry to get into, I think this is what my parents want me to do as well. I had a look at Falmouth University online and I absolutely loved the photography course there and the place, especially the marine and natural history course looked incredible! To work making documentaries for BBC or Netflix would be a dream but it seems like such a risk. In terms of the academic subject I was thinking of doing linguistics, languages and sociology, or something related, this would probably take me into the world of therapy/teaching which is something I would like as an altruistic person but I just don't know if I really love it. The universities I would love go to for the 'academic' route would be Bath, Sheffield, York, Lancaster, just from doing some research online. Any thoughts/advice is very welcome especially if you have any experience with this
ps. would doing a foundation year in photography and then going down a more academic route be a waste of time and money?
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LuigiMario
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Interesting problem, completely support your analysis - but I have to reflect it back at you, as you’ll (hopefully) eventually gather enough information to make your choice!

Keep in mind that some people, myself included, consider that it’s not that important what your first degree is in - or where you do it, as long as you can get through to do your Masters or a second degree in the subject that gets you your job

A family friend did an Art degree in Swansea, with video - then when that didn’t lead to much employment, they took a pgce in teaching, but didn’t like that - so third degree was eventually in Nursing, still employed!

Other friends have started Digital Media degrees - but left that - due to the course being a lot slower/boring than advertised- they are now going back into an Art/Art History degree.

So, anything could happen, if you have the passion for photography then surely you’d enjoy and stick at a degree course at the Northern Film School (Leeds) with connections to the Cannes based French industry, if I recall correctly? If you started an altruistic degree towards therapy/teaching, would you enjoy that course enough to walk to college in the winter?

Contrast Falmouth with Leeds Beckett, and certainly add some other centres of excellence to your shortlist. I particularly mention Leeds because of the Yorkshire Television studios there, looking towards a stage/internship - summer work even, as that industry contact whilst still an undergrad is critical to eventual positions.

Keep researching! Both options are viable - make plans, enjoy....
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alexschmalex
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I think it depends on what you want to end up doing. Photography is one of my favorite things to do, but I also know that for me personally I'd lose a lot of the joy from it if I had to rely on it full time for money. It also depends on type of photography you want to do, I'm not really sure it's really worth paying tens of thousands if the type of stuff you are interested in can be learned on the internet for free.

That being said, if you already know that you want to do professional (aka on set with a big crew) film/video work full time then check to see what other people already in the industry are doing. Take a look at job openings, see what the requirements are and backtrack from there. If none of them necessarily need academic qualifications, might be better off to put the money into getting equipment and building a portfolio.

As for "academic" subjects I'd say don't feel pressured into them, this virus has taught us that they're not really that more stable than more creative type jobs. Figure out where your heart is first, no point on becoming a teacher or something if you later realize you hate teenagers or something 😅
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PQ
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(Original post by izsaltmarsh)
Hey guys, I'm a year 12 student and the A-levels I take are photography, french and sociology and I'm really enjoying all of them so far (I am on track for at least Bs-A*in all) Photography is my favourite subject but I was always just considering keeping it as a hobby because apparently it is a very hard and competitive industry to get into, I think this is what my parents want me to do as well. I had a look at Falmouth University online and I absolutely loved the photography course there and the place, especially the marine and natural history course looked incredible! To work making documentaries for BBC or Netflix would be a dream but it seems like such a risk. In terms of the academic subject I was thinking of doing linguistics, languages and sociology, or something related, this would probably take me into the world of therapy/teaching which is something I would like as an altruistic person but I just don't know if I really love it. The universities I would love go to for the 'academic' route would be Bath, Sheffield, York, Lancaster, just from doing some research online. Any thoughts/advice is very welcome especially if you have any experience with this
ps. would doing a foundation year in photography and then going down a more academic route be a waste of time and money?
A foundation diploma in art & design (with a media/lens based pathway) would absolutely not be a waste of time and money.

If you’re not quite sure then taking a year to study photography full time (without eating into your funding for degree study) and gaining an extra qualification is only going to help. It may well cement your decision in one direction or the other and it gives you time to try before committing to a degree either way.

There’s an FAQ of art foundation diplomas at the top of the art and design forum - most people study at a local FE college or university because there’s no living cost loans available.
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izsaltmarsh
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(Original post by PQ)
A foundation diploma in art & design (with a media/lens based pathway) would absolutely not be a waste of time and money.

If you’re not quite sure then taking a year to study photography full time (without eating into your funding for degree study) and gaining an extra qualification is only going to help. It may well cement your decision in one direction or the other and it gives you time to try before committing to a degree either way.

There’s an FAQ of art foundation diplomas at the top of the art and design forum - most people study at a local FE college or university because there’s no living cost loans available.
(Original post by LuigiMario)
Interesting problem, completely support your analysis - but I have to reflect it back at you, as you’ll (hopefully) eventually gather enough information to make your choice!

Keep in mind that some people, myself included, consider that it’s not that important what your first degree is in - or where you do it, as long as you can get through to do your Masters or a second degree in the subject that gets you your job

A family friend did an Art degree in Swansea, with video - then when that didn’t lead to much employment, they took a pgce in teaching, but didn’t like that - so third degree was eventually in Nursing, still employed!

Other friends have started Digital Media degrees - but left that - due to the course being a lot slower/boring than advertised- they are now going back into an Art/Art History degree.

So, anything could happen, if you have the passion for photography then surely you’d enjoy and stick at a degree course at the Northern Film School (Leeds) with connections to the Cannes based French industry, if I recall correctly? If you started an altruistic degree towards therapy/teaching, would you enjoy that course enough to walk to college in the winter?

Contrast Falmouth with Leeds Beckett, and certainly add some other centres of excellence to your shortlist. I particularly mention Leeds because of the Yorkshire Television studios there, looking towards a stage/internship - summer work even, as that industry contact whilst still an undergrad is critical to eventual positions.

Keep researching! Both options are viable - make plans, enjoy....
Thanks for the advice- interesting way of putting it, it's reassuring that you can always change your career path and figure things out along the way, I think doing work experience would be really helpful (unfortunately mine got cancelled I was meant to be working disabled people). Hopefully going to open days and getting work experience with photography will help me to realise if it's something I'll enjoy
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izsaltmarsh
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(Original post by PQ)
A foundation diploma in art & design (with a media/lens based pathway) would absolutely not be a waste of time and money.

If you’re not quite sure then taking a year to study photography full time (without eating into your funding for degree study) and gaining an extra qualification is only going to help. It may well cement your decision in one direction or the other and it gives you time to try before committing to a degree either way.

There’s an FAQ of art foundation diplomas at the top of the art and design forum - most people study at a local FE college or university because there’s no living cost loans available.
Thanks so much for the advice- I agree, will have a look into the foundation diplomas and discuss with my photography teacher!!
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izsaltmarsh
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(Original post by alexschmalex)
I think it depends on what you want to end up doing. Photography is one of my favorite things to do, but I also know that for me personally I'd lose a lot of the joy from it if I had to rely on it full time for money. It also depends on type of photography you want to do, I'm not really sure it's really worth paying tens of thousands if the type of stuff you are interested in can be learned on the internet for free.

That being said, if you already know that you want to do professional (aka on set with a big crew) film/video work full time then check to see what other people already in the industry are doing. Take a look at job openings, see what the requirements are and backtrack from there. If none of them necessarily need academic qualifications, might be better off to put the money into getting equipment and building a portfolio.

As for "academic" subjects I'd say don't feel pressured into them, this virus has taught us that they're not really that more stable than more creative type jobs. Figure out where your heart is first, no point on becoming a teacher or something if you later realize you hate teenagers or something 😅
It's reassuring to talk to someone with similar thoughts. Thanks so much for the advice, I agree about not being pressured into an 'academic' or more conventional career
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Lancaster Student Ambassador
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(Original post by izsaltmarsh)
Hey guys, I'm a year 12 student and the A-levels I take are photography, french and sociology and I'm really enjoying all of them so far (I am on track for at least Bs-A*in all) Photography is my favourite subject but I was always just considering keeping it as a hobby because apparently it is a very hard and competitive industry to get into, I think this is what my parents want me to do as well. I had a look at Falmouth University online and I absolutely loved the photography course there and the place, especially the marine and natural history course looked incredible! To work making documentaries for BBC or Netflix would be a dream but it seems like such a risk. In terms of the academic subject I was thinking of doing linguistics, languages and sociology, or something related, this would probably take me into the world of therapy/teaching which is something I would like as an altruistic person but I just don't know if I really love it. The universities I would love go to for the 'academic' route would be Bath, Sheffield, York, Lancaster, just from doing some research online. Any thoughts/advice is very welcome especially if you have any experience with this
ps. would doing a foundation year in photography and then going down a more academic route be a waste of time and money?
Hi izsaltmarsh,
I'm glad to hear you're considering Lancaster!
I'd recommend talking to current students on the course you're interested in using UniBuddy - you can maybe try and gage if it will give you the skills you want for a career in photography as well possible a more academic career. You can also use the SU website and have a look at the society pages for photography/film making etc. to see how you could keep up your hobby.
For example, I know a few film/fine art students who have been involved with being a digital content ambassador. They get to plan, direct and edit content for the university YouTube channel which helps them to earn money and build up their portfolio alongside their degrees. I've also been involved in this although it's not related to my degree at all! You can have a look at some of this student made content here.
I hope there's some useful information here, and let me know if there's anything I can help you with.
Charlotte
3rd year Biological Sciences with Biomedicine
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izsaltmarsh
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(Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador)
Hi izsaltmarsh,
I'm glad to hear you're considering Lancaster!
I'd recommend talking to current students on the course you're interested in using UniBuddy - you can maybe try and gage if it will give you the skills you want for a career in photography as well possible a more academic career. You can also use the SU website and have a look at the society pages for photography/film making etc. to see how you could keep up your hobby.
For example, I know a few film/fine art students who have been involved with being a digital content ambassador. They get to plan, direct and edit content for the university YouTube channel which helps them to earn money and build up their portfolio alongside their degrees. I've also been involved in this although it's not related to my degree at all! You can have a look at some of this student made content here.
I hope there's some useful information here, and let me know if there's anything I can help you with.
Charlotte
3rd year Biological Sciences with Biomedicine
Thanks so much- sounds really intresting, will definetly check that out!
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tashadc
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You can do a joint honours degree of Sociology and Media! That might be a good mix of the two and would defo be worth checking out. Make sure you look at the different modules each university course offers as some may be more suited towards what you want! I studied both sociology and photography at A-Level as well and are hoping to study sociology at Sheffield but i know they also offer a Digital Media and Sociology degree which does seem very popular!
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izsaltmarsh
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(Original post by tashadc)
You can do a joint honours degree of Sociology and Media! That might be a good mix of the two and would defo be worth checking out. Make sure you look at the different modules each university course offers as some may be more suited towards what you want! I studied both sociology and photography at A-Level as well and are hoping to study sociology at Sheffield but i know they also offer a Digital Media and Sociology degree which does seem very popular!
that's so helpful- thank you soooo much!
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