ASHS Coursebook: 3PHO (Level 3 Photography)

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How do I get endorsement in Level 3 VA Photography?

A merit or excellence course endorsement for Photography may be obtained by completing 14 credits in the above standards at merit or above for merit course endorsement, or 14 credits at excellence for excellence course endorsement. The 14 credits must include at least 3 external credits, and must be completed in the same school year. More information about NCEA course endorsements is available here:
Information icon.svg 3PHO
NCEA Level:
Primary Qualification:
Primary Learning Area:

What is this course about?

In Level 3 Photography we will further develop our understanding of conceptual aspects of Photography and Photographic Art. An understanding of relevant Art history will continue to be developed through the use of Artist models, with a focus on contemporary image making, allowing opportunities to engage with ideas and techniques specific to our current world.
Three achievement standards are offered along with the opportunity to submit work for the level 4 scholarship examination. Most students will be advised to do the scholarship submission as it involves 8 x A3 workbook pages to be submitted with their level 3 three board folio submission. Students will complete the first standard 91447 (3.2) value – 4 credits during the first half of term 1. This achievement standard involves using drawing to demonstrate understanding of conventions appropriate to Photography. The second achievement standard 91452 (3.3) value – 4 credits will follow on from 3.2. It involves systematically clarifying ideas using drawing informed by established Photographic practice.
This work is expected to form the foundation for the next standard 91456 (3.4) – the 3 board folio worth 14 credits. This achievement standard involves the production of a systematic body of work that integrates conventions and regenerates ideas within Photographic practice. It also involves showing knowledge of the characteristics and constraints of established processes and methods in established Photography practice.
Scholarship involves the submission of 8 x A3 workbook pages which support the 3 board folio with extensive, in-depth research of ideas, artist models, conceptual and pictorial issues relating to the work on the folio. Scholarship is marked under 3 assessment criteria – 1. Analysis. 2. Communication. 3. Synthesis.

What will I learn?

The emphasis is on your chosen investigation and proposal and you develop your ideas based on this conceptual and creative process. It is really important that you learn to generate, develop, unpick and regenerate your ideas through analysis and critical thinking, and be able to articulate both visually and orally what your intent is. You will be encouraged to understand how to synthesise your ideas to bring your work to a point of resolution. You need to take a mature approach to Year 13 photography and think critically to determine a of depth analysis of pictorial and conceptual concerns. This takes courage and in turn, you will learn to take calculated risks with your photographic practice. You will continue to develop your practical and technical skills, with the digital camera and the computer programmes.

What sorts of things will I do?

You will work independently on your proposed investigation, but also collaboratively with other class members and the teacher. You will provide assistance to and seek assistance from other class members. You will participate in group critiques to build a strong collaborative learning culture within the class group. At this level you must take a very organised and mature approach to your work. The main body of work for this course is an externally assessed 3 board folio due early in term 4.

You will be expected to spend a lot of time taking photographs outside class time so homework is essential in this subject choice. There is also a large theoretical component to Level 3 Photography and requires a solid foundation of research based standards.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4











Key Dates / Milestones
  • Due end of term 1
Key Dates / Milestones
  • Due end of term 2
Key Dates / Milestones
  • Due term 4

Key Dates / Milestones

  • Due late Oct

What standards can I enter?

Summary of standards:
NCEA Level: Standard Number: Name of standard: Version Number: Credits: Assessment:

3.2 - AS91447

Use drawing to demonstrate understanding of conventions appropriate to photography

3.3 - AS91452

Systematically clarify ideas using drawing informed by established photography practice

3.4 - AS91457

Produce a systematic body of work that integrates conventions and regenerates ideas within photography practice

No further assessment opportunities attach to this course
Total available credits: 22

Vocational Pathways provide a framework for students to show how their learning and achievement is valued in the workplace by aligning learning to the skills needed for industry.  Follow this link to see the profile for this course.

Scholarship opportunities

Scholarship involves two components: the workbook and the portfolio,(i.e. Photography 3.4 - 14 credits) and together they inform each other. The workbook and portfolio should articulate visual and conceptual arguments to form a body of exploratory and investigative work which clearly show evidence of the generation, development, analysis, clarification, synthesis and re-generation of the chosen theme. The work should show evidence of on-going decision making, evaluation and in-depth exploration and research of ideas. The workbook consists of eight A3 sized pages only. The research and thinking evident on these pages is marked under three specific assessment criteria, - analysis, communication and synthesis.

Frequently asked questions:

Can I take Level 3 Photography if I have not taken Year 12 Photography?

It is expected that students will have undertaken Year 12 Photography. Year 12 Photography provides students with the necessary technical, creative thinking and conceptual skills that are much needed otherwise students will find this course too challenging.

What sort of camera do I need?

You must have your own digital SLR.
When purchasing a digital camera please be aware that it must be 10 megapixels or bigger. ASHS has a range of specialist Canon lenses and lighting equipment which work with only Canon DSLR's. Please note: Digital cameras with lower megapixel capacity (the small point and shoot variety) are not appropriate for either Yr 12 or 13 photography courses. Photowarehouse (, Progear ( and Apix (New North Rd are all good suppliers. Alternatively, companies such as Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman, and Dick Smith Electronics also sell cameras. They all offer slightly different deals. is a very useful website that compares prices across a range of suppliers. Students must have a camera bag for their camera, a manual, a download cord, and a battery charger for the camera. All these things come with new cameras. (Sometimes the bag is extra) It is really important to have this camera personally insured as ASHS does not take responsibility for the loss or damage of the student’s own gear.
Every student taking Photography must have a USB memory stick (4GB minimum). This is provided as part of the "take Home pack" of course materials.

Where might Photography lead?

Fine Arts Degree, Illustrator, interior designer, graphic artist, industrial designer, web design, photographer, commercial photographer, media.

What tertiary courses could I go to?

Unitec, Whitecliff, AUT, University of Auckland, University of Canterbury and Massey University to name a few all offer courses involving the Arts. Whether graphic design, animation, photography and media art, arts therapy, fashion designinterior designer, graphic artist, industrial designer, web design, photographer, commercial photographer, media., Year 13 art will be a building block towards your future career.
Go to this website for further information.

Is there an extension standard?

Students who show particular ability in Photography may be given the opportunity to also undertake Photo 3.1 (an academic research standard) and / or Photography 3.5 (producing a resolved work).

Art Materials:

A course take home materials and production cost of $170 be charged. This materials cost covers take home materials and production costs during the year and all printing paper, folio boards, as well as the fee to courier folio boards to Wellington.