• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember
  • Course length20 weeks, split over two 10 week terms

Photography Professional Practice and Academic Portfolio Course

We are accepting applications for PPA 2018-19 starting in September 2018.

Photography Professional Practice and Academic Portfolio Course video by SokFok Studio. Music Credits: Garden of the Forking by DJ Lang.

Video from the PPA Final Exhibtion by Ruth Sewell

Photography PPA Portfolio Course Final Show. Video by Ruth Sewell

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The Photography Professional Practice and Portfolio Course will enhance your knowledge of photography through the understanding of professional processes and skills, and the building of an original and personally tailored photography portfolio. It aims to encourage you to develop upon your own creative approach and style, whatever that may be. 

The course will be beneficial to students looking to develop a portfolio for BA undergraduate applications, for those who want to return to education and use the course to a make an application for an MA and for professional practice.

Course structure

Photography Professional Practice and Portfolio Course is a full-time course providing one day’s tuition per week, on Saturdays. The course runs as one 20 week course split over two terms with a break for the Christmas holidays in between. You are expected to work on your projects outside of class time, and allow approximately 15 hours a week for self-practice and portfolio creation. 

Autumn Term 

The first part of the course is taught progressively, with practical and technical skills being covered. These skills will then be applied to the projects that will form the bulk of your portfolio in the second part of the programme, so that you are then in a strong position to apply for the BA and MA courses. 

Spring Term 

During the second stage of the course you will be asked to develop an idea for a self-initiated project that you would like to develop and undertake. Your individual research project will be the main focus of your studies for the second stage of the course. You will be supported throughout by workshops, lectures, tutorials and group feedback sessions.

Curriculum / learning and teaching

Subjects covered on the course include: 

  • Alternative processes
  • Analogue darkroom skills
  • Digital workflow
  • History of photography; looking critically at photographs, exhibitions and Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida
  • Medium and large format cameras
  • Printing, scanning and colour management.
  • SLR
  • Studio skills 

These topics are taught by means of workshops, lectures, demonstrations, visits and individual tuition. 

Pathways and routes

The course aims to serve the needs and ambitions of three main student groups: 

  • Those seeking to build a portfolio for application to BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, BA Photography at London College of Communication or Camberwell College of Arts, or elsewhere
  • Those seeking to build a portfolio for application to MA Photography at Central Saint Martins, London College of Communication, or elsewhere
  • Professionals seeking to renew their creativity through personal projects, new processes and produce a fresh portfolio with a distinctive London edge.


Peter Cattrell (course leader) has taught photography extensively at Central Saint Martins, London College of Communication and Camberwell College of Arts.

The course is also taught by visiting tutors, alumni and UAL staff.

How to apply

To apply for this course please click on the “Apply” button located at the top of this page, you will be redirect to a course application form which you will need to complete. 

We will only review completed applications, which must include: 

  • A completed application form
  • A short statement (no more the 350 words)
  • An up-to-date CV
  • 15-20 high resolution images of your work 

All international students from outside the European Union will need a Short-term Study Visa (STS) in order to attend one of our portfolio courses.  To find out more please visit UAL's Immigration guidance for short course students web page.

Entry requirements

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£4,995 per course

International fee

£4,995 per course

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials, for more details please visit the UAL’s Additional Costs webpage.


Please visit the Accommodation webpage to see the options available to you and to find out how much they will cost.