A2 Photography Coursework Ideas For Life

Students taking high school photography qualifications such as A Level Photography or NCEA Level 3 Photography often search the internet looking for tips, ideas and inspiration. This article contains well over 100 creative techniques and mixed media approaches that Fine Art / Photography students may wish to use within their work. It showcases student and artist examples along with brief descriptions of the techniques that have been used. Approaches relate specifically to mixed media photography techniques, technical / trick photography ideas and interesting, fun or unique compositional strategies.

Note: The creative photography ideas listed in this article should not be explored haphazardly within a Photography course, but rather selected purposefully, if appropriate for your topic or theme. These approaches may or may not be relevant for your own photography project and should be chosen only in conjunction with advice from your teacher. The techniques listed here are created using a range of different cameras and devices, such as a digital SLR/DSLR camera, traditional camera, pinhole camera and/or camera phone. 

Stain, smudge and erode photographs using water, like Matthew Brandt:  

Print photographs onto a flexible surface and stretch or distort them, as in these works by Michal Macku: 

Burn photographs, as in these examples by Lucas Simões:  

Sew or embroider photos, as in the stitched vintage photography of Maurizio Anzeri: 

Stitch photographs together, like Lisa Kokin: 

Wrap torn plastic or other materials around the edge of your camera to create hazy edges, as in the photographs of Jesse David McGrady (via PetaPixel): 

Use a hand-held glass lens or prism, to create blurred, abstract forms, like this photograph by Sam Hurd:

Deliberately unfocus lights to create ‘bokeh’, as in this beautiful landscape by Takashi Kitajima:

Photograph scenes through visible hand-held lenses, as in this A Level Photography work by Freya Dumasia:

Abstract an image completely through three mirrors, creating a vortograph, like Alvin Langdon Coburn:

Fold a photograph and make a installation, still life or sculpture, as in this example by Joseph Parra:

Create 3D photography collages, as in these works by Midori Harima:

Collage mixed media materials onto images, as in Vasilisa Forbes’ photography:

Splash, smear or throw mixed media upon photographs, as in this A Level Photography sketchbook example by Jemma Kelly:

Simulate the effect of the wet collodion process used by Sally Mann via Edwynn Houk Gallery:

Paint developer sporadically onto photo paper to expose only parts of the work, as in these portraits by Timothy Pakron:

Paint directly onto photographs, as in these works by Gerhard Richter:

Combine paint and photographs digitally, like Fabienne Rivory‘s LaBokoff project:

Redraw part of a scene with paint, as in these works by Aliza Razell:

Write on objects and photograph them, as in this A Level assignment by Hallam Girardet of Monmouth Comprehensive School:

Paint onto objects and then photograph them, as in this IGCSE Photography piece by Rachel Ecclestone:

Mark or scratch negatives or photos, as in this 100 year old vintage print by Frank Eugene:

Use a CNC or Laser Engraving Machine to etch a photographic image onto glass, wood, aluminium or another similar material:

As technology progresses, it is possible for digital images to be engraved upon various surfaces (such as stone, timber, fabric or leather); on or within glass, as in a 3D crystal engraving; or around cylindrical items, such as a rotating bottle. A laser is used like a pencil, with a controlled beam moving in different directions, intensities and speeds, delivering energy to the surface, heating up and vaporises areas or causing small pieces to fracture and flake away. Although the majority of laser photo engraving examples online seem to be uninspiring commercial shots, laser engraving offers new possibilities for high school Photography students – not just in terms of printing images onto exciting materials, but as a way of creating a textured plate which can then be printed from. It should be noted that although most high school Art Departments are not in a position to purchase a 3D laser engraving machine to experiment with (although this may change in the future) some Design and Technology Departments are beginning to. Many companies also offer a custom laser engraving service that students may make use of. Remember that those who must post work away for assessment are not able to submit heavy, bulky or fragile pieces (such as laser wood engraving or laser engraving on glass).


Use an ink transfer method to print photograph images onto other materials, as in this video by Crystal Hethcote:

This video shows a simple image transfer technique using gel medium, which could be useful for applying a digital image to any number of creative surfaces.


Add sculptural elements that protrude from the photograph, as in this example by Carmen Freudenthal & Elle Verhagen:

Take photos using a scanner, like Evilsabeth Schmitz-Garcia:

Place objects on top of a photograph and scan it, like this example by Rosanna Jones:

Put objects on top of photographs and rephotograph them, like these images by Arnaud Jarsaillon and Remy Poncet of Brest Brest:

Project images onto textured surfaces and rephotograph them, as in these experimental images by Pete Ashton:

Project images onto people or scenes, as in these examples by freelance photographer Lee Kirby:

Create a photogram, as in this example by Joanne Keen:

Create pinhole photography, making your own pinhole camera from scratch like Matt Bigwood (via The Phoblographer):

Note: some teachers purchase a make-at-home pinhole camera set for their students, such as this one from Amazon US or Amazon UK (affiliate links).  Matt Bigwood‘s DIY pinhole cameras are made from ordinary aluminium drink cans:

Deliberately overexpose a shot, creating ‘high-key’ photography, like this portrait by Gabi Lukacs:

Experiment with underwater photography like Elena Kalis:

Use a homemade light box to create uncluttered backdrops for photography, as in this YouTube video by Auctiva:

Art teachers and students frequently take photographs upon cluttered classroom tabletops, often with less than optimal lighting conditions. Light box photography can be especially useful in this situation, helping those who wish to create professional product shots (Graphic Design students creating promotional material, for instance) or those who want to photograph sculptural or design pieces, create composite works from several elements or just to have a simple backdrop for their images. Tabletop photography becomes infinitely easier when you can light a subject well, and capture true colour and details, in a reliable, uniform way. If you are looking for other less time-intensive tabletop photography ideas or backdrop ideas, it is possible to purchase inexpensive light box kits and light tents from Amazon.com and Amazon UK (affiliate links).

Experiment with camera filters, like the neutral density filter that was used to photograph this beautiful seascape by Salim Al-Harthy:

Use specialised photography lighting to achieve dramatic contrasts, as in this portrait of two brothers by dankos-unlmtd:

Use a transportable photography reflector (i.e. this one from Amazon.com or Amazom UK – affiliate links) to create better lighting within your shots, such as in this outdoor portrait by Toni Lynn:

Take unfocused shots and create semi-abstract photographs, like those by Bill Armstrong:

Create 360 degree 3D panoramic photography, as in this image by Nemo Nikt:

Use kites to create aerial photography, as in this image by Pierre Lesage:

Produce High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDR Photography), as in this example by Karim Nafatni:

SmartPhones with HDR Camera include (affiliate links):


Use tilt-shift photography to make real things look miniature, as in this example by Nicolas:

Use a tilt-shift effect to make paintings or drawings appear real, as in these photographs of Vincent van Gogh artworks by Serena Malyon:

Photograph things with extreme macro lenses, like these photos of water drops by Andrew Osokin:

Photograph things without contextual information, so objects become almost unrecognisable, as in this example by Peter Lik:

Take photos from uncommon or unexpected viewpoints, like these birds eye view photographs commissioned by the human rights organization Society for Community Organization:

Use frames within frames to create intriguing compositions, such as these photographs by Chen Po-I:

Photograph forms inside other forms, like Per Johansen:

Emphasise reflections, rather than the objects themselves, as in the urban landscape photography of Yafiq Yusman:

Play with shadows, like Russ and Reyn Photography:

Create illusions using forced perspective, like these photographs by Laurent Laveder:

Arrange compositions as if they were a beautiful still life painting, such as these food photographs styled by Maggie Ruggiero and photographed by Martyn Thompson (left) and Marcus Nilsson (right):

Create candid documentary photography, like these emotion-filled black and white football fan shots by Christopher Klettermayer:

Create a composition that tells a narrative or story, like Dan Winters’ photography featuring Brad Pitt:

Capture the same scene at different times, as in this photography series by Clarisse d’Arcimoles:

Photograph things that are submerged in coloured liquid or milk bath, such as these shots by Rosanna Jones:

Use mirrors to create illusions, as in this self-portrait by 18 year old photographer Laura Williams:

Create a complex ‘unrealistic’ setting and photograph it, as in this composition by Cerise Doucède:

Collect many similar items and produce typology photography, like Sam Oster’s apparatus series:

Organise subject matter into patterns, like Jim Golden:

Digitally create patterns, as in this artwork by Misha Gordin:

Overlay multiple photos from slightly different angles, like these experimental photographs by Stephanie Jung:

Digitally erase parts of objects, as in this A Level Photography work by Leigh Drinkwater:

Colour select areas, as in this example by Locopelli:

Apply a digital filter to create an illustrative effect, as shown in this Adobe Photoshop tutorial:

Digitally overlay textures onto photos, as illustrated in this tutorial by PhotoshopStar:

Digitally combine paintings with photos, as in these examples by Dennis Sibeijn and Iwona Drozda-Sibeijn of Damnengine:

Digitally draw over photographs, as in these portraits by May Xiong:

Repeat or stretch pixels, as in these examples by Maykel Lima:

Digitally superimpose photographs onto other products, as in these watches by John Rankin Waddell:

Digitally merge images to play with scale, as in this photograph by Katherine Mitchell:

Create fantasy scenes like Lorna Freytag:

Combine objects in unexpected ways, to create something new, as in Carl Warner’s foodscapes:

Make sculptural installations and then photograph them, as in this A Level work by Kim Seymour:

Photograph things pressed against transparent surfaces, as in these photograph details by Jenny Saville:

Photograph things through transparent sheets, as in these works by Flóra Borsi:

Photograph objects through mottled or translucent screens, like this work by Matthew Tischler: 

Overlay tracing paper, obscuring parts of an image, like this photograph by Gemma Schiebe:

Cut, fold and manipulate photos, like these examples by Joseph Parra:

Rip and layer photographs, as in this example by Mark Jacob Bulford:

Cut through photographs to expose other layers of photographs below, as in these images by Lucas Simões:

Note: If you are interested in laser cut work, you may wish to see the excellent A Level Art project by Lucy Feng, which has been featured on the Student Art Guide.


Create layered handmade collages, like these works by Damien Blottière:

Cut out shapes and insert coloured paper, as in these photographs by Micah Danges:

Collage photographs and found materials together, creating mixed media art like Jelle Martens:

Человек, попытавшийся ее удержать, выглядел растерянным и напуганным, такого лица у него она не видела. - Сьюзан, - умоляюще произнес Стратмор, не выпуская ее из рук.

 - Я все объясню. Она попыталась высвободиться.

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