When does the 2013 SI course run?
A mandatory student orientation is Monday, June 3, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Classes start Tuesday,
June 4 at 9 a.m. Graduation is Friday, August 16, at 2 p.m.
What is the cutoff date for enrollment?
We accept registration on a first come, first served basis until the program is full. We recommend
that students enroll early due to our enrollment limit. We will accept enrollment up to the start
of classes if space is available.
Who should attend?
Summer Intensive is Session 1 of the Career Training program at RMSP. It is designed for photographers
who are looking to improve their technical skills while immersing themselves in the creative process,
and anyone who wants to jumpstart a career in photography in a single season. You do not need prior
photographic experience to enroll. We start with the basics (f-stops, shutter speeds, equipment) and
proceed quickly to more advanced topics (studio lighting, creative processes, digital image-editing).
Student ages generally range from 18 to 70. Students come from all over the country and world.
Interests include nature, commercial, portraiture, fine art, and everything in between.
Are there any entrance requirements for the Summer Intensive program?
No prior photographic experience is necessary for enrollment. You must be a high school graduate (or
have GED equivalency) to attend SI.
Do I need strong computer skills to enroll in the Summer Intensive program?
Yes. Strong computer skills are essential to your success in the program. Digital image management and
editing is an important component of the Summer Intensive curriculum and intermediate computer navigation
skills are required. We highly recommend that you enroll in a computer basics course in your local
community if you have limited experience with using computers on a daily basis. To find out more about
specific requirements please contact our office.
How does Summer Intensive prepare me for Professional Studies and Advanced Intensive?
The Summer Intensive program is the first step in the Career Training Program at RMSP. It will give you
a strong foundation in the fundamentals of photography as well as a broad overview of the various
careers in photography. Just as the techniques you learn and the skills you develop are essential for
a working professional in any field of photography, they also prepare you for further learning.
What if I can only take Summer Intensive?
In the past 24 years more than a thousand students have graduated from the Summer Intensive program.
Many of these students began the program with little or no knowledge of photography and have since
joined the ranks of professional photographers with no further formal education. Summer Intensive is
just the first session in our Career Training Program and can stand alone as a terrific jumpstart to
a career for the student who has had previous business experience as well as a solid direction and a
defined market. With those things in place and depending on how motivated you are, the sky’s limit as
to how successful you can be. If you can’t do more than SI this year, consider coming back to Missoula
next year to finish up the program.
What is a typical day like?
There is no truly typical day in SI. Generally, classes and lectures meet Monday through Friday,
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 2 – 6 p.m. Evening lectures are common, and labs and studio sessions can be
assigned for mornings, afternoons, or evenings any day of the week. Some Saturday lab, studio and
field sessions will be scheduled. Assignments start immediately. This program requires your full
attention, as your days are very busy. Complete course schedules are available at orientation,
Monday, June 3, 2013.
Will I have time off during SI?
Yes. However, we call it “intensive” for a reason! There will be no required classes scheduled on Sundays,
however we often schedule review sessions on Sunday evenings. There will be two long weekends off during
the 11 weeks. In general, you will either be in class, in the digital labs, in the print lab, or in the
studio most weekdays. The days and times of day that are unscheduled will likely be spent on shooting
assignments or taking care of your personal business (or sleeping!). Keep in mind that if you plan to leave
school at a time other than the long weekends, you will most likely miss classes and get behind on your
work. If this is inevitable, please let us know ahead of time if you’re able, and arrange with instructors
to make up missed work. There is a week break scheduled between SI graduation and the first Professional
Where do I live during SI?
We provide a housing packet that offers local resource information about rental agencies that have worked
with our students over the years. Toward mid-spring we will hear from landlords who have rented to our
students in the past letting us know about availability. We will pass that detailed information on to our
enrolled students as we receive it. We gather information from students who are interested in having a
roommate for the summer. We publish that information for enrolled students in the late spring. Arranging
for a roommate is the responsibility of the student.
What about utilities?
Students need to make arrangements for utility connections, local, long distance, or cell phone service
(reception is generally excellent in Missoula), Internet access, and banking services. Information and
phone numbers for local services are listed in the Housing Resource Packet available in the spring.
Businesses are listed for your convenience and don’t constitute recommendations.
Do I need a car for the summer?
Missoula is a bike-friendly city with good public bus lines if you live near the school’s classroom
locations. However, one of the great pleasures of the summer is being able to get around the beautiful
state of Montana and shoot. Without a car you will be relying on rides from friends, which can cut
into your freedom of movement.
What kind of photography can I explore during SI?
Photographers of any interest find subject matter in the Missoula area. Nature and landscape photography
is an obvious draw with the dramatic surroundings, but so are photojournalism, portraiture, wildlife,
fine art and macro work. You will have assignments that can serve these and any other subjects.
What kind of equipment and supplies do I need?
See the enclosed equipment checklist. A complete Equipment and Supplies List will be available to
students who have completed the enrollment process. Additional equipment updates will be provided
prior to the start of the program.
Do I need to shoot with a digital camera during SI?
Yes, you will need a digital SLR camera that takes interchangeable lenses. Most students will elect
to use a digital SLR, but the new mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera that have a hot shoe are
Can I shoot with a film camera during SI?
We welcome you to shoot with a film camera during SI for your own enjoyment. However, all assignments
are to be completed with a digital camera.
Can I shoot with a medium or large format camera during SI?
Yes. If you have a digital medium format camera, you are welcome to use it for assignments. If you’d
like to shoot with a medium format film camera and/or a large format film camera, please feel free to
do so for your own enjoyment. However, all assignments are to be completed with a digital SLR camera.
Will I work in the black and white darkroom during SI?
No, SI does not include any work in the black and white darkroom. Although historically we have taught
the fundamentals of photography using the black and white darkroom, digital technology provides a
tremendous opportunity to accelerate the learning process. We see digital photography as a complete
process - from the decisions we make at the moment of capture all the way through printing our
image, it can enhance our original vision and provide unparalleled opportunities for creativity.
Will I learn digital image editing during SI?
Yes, you’ll begin learning image editing right away. This class covers digital editing and image management
using Adobe Lightroom®
. For a comprehensive education about how
to operate professionally in the digital environment, we recommend Advanced Intensive (AI).
AI runs from September 23 through October 31. Check rmsp.com
us a call or refer to your RMSP 2013 catalog for details.
Do I need to bring my computer?
Yes. When you shoot digitally you need to have a laptop computer. We require students to bring laptops
and use them when working in our digital labs. Working on your own computer enables you to set up and
use your professional workspace and workflow in class with assistance from our staff. In general we
recommend bringing all digital photography/imaging equipment you already own—you never know what you'll
want to do with 11 weeks of nothing but photography!
How much will I be able to focus on my area of interest?
We design SI so that you have as broad an experience and overview of photography as possible. While some
students enter the program knowing what area of photography they ultimately want to work in, there are
many that make that decision during the summer. And many students change their minds about what type of
photography they like best after they are exposed to the many exciting options! We recommend that
students approach the summer with an open mind. You may find that you will work in more than one area
of photography in your professional life. To be sure, most assignments in SI can be completed using
any subject matter you find compelling. In the next step of the program, Professional Studies, you’ll
be able to focus completely on one or more particular fields. These are five-day courses on wedding,
portraiture, food and product, editorial, active lifestyle, nature and documentary photography that are
offered after SI ends with a week break in between. Advanced Intensive, the third step in your education,
teaches you to work professionally in the digital environment and allows you the time and support to
begin building a portfolio in your area(s) of interest, in addition to helping you define your marketing plan.