WHO WE ARE

Welcome to Rocky Mountain School of Photography. We're more than just a school — we're a family. Our love for photography and education is the bedrock our program was built upon. Inspired by his own experience as a student of Ansel Adams, Neil Chaput de Saintonge and his wife, Jeanne, first opened RMSP's doors in 1989.

Our mission? To offer the best photography education in the industry.

For nearly 30 years, we've been helping students pursue their dreams and fall in love with light at our historic downtown campus in Missoula, Montana. Everyone in our community is a photographer, including our entire office staff.

We'd tell you we're one-of-a-kind, but you should probably just come see for yourself. When it comes to friendliness, a supportive learning environment, and instructors who will inspire your socks off, there's no better place to study photography.

WE CREATE EXPERIENCES

RMSP is built on people who care. We care about photography, photographers, and photographs.
Neil Chaput de Saintonge
Co-owner / Founder / Core Instructor
There are only a handful of people in the world who can say they studied photography under a guy named Ansel Adams. Neil Chaput de Saintonge is one of them. After teaching and running photography schools in Atlanta, GA for about ten years, Neil and his wife Jeanne decided to pack up the U-Haul and head West. In 1989 they landed in Missoula, MT, where they created RMSP. Neil is a Reiki Master, too.
Photo Interests
Documentary, Dance, Birds
Jeanne Chaput de Saintonge
Co-owner / Founder / Business Manager
Simply stated, Jeanne has been involved in anything and everything that has happened at RMSP since its inception. In a time before RMSP existed, Jeanne graduated from Florida State University where she majored in English. After marrying Neil, the two decided to pack it up and make the move to Montana. She now works as the school's logistics, business and finance guru.
Photo Interests
Neil's photos, Forest's photos, Sarah's photos
Forest Chaput de Saintonge
School Director / Core Instructor
Forest not only grew up in the world of photography, but he did so right here in the office at RMSP. Son of RMSP founders, Forest now runs the school with his wife, Sarah and spends a lot of time growing our YouTube channel, too. He is an Adobe Certified Expert and Lightroom master, holds a B.A. in Astrophysics from the University of Montana, and enjoys working in his shop, flying helicopters, petting cats, and playing video games with Tony and Andrew.
Photo Interests
Astrophotography, Landscape, Night Photography
Website
Sarah Chaput de Saintonge
School Director / Core Instructor
With her hands in a little bit of everything at RMSP, Sarah helps ensure happy student experiences and runs the school with her husband, Forest. An apparent lover of cold climates, wide spaces and wild places, Sarah moved to Montana from Alaska to attend RMSP's former Career Training program and to earn a B.A. in Photojournalism from UM. She likes reading philosophical books, documenting her life, having lunch with friends, baking, eating, the movie Hot Rod, and petting cats.
Photo Interests
Portraiture, Self-Portraiture, Documentary/Lifestyle
Website
Bob McGowan
Student Services Associate
Because he's the first voice you speak to at RMSP, you already know Bob's wonderful, but rather than type a bunch of words to describe how great he is, we can just sum it up with one title he earned in 2015: Downtown Missoula Volunteer of the Year. In a town like Missoula, where you can't swing a kayak without hitting a nice person, this well-deserved title really packs a punch! Along with being a graduate of the 2004 class of Summer Intensive, he is also a SoCal native, lover of craft beer and enjoyer of life.
Photo Interests
Awesome moments with friends, Natural moments that catch his eye, Everything in between
Tony Rix
IT Specialist
If he's not hiking around Glacier National Park, he's in front of a computer. If he's not paddling his kayak around a lake in western Montana, he's in front of a computer. If he's not at the gym, he's playing video games with Forest... in front of a computer. With degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Information Technology, Tony is the smartest person on our staff and is responsible for maintaining all of RMSP's digital systems. He is a Wisconsin native and a graduate of RMSP's 2008 class of our former Career Training program.
Photo Interests
Landscape, Wildlife, Active Lifestyle
Website
Jeff McLain
Staff Instructor
Jeff is the most efficient person we've ever known. He can usually be found cutting together three videos at once, while also planning for classes and designing understandable Photoshop handouts. As our studio lighting and Photoshop instructor, his brain is as big as his heart for teaching, and he helps make advanced topics relatable. When not at RMSP, you will find him strumming his banjo with his bluegrass bandmates, filming Missoula's weddings with his wife, Meredith, or hanging out with his son, Judah.
Photo Interests
Architecture & Interiors, Product Photography, Humorous Composites, Video, and Sound Capture
Website
Jessica Carter
Program Director / Core Instructor
Jessica is a master of spreadsheets, brainstorming, and details and is the reason our programs run efficiently. As a full-hearted nature lover, she's a collector of experiences: she has worked with NASA, attended a Star Trek convention, lived in a one-room log cabin, and had wild birds perch on her hands, shoulders, and head - just to name a few. She's a 2017 Summer Intensive graduate, and her favorite moments are laughing with her friends, curling up with her cats, connecting with nature, and helping others succeed.
Photo Interests
Nature and Wildlife, Documentary, Abstract
Zoé Ammondson
Staff Extrovert
A Missoula native, Zoé came to us from the music and coffee industry. With a passion for making you smile, Zoé is our Staff Extrovert. He is the go-to people-person at the office, helping you decide whether RMSP is the perfect choice for you. He recently moved back from Seattle, WA, where he was making music full time. You can usually find him not laughing at Bob's dad jokes, consuming way too much coffee, or making memes for instagram.
Interests
Music, Third Wave Coffee, and Grilled Cheese
Quinn Hegwood
Social Media Manager
You already know Quinn, actually, because she is the person you see when you watch our Instagram stories! Or, if you live in Missoula, you've probably already attended one of her Adult Education courses. She's the catch-all here at the school, ready and able to respond to emails, design sick swag, or simply just make us laugh. A 2015 RMSP graduate and new mom, she's always busy taking rad photos of her baby, picking Cheerios out of her hair, or letting Sarah carry her child.
Photo Interests
Babies, Toddlers, Grown-Ups
Marcy James
Core Instructor
Marcy James is a fine art documentary photographer who began teaching for RMSP during the old wet processing days. Marcy received her MFA from the University of Montana in 2005 and has taught for both the University of Montana's School of Art as well as Rocky Mountain School of Photography where her focus has involved working with wet processes, visual studies, working in long projects and portfolio development.
Website
Doug Johnson
Core Instructor
Doug Johnson is a Colorado native now living in Missoula, Montana. Before a life-changing pursuit of photographic art, he was an outdoor educator for more than 20 years. His educational philosophy is fun, intuitive and full of creative persistence. No matter where you are in your photographic journey, Doug's balance of the aesthetic with the technical can help you further express your unique vision.
Website
Mary Brunst
Core Instructor
Mary Brunst, a portrait, wedding and editorial photographer, considers herself to be a smile-loving, adventurous soul. She is a go-getter, big dreamer, and a messy perfectionist. She is a 2010 Graduate of RMSP's Career Training Program and worked as a Summer Intensive teaching assistant in 2011. Mary finds sharing her passion for photography with others both fun and rewarding.
Website
Mike Tittel
Core Instructor
Mike Tittel admits an obsession with all-things photography. His zeal for the craft and technical side of photography is equally matched by his love for running a business and working as a team with other creative professionals to create visually stunning work. When Mike isn't working on location or in the office, you'll find him rippin' single-track, skiing powder, or spending quality time with his wife and two kiddos.
Website
Rob Gappert
Core Instructor
Rob Gappert is a landscape and nature photographer. He grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota but now calls Missoula home. Rob enjoys the outdoors and has been shooting landscapes for the better part of 15 years. He loves to travel with his family and is a self-proclaimed “National Park Junkie”. Rob is a 2015 Summer Intensive graduate and loves to share his passion for the art.
Website
Ben Ferencz
Core Instructor
Ben Ferencz is an art director/graphic designer originally from New York. His work can be seen incorporated into the graphic communications of such brands as MoMA, Yves Saint Laurent, Phaidon, Gucci, MTV, Reebok, Pepsi, Adventure Cycling, Montana Art Museum and The University of Montana. He is the founder and creative director of The Design Cooperative.

Our Philosophy

We're not just a school. We're a family. Our passion for photography brings us together, and our commitment to helping you discover and achieve your vision is our reason for being.

Our Hometown

There's a reason people visit Missoula, MT and never want to leave. Nestled in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains, the town offers a lively art scene and easy access to awe-inspiring wilderness. In addition to photo studios and historic classrooms, RMSP's campus includes Yellowstone and Glacier national parks as well as the rivers, lakes, mountains, endless trails, and alluring natural light that make it one of the best places in the world to learn photography.

Our Culture

Everyone is welcome at RMSP. Whether you're picking up a camera for the first time or eager to launch your photography business, our experienced instructors provide a hands-on, collaborative learning environment where you are encouraged to explore and create. At our school, you are your only competition.

Missoula, Montana

When people think of Montana, they often think big sky country, vast open horizons and starry night skies. Blue ribbon trout streams and world-class ski hills. Horses, wheat fields and cowboys. What some people might not realize is that we're also home to the finest state-sized professional photography “studio” in America.

Our vibrant mountain town—the famous setting of Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It—is situated at the confluence of three rivers and five valleys. We're also surrounded by seven wilderness areas, which makes for an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Our western landscape is rich with history, from railroad-era buildings and architecture to picturesque ranches, old mining communities, ghost towns and forest service lookouts. The Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge and Ninepipes National Wildlife Refuge, both easy day trips, offer spectacular opportunities to spot birds and other wildlife against the mesmerizing backdrop of the jagged Bitterroot Mountains or majestic Mission Mountain range.

Missoula is also western Montana's thriving hub for the creative arts. There's no shortage of art galleries and studios within walking distance of RMSP's downtown campus. If you love music, the newly renovated Wilma Theater consistently attracts top artists and performers. If you love written and spoken words, there are always great readings happening around town. Missoula has an eclectic mix of restaurants, a thriving community of small businesses and nonprofits, an independent movie theater, its own celebrated coffee roaster, and fun-loving residents who will make you feel instantly at home.

There's also an extraordinary quality to the light in Montana. The high altitude, long summer days, stunning topography and rich palette of colors and textures make this one of the best places in the world to study photography, no matter the time of year. In the summer, you can hit the rivers, mountains and endless trails with more than 16 hours of daylight on your hands and return from your adventures to enjoy three farmer's markets and countless festivities around town. In spring, nothing's more breathtaking than witnessing the natural world wake from slumber as the ice melts and blooming wildflowers paint the hillsides. In the fall, you might travel to scenic Glacier or Yellowstone national parks to capture the seasons' changing foliage, visit one of the region's farms for apple cider pressing at a harvest gathering, or participate in Missoulians' favorite festival of the year, the Mexican-inspired Day of the Dead. There's an absurd wealth of photographic opportunity right at our doorstep. Oh, and winter in Montana is simply magical. Imagine skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing in still woods through crystalline snow, then soaking in one of the natural hot springs scattered throughout the region to warm up. There's nothing to be afraid of when it comes to a Montana winter — just remember to pack your parka!

All in all, we're in an unbeatable location for the avid photographer. It's no wonder so many of our students want to study photography with us, and it's also no wonder so many of them never want to leave.

Our Facilities

In the heart of historic downtown Missoula, Montana, you'll find RMSP world headquarters in the 120-year-old Higgins Building. Behind the doors of 216 N. Higgins Avenue you will find our classrooms (including a rock-arched room affectionately known as “The Quarry”), computer labs, a state-of-the-art print lab, and our staff offices. Our classrooms and labs feature the latest versions of Adobe® software, quality printers, and advanced instructional tools. Our studio gear, including Profoto lights and Manfrotto accessories, is current and proven by professionals in the field.

Amid a lively, walkable medley of coffee shops, theaters, restaurants, parks, watering holes, mountains, and rivers, we think you'll find both our facilities and our home state a vibrant, welcoming place to learn photography.

Rocky Mountain School of Photography is grateful to our Education Partners who give products, discounts, or support to our students.

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