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.
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'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.