Intro to Bird Photography

January 21, 2021 - February 04, 2021

This class is taught online only. RMSP uses Zoom for online education. We limit enrollment in online courses to ensure there is time for students to ask questions. Time will not be spent learning Zoom in class so we recommend familiarizing yourself with the platform prior to starting class. Click here to download the Zoom app on your computer. A Meeting ID number and password will be emailed to all registered students before the first class session. If you have not received login instructions 24 hours before the first class session, please email

Class sessions are live and are not recorded for later viewing. Please click "Schedule" for specific dates and times.

Birds are some of the most appealing creatures to photograph, but they can also be some of the trickiest. Many of them are tiny, they move quickly, and their behavior can seem almost unpredictable. In this class, you’ll learn basic observational and photographic strategies to help you get the most from your time in the field or in your backyard.

Observational topics:
  • Where to look for birds
  • How to observe more carefully
  • How to decode bird behavior
  • Identification skills
  • Tips and tricks for identifying new species
Photographic topics:
  • Cameras and lenses that are best for bird photography
  • Photographing birds that are stationary and in flight
  • Tripods – how to use, when they’re needed and when they’re not
  • Different ways of exposing

You’ll also have a chance to put what you learn into practice and get feedback on your work; the final session is primarily critique of student-submitted images.

You should come to this class with a basic understanding of exposure. If you’re still shooting on Auto or simply want a great refresher, check out our YouTube video Photography Basics: Part I – Understanding Exposure.


This online class will meet on the following dates and at the following times:
  • Thursday, January 21: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time - Zoom session
  • Thursday, January 28: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time - Zoom session
  • Thursday, February 4: 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time - Zoom session


Headphones or earbuds are strongly recommended for the purpose of minimizing audio feedback during the online class sessions.

Please feel free to contact us either by phone or email with any further questions you may have. We look forward to welcoming you to an RMSP Online Course!

Cancellation Policy

For Online Courses, tuition will be refunded in full if you notify RMSP at least two business days (48 hours) before the course begins. If you notify RMSP fewer than two business days prior to the course start date, full tuition is retained by RMSP.

This course is FULL. If you would like to be placed on a wait-list, please call us at 800-394-7677.


Neil Chaput de Saintonge
Neil Chaput de Saintonge, a former junior high science teacher, has taught photography for almost 50 years, to over 20,000 students. In that time, he has taught classes and workshops in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. He is well-known for his enthusiasm, technical knowledge and love of teaching. In 1973, Neil studied under Ansel Adams. In Professional Intensive, Summer Intensive and Workshops, Neil lectures, critiques student work, and meets one-on-one with students to talk about cameras and lenses, and - most importantly - he helps them find their own path in photography. Neil’s photography interests include ballet, documentary, people, landscape and fine art. In 1979, Neil founded the Southeastern Center for the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, a two-year school that trained students for careers in graphic arts and photography. After vacationing in Montana in 1988, Neil and his wife Jeanne moved to Missoula and started Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Neil has also been a licensed massage therapist for 30 years, is a Reiki Master and teaches healing work.
Drew Lefebvre

Drew Lefebvre is a naturalist, birder, and general outdoor-enthusiast, and she holds an MS in Environmental Education from the University of Montana. She has led a variety of adult education programs, including citizen science, natural history, and trail work crews, and currently works as the Museum Programs Coordinator at the Montana Natural History Center. She enjoys guiding students toward a deeper understanding of the outdoor areas and ecosystems that are right on our doorstep.

Perks of Registering

EDU Advantage Program

By registering and completing any course with us, you will automatically be eligible for EDU status with B&H Photo. EDU members can save money on select items sold by B&H.

Creative Cloud Subscription

The software you use in your workflow is almost as crucial as your camera. Register for any RMSP course and you will receive a code to save 15% on a Adobe Creative Cloud subscription for the first year.

What Gear Do You Need?

Want a specific lens for a workshop? Need some extra gear for your next shoot? Renting gear from Lens Pro To Go allows you to try before you buy! Upon registering for a course, you will receive a discount code for 10% off your next rental.