Establishing a photography career
is really, really HARD.
That's why we're here.
That's why we've built a brand new program.
September 5, 2017 through May 11, 2018
Professional Intensive is at the forefront of technology and technique. Our eight-month flagship program will set you apart and give you the edge you need to succeed as a professional photographer. You'll learn how to bring your creative vision to life, develop an exceptional foundation in photography skills, and leave with a professionally critiqued portfolio and a practical business plan. Then, your own passion and determination will put it all into effect.
Establishing a photography career is really, really hard. It requires dedication and drive to break into the photographic market with success. This program is the fastest route to getting you started. If you think you've got what it takes to be a pro, Professional Intensive is for you.
Professional Intensive Curriculum
Expert Camera Skills
Composition & Aesthetics
Advanced Image Editing
Archival Photo Printing
Developing Your Vision
Marketing & Branding
Creating a Business Plan
Finances & Accounting
Estimates & Contracts
What Buyers Want
Websites & Blogs
Social Media Marketing
Instructor & Peer Critiques
Multimedia & Videography
Storytelling & Interviewing
At RMSP, you'll live, breathe, and dream photography for eight of the most incredible months of your life. Our method? Full immersion. The result? Your mastery of the craft. Our curriculum starts at square one, where everyone gains a foundation in the basics, and evolves toward more specialized learning that suits your professional goals.
Phase Iis all about fundamentals: of cameras, editing, lighting, flash, composition, creativity, output, business, and marketing.
Phase IIfocuses on skills-development in the two industries that employ photographers: retail and commercial photography. You'll learn how to work with clients shooting everything from weddings to family portraits, and with companies shooting everything from fashion and lifestyle to advertising and products.
Phase IIIis all about becoming a professional. At this point, you've built your foundation and it's time to practice your new knowledge and skills with the pros. During what we call Breakout Weeks, guest instructors from the industry will teach you how to craft beautiful images, help you plan your business, and share secrets about how to stay afloat in the world of professional photography. In between the Breakout Weeks, you will continue perfecting photographic and business skills.
Our mission?It's simple. We're here to train you how to succeed.
Photographic Studies is where you master your most important tools. You'll learn how to use and control your DSLR, including how shutter speeds, f-stops, ISO and color balance affect your images. You'll familiarize yourself with lenses, tripods, and the latest in photographic technology. Instructors will also assist during field shoots as you experiment with different techniques and gain confidence. No matter your skill level, we'll help you cement the basics.
Lighting is elemental. Great photographers know how to master light in all of its variations and forms. This course teaches you everything from the fundamentals of seeing light to how to work with both natural and artificial lighting, as well as specialty techniques for shooting professional portrait, adventure, food and product images both inside and out. You'll become proficient in your knowledge of the speedlights, strobes, and modifiers that will set you apart in the trade.
Image Editing is where we bring the magic of photography to life. Using the top software in the industry, instructors will teach you how to turn a good image into an exceptional one. From proper storage techniques and proven workflows to fine-tuning raw photos and high-end image manipulation, this course covers everything you need to know. Using the latest versions of Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop and Capture One Pro, you'll learn how to correct, perfect, improve and augment your images. Through follow-along instruction and one-on-one lab time, you'll master techniques for capturing, protecting, processing, and maximizing every image to the highest professional standards.
Business Studies is vital. To make it as a photographer, you need to know how to run a business. In this class you'll learn everything from how to write a business plan to understanding business costs and how to work with clients. You'll learn about pricing, contracts, licensing, and copyrights. These are the skills that take years to acquire on your own. Let RMSP instructors show you how to get things right the first time around.
Visual Studies is all about perception. You'll consider the history and evolution of photography and think critically about composition, story, perspective, and style. You'll learn to identify the qualities of extraordinary images through interactive critiques with your group. You'll also pursue your unique vision and discover how best to express it.
Marketing is where you learn how to differentiate yourself. The internet and social media have been game-changers when it comes to photography, and you need to discover what makes you stand out from the crowd. You will learn how to effectively promote your work, create your brand, and use the best outreach tools available, whether it's social media, a blog, online publishing or your own website.
Output is what separates the pros from amateurs. This is where you'll learn how to get your work into the world and practice the many decisions you'll make when it comes to printing, publication or posting online. Discover how to create a workflow for perfect color accuracy every time and how to be intentional when it comes to where you share your work. With one-on-one assistance from your instructor, you'll be producing razor sharp, gorgeous prints in our state-of-the-art lab and sharing your work in a way that generates interest.
Genre Studies is where you explore what interests you most. Maybe it's portraiture, sports, performance or architecture. Perhaps you're drawn to conceptual photography, weddings, food, or editorial. Whatever you choose, you'll engage in lectures and discussions and work with some of the most accomplished professionals in the field as you get a feel for possibilities and styles.
Video is increasingly in demand. Knowing how to produce great videography provides photographers with a wider range of income opportunities. We'll give you a crash course in the latest in multimedia, including how to see in sequences and utilize audio and stabilizing equipment to create compelling videos and time-lapse imagery from scratch. You'll also engage in video critiques and a final group video project.
Shoots are the reason we love photography. These sessions are held mostly outdoors, where you'll practice the skills you've learned in previous classes with an emphasis on achieving perfect exposures, lighting on location, and receiving feedback in the field. You'll have the opportunity to do all kinds of shoots: collaborative, individual, instructor-led, or assignment-driven.
Breakout Weeks are week-long immersions in specific genres. These shoots, critiques and specialized lectures are taught by successful, industry-savvy pros who are here to help you master the necessary skills for photography's different fields. You'll choose between portrait and architecture, fashion and food/product, and wedding and adventure/lifestyle. For three additional weeks, you'll also get to know video, conceptual, and stock photography from corresponding specialists.
We recognize that becoming a professional photographer requires much more than photographic skill and knowledge. For this reason, we crafted the Professional Intensive curriculum to include an even distribution of photographic, lighting, business, and marketing skills professionals need in order to be successful in today's market. Below is an estimation of the percentage of time spent in each of the Professional Intensive core courses.
Professional Intensive Exit Competencies: What will PI graduates actually know?
Throughout 36 weeks, there is a lot of time for lectures, assignments, shoots, homework, fun, learning and community, but what specifically will you leave Professional Intensive knowing? Click below to see the Professional Intensive Exit Competencies for a list of what Professional Intensive students will have learned upon graduation. It must also be noted that this lists only the advanced topics. The basic skills a student needs to understand these advanced concepts will also be covered thoroughly.
Professional Intensive students will learn the ins and outs of both retail and commercial photography. That means graduates leave with twice the job opportunities.
What is Retail Photography?
Retail photography encompasses genres in which photographers create memories or document events for individual people.
What is Commercial Photography?
Commercial photography encompasses genres in which photographers create images that help sell a product or service for a business or agency.
Architecture & Interiors
Advertising & Product
Adventure & Lifestyle
Fashion & Glamour
Celebrity & Band
A Week in the Life
Phase 1: Example Week
|Morning:||Exp. IV: The Zone System|
|Afternoon:||Zone: Practice Shoot|
|Evening:||Lighting: Practice Shoot|
|Morning:||Lightroom VI: Advanced Develop Module|
|Afternoon:||Design IV: Seeing in Color|
|Morning:||Output: Inkjet Printing I|
|Afternoon:||Landscape Photography I|
|Morning:||Business I: Setting Up Shop|
|Afternoon:||Output: Print Lab|
|Evening:||Landscape: Practice Shoot|
|Afternoon:||Augmenting Available Light: Photo Shoot Mixer|
|Evening:||Landscape: Practice Shoot|
Phase 2: What It Includes
|During Phase II, you'll apply the foundational knowledge you learned in Phase I to retail and commercial photography. You'll learn business and creative techniques from full-time professional photographers, filling your days with lectures, demos, shoots and labs.|
Phase 3: Example Week
|Morning:||Intro to Conceptual Photography|
|Afternoon:||Developing a Guide for your Creativity|
|Morning:||Inspiration + Image Creation Techniques|
|Afternoon:||Photo Idea Crafting: Visualization, Mood Boards, Organization of Ideas|
|Evening:||Creating a Time-based Project|
|Morning:||8 Light Directions that Tell a Story: Circular Lighting Technique|
|Afternoon:||Fine Art Conceptual Shoot|
|Morning:||Shooting for Book + Album Covers: Shoot Organization + Brainstorming|
|Afternoon:||Book + Album Cover Shoot|
|Evening:||Edit: Retouching, Image Expansion, Compositing|
|Morning:||Edit: Creating Atmosphere, Real vs Surreal|
|Afternoon:||Social Media: Frequency, Engagement, Arranging Content|
Accelerate Your Education
As is true of most things in life, what you'll get out of your RMSP experience depends on what you bring to it. The challenges of becoming a professional photographer are real. Extremely real. But, so are the rewards. The right combination of motivation and instruction is your entry-ticket when it comes to earning a living as a photographer, and the only way to achieve success is to learn from those who live and work as professionals. Some four-year colleges and academic professors are too far removed from the living, breathing, rapidly evolving world of photography. When it comes down to it, college usually isn't going to help you get where you need to go with a career in retail or commercial photography.
At RMSP, our instructors either specialize in excellent instruction or make a living off of their photography. Our program is the most comprehensive in the industry, where you attain essential information and technical skills in the least amount of time. Upon graduating, our students are ready to take what they've learned and implement it to build a career. Sound enticing? When you factor in the cost of our program compared with what you'd spend earning a four-year degree, it's a no-brainer.
You could take it upon yourself to learn online, from books, or attend seminars and workshops and piece it all together. But why bother? RMSP instructors already have the skills and information you need and know how to present them in ways that make sense the first time around. Don't waste time and energy trying to learn the ropes on your own when you could be focused on gaining speed.
2015 Career Training Graduate
From: Snowmass, CO
Now lives: Portland, OR
27 years old
Q: What led you to RMSP?
A:So I was a hobby photographer for the most part. I was in the Coast Guard and I traveled a lot and had a camera that I would shoot on port calls. When I got out of the Coast Guard I thought, well, I don't want to work for anyone again, I want to have my own business. I went to art school and studied film and media art and realized that none of it mattered. In my opinion a 4-year art program does nothing for you as a photographer; all it does is delay you in getting to work. There's nothing that can help you develop a portfolio like hard work, and I was looking for a program that could help me get there as fast as I could. I had been looking at RMSP for a couple years before I went, and then I thought, why did I wait so long?
Q: As a professional photographer, how did RMSP help you?
A:I came to RMSP with an open mind, because I'd never worked as a professional creative. Never, nothing in the media world – video, photography – and I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew what I liked doing. I thought I wanted to do wildlife and outdoor photography, because that's what I like, but the instructors helped guide me by giving me more background knowledge. RMSP definitely gave me more of a sense of direction. The outdoor industry is not very lucrative and extremely competitive. Right now I do commercial advertising and stock.
Q: What advice do you have about becoming a professional photographer?
A:Being a pro photographer is super hard. I wish I had gotten into it when I was right out of high school. The ones who started when they were 18 or 19 years old are so far ahead of me. They're killing it. They've already got great careers.
It takes all four years at college to learn what you learn at one summer at RMSP, and that's technically speaking, that's not getting into the creative side.
You have to assert yourself in an industry that doesn't want you. There is not a need for more photographers. You have to make a lot of noise, do things differently, and make yourself stand out. You have to actually push yourself really hard when you first start out. But it's super rewarding. Everything you put into it, every ounce of your effort is always shown. Every victory is due to your hard work, and every failure is due to what you did wrong. If you enjoy learning from your successes, it's extremely rewarding. And it's awesome, you get to travel around and take pictures for a living.
Q: Did you ever think about trying to learn photography on your own?
A:You can teach yourself photography, sure. But how much time are you willing to screw around learning the basic skills, the basic skills, before you can go out and do what you want to do? You can read books and all that. But if you're making a life change, a career change, and you're just getting into it, when you've got bills to pay, it's so much better to go to school for X amount of time and learn, and then you're ready to go as soon as you leave. Or you could try to watch, like, 700 YouTube videos and figure it out… there's something to be said for quick learning. But when you're immersed in a program where you have everything at your fingertips, you're going to learn exponentially faster. And you'll learn the proper way. Especially with lighting. If you need to learn lighting, are you going to go down to the rental house, rent five lights, set them up in the living room and try to figure out what you're doing? You'll get so frustrated. But when you're with an instructor, you gain a deep understanding of what you're doing, in a studio space.
Q: What are the most important things you learned from RMSP?
A:You always hear, oh it's impossible, the industry sucks. But there are also more images floating around now than ever, and people are paying for those images, so it's definitely doable. If you make a full-blown commitment, you will succeed. Those who don't succeed, it's because they're not fully committed. You can't expect to come to school and leave with a piece of paper that says you went to RMSP. Nobody cares. You can't lean on anything but your work. All the industry cares about is the fact that your work is great. People who show up thinking it's going to be some kind of a crutch, a certificate of completion – that's not how it works.
RMSP gave me the confidence to just start shooting and make a living out of it. If I gained one thing from the program it's that it gives you the confidence you need to make it as a professional photographer.
Emphasis On Technical Skills
Without the technical mastery and precision that deliver outstanding results, the effort you've put into your photography business won't matter. Plenty of photographers take good photos, but very few know how to create and produce exceptional work that will stand out in a saturated marketplace. Some professionals simply wing it, unsure what they're doing with their cameras and why. Not RMSP graduates. You'll develop a technical foundation so strong it's ingrained. This is the reason RMSP requires that students take every foundational class, and why every student must become well versed in both commercial and retail photography. Being comfortably tech-savvy during a shoot means you can focus on what really matters: creativity and style.
Every Professional Intensive student will also graduate as a Phase One Certified Professional (POCP), which makes a huge difference for students wanting jobs as digital techs, studio assistants, or commercial photographers. Each student will also receive a complimentary copy of Capture One Pro 10 installed on their laptop.
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.
Gabriel Biderman has been exploring the night topography for over 20 years. Using film and digital, he blends the surreal look of the night to enhance historic and urban landscapes. Biderman’s work has been exhibited in NY, London, San Francisco, and Hawaii and he is the author of the recently released book Night Photography – From Snapshots to Great Shots. To learn more about Gabriel visit ruinism.com
Jesse Boone founded Finest Moments Photography in Cleveland 11 years ago and now operates Jesse & Nelli, a boutique wedding studio along with his wife. Weddings have been the primary focus of his photography business for over a decade. Combining an upscale client experience with an artistic, photojournalistic style elevated his studio to one of the most sought after options in his area. Jesse and his wife have been commissioned to photograph weddings in amazing locations such as Sonoma, New York City and Mexico. From private estates, to vineyards, to oceanside celebrations, Jesse aims to capture the natural emotion and joy of each event focusing on natural interaction, relationships and great lighting. As a full-service studio, they create beautiful albums and wall art as timeless heirlooms for their clients. Their work has been featured in publications including the Wedding Channel, The Knot, Brides and Grooms, Rocky Mountain Bride, Photo District News, Destination I Do and Costco Connection. In the photography industry, Jesse has appeared on Shutter Network for his expertise in the business aspect of wedding photography. He is also creator of the Photo Gift Registry and SnapShotBot. For Jesse and Nelli, family is the most important thing. Today Jesse primarily enjoys helping photographers build successful lifestyle businesses that provide freedom for travel, adventure and maximum family involvement.
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. Photography for her is a way to focus on what is good and to cherish some of life’s happiest moments. Mary loves getting to document life as it happens, creating images that reflect real life in a genuine and uncontrived way. She strives to create images that radiate authenticity and reflect the true personalities of those she is photographing. 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. She currently resides in Westminster, Maryland. Her work has been featured on The Knot, Grey Likes Weddings, United with Love, Mountainside Bride, Charm City Wed, Bayside Bride and other wedding blogs & publications.
Forest Chaput de Saintonge
Forest Chaput de Saintonge directs Rocky Mountain School of Photography with his wife, Sarah. He has been immersed in photography since he was born. He grew up in Missoula and began taking photos with an SLR when he was seven years old. He started working for Rocky Mountain School of Photography at age 13. During his free time, he likes to become a master at new things, build stuff, run, hike, bike, photograph, and be an amateur astronomer. Forest has a BA in Astrophysics, just because. He really enjoys teaching and loves to help students understand concepts thoroughly. Forest has vast experience working with and teaching Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and has worked many hours in the black and white darkroom.
Neil Chaput de Saintonge
Neil Chaput de Saintonge, a former junior high science teacher, has been teaching photography for more than 40 years. In that time, he has taught thousands of students in 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. 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 massage therapist for 30 years, is a Reiki Master and teaches healing work.
Sarah Chaput de Saintonge
Sarah Chaput de Saintonge has seriously loved photography for about seven years and has experimented with many genres in her own work. She attended Career Training in 2011 and has worked as an assistant and instructor since. Sarah graduated with a degree in photojournalism from the University of Montana. She enjoys portraiture, self-portraiture and anything else that involves gorgeous natural light. She loves all Adobe software and loves helping students learn it too. She also loves film photography. She grew up in a small town in Alaska, but now lives in Missoula with Forest and their crazy cats, Apollo and Pepe.
Tim Cooper began his career as a commercial and assignment photographer working with clients such as The North Face, Vasque, 3M and The International Heart Institute of Montana. His editorial and commercial photographs have appeared in Travel and Leisure, The New York Times Magazine, Outdoor Photographer, Fly Rod and Reel, Northern Lights and Private Clubs as covers, advertising, art and editorial illustration. Tim now spends most of his time as an educator and writer, lecturing on photographic and digital imaging technologies. Tim has been the consultant and technical editor for many digital imaging books as well as the co-author of the book, Complete Photoshop® CS4 for Digital Photographers, as well as Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots with Gabriel Biderman. In his spare time, he continues his pursuit of fine art photography of the natural world.
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. With his wife, Julie, and daughter, Evelyn, Ben resides in St. Ignatius, Montana, where he continues to design and farm. He is the founder and creative director of The Design Cooperative.
Judy Herrmann of Herrmann + Starke, creates imagery for advertising, editorial, and corporate clients. A past president of ASMP, an Olympus Visionary, and recipient of the United Nations IPC Leadership Award, Judy was named one of eleven “photographers you should know” by Rangefinder Magazine. Her inspiring seminars on photography and business have helped thousands of photographers. Through one-on-one consultations and her blog, www.2goodthings.com, she helps people grow creative and financially rewarding businesses.
Marcy James is a fine art documentary photographer who began teaching for RMSP during the old wet processing days when her passion was building pinhole cameras and working with antiquarian photo processes. Today, she has merged antiquarian methods with digital technology and has a special love for exploring the importance and potential with how our images live in the world regardless of whether we are presenting our work through the web or with exhibitions.
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. Marcy developed her photography through a myriad of jobs including working for CBS News and Television in London and Los Angeles, freelancing as an architectural photographer and photojournalist and owning a successful portrait studio.
In addition to teaching for RMSP, Marcy served the school as their Director of Education for seven years where she designed curriculum and coordinated classes for both our Career Training Program as well as our Workshops. As an artist, Marcy has exhibited nationally and her work has been featured in several publications over the years. Today, if she’s not out walking the hills of Missoula with her family, you will find her photographing in her favorite fictional landscape, No Mans Land.
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, passionately teaching people backcountry skills in navigation, mountaineering, avalanche awareness and wilderness first aid. Since graduating from RMSP’s Summer Intensive program in 1996, Doug’s work has covered many diverse projects in the documentary, commercial, fine art and educational fields. Assignments have taken him from coyote shooting in Wyoming to the last stages of a woman’s life to the graffiti-covered alleys and abandoned buildings of Denver. He is currently involved in an ongoing project called Art Music, which fuses the art of photography with live musical performance. 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.
Wes Kroninger is well known for his inventive editorial and beauty portraiture—cleanly lit images with a vitality and vibrancy that impacts viewers immediately. Kroninger has been a full time photographer since 2003 and in that time his work has gained national exposure, in publications including American Salon, Rolling Stone, Modern Salon, Rangefinder, Studio Photography, Banking Investor Magazine, Long Beach Magazine, Travel and Leisure Golf and a wide range of trade publications. He has worked with a broad range of commercial clients like Home Depot, Stanford Eagle, AVEDA as well as numerous salon and beauty industry clients across the country. In the photography industry, Kroninger has also been recognized for his work as an instructor, leading an extremely successful platform class at the 2009 WPPI convention in Las Vegas, where he shared some of the secrets of his elegantly lit beauty images. He is also a contributor to Pro Photo Resource, a popular on-line resource for professional photographers. Kroninger’s first book Lighting: Design Techniques for Digital Photographers, exploring the creative and technical aspects of photographic lighting is now on shelves.
Jeff McLain is a photographer, videographer, and digital technician. He splits his time between Missoula, San Francisco and L.A.
After his photography education, Jeff got his start as a freelance photo assistant in San Francisco working on editorial, catalog and advertising shoots. His skills in Photoshop and computing allowed him to help photographers bridge the gap between the film days and all-digital workflows, and he stood at the forefront of the advent of the career of the "Digital Technician."
Jeff soon moved into shooting, and then moved laterally to video capture. His background as a multi-instrumental musician has also benefited his understanding of sound design and audio capture, which can be some of the most technically challenging aspects of film-making.
He regularly works as a digital technician for Pier 1 Imports and Pottery Barn. As photographer, he has shot for Williams Sonoma, Mountain Living Magazine, Keen Shoes, Mountain Hardwear, Red Envelope, and Robert Mondavi Wines, among others.
He has loaded 15 cases of equipment onto planes, coordinated with Spanish-speaking producers in Mexico, photographed hamburgers by window-light in Hong Kong, shot smoothies on the balcony of Rudolph Valentino's Hollywood mansion, talked about film technology on a photoshoot with George Lucas, and has worked out of helicopters, Cessnas and random hotel rooms.
He has been a freelancer for over 15 years and takes a 'real-world' approach to his perspective of the photographic industry and the skills needed in today's market.
Jeff is a 2001 graduate of Hallmark Institute of Photography and has B.A. from the University of Montana. When not shooting in-studio or on-location, Jeff spends time with his wife, son, dog and cat in Missoula, Montana. He plays bluegrass dobro, banjo and guitar to unwind.
Mike Tittel admits an obsession with all-things photography. As a freelance active lifestyle photographer based in Salt Lake City, his work reflects his personality: passionate, energetic, adventurous, and focused. 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. Mike’s beliefs in developing personal relationships and fostering creative collaboration have enabled him to work with nationally-known brands including Wells Fargo, Verizon Wireless, Puma, Columbia Sportswear, Red Bull, Gore-Tex as well as publications such as Men’s Journal, Outside, Fitness, Runner’s World, Shape, Skiing, Bike. 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.
"Even the darkest of moments are followed by an explosion of light..."
David Talley believes in a necessary resolution. He is an internationally recognized photographer and educator operating out of Portland, Oregon and Sydney, NSW. He was named as one of the top five young and talented photographers by the United Colors of Benetton in Italy in 2013. David's work exhibits the darkest moment before an explosion of light, and his imagery is marked by a story, broken but changed for the better, and the ability to transform the present problem into a prosperous future. David is the founder of the 2015 worldwide conceptual photography movement, Concept Collaboration.
In 2015, David traveled to 8 different countries, including the United Kingdom, Norway, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Vietnam, India, and Australia, teaching hundreds of students his inspiration, motivation, and creative techniques, thus enabling them to excel as artists. David's mission as an educator is to help photographers grow in their creative techniques, and to leave his students feeling in-control of and passionate about their creative future.
Michael Clark is an internationally published outdoor photographer specializing in adventure sports, travel, and landscape photography. He produces intense, raw images of athletes pushing their sports to the limit and has risked life and limb on a variety of assignments to bring back stunning images of rock climbers, mountaineers, kayakers, and mountain bikers in remote locations around the world. He uses unique angles, bold colors, strong graphics and dramatic lighting to capture fleeting moments of passion, gusto, flair and bravado in the outdoors. Balancing extreme action with subtle details, striking portraits and wild landscapes, he creates images for the editorial, advertising and stock markets worldwide.
As a former physicist Michael has worked on both sides of the technical revolution – helping refine the technology and using it for his current profession. Michael has worked as a professional photographer since 1996 and added digital photography to his repertoire in 2003. While Michael still shoots some film, mostly medium format, the lion’s share of his images are now produced with high-resolution digital cameras. He has been featured in Digital Photo Pro (December 2011), Outdoor Photographer (September 2001), Nikon World Magazine (Summer 2006), Digital Photographer (UK, 2010), Rangefinder Magazine (May 2010), and New Mexico Magazine (2007) for his work with extreme sports. Digital Photo Pro proclaimed Michael a "Master of Adventure" Photography in their 2011 Masters issue.
He contributes to National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men's Journal, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, Climbing, Alpinist, Rock and Ice, Bike Magazine and The New York Times among many others.
A sampling of Michael's advertising clients include Apple, Nike, Nikon, Adobe, Red Bull, Microsoft, Nokia, Patagonia, Propel/Gatorade, Pfizer, DuPont, 20th Century Fox, Black Diamond, Cloudveil, Prana, Arc'teryx, Camelbak, La Sportiva, Gregory Packs, and Butterfield and Robinson.
In addition to shooting still images, Michael has also launched Michael Clark Productions, which produces top-notch motion and video pieces using state of the art digital cinema cameras.
Fashion photographer Lindsay Adler has risen to the top of her industry as both a photographer and educator. Based in New York City, her fashion editorials have appeared in numerous fashion and photography publications including Marie Claire, InStyle, Elle, Rangefinder, Professional Photographer and dozens more. As a photographic educator and having been named one of the top 10 best fashion photographers in the world, she is one of the most sought after speakers internationally. Lindsay enjoys teaching on the industry's largest platforms and most prestigious events. She has worked with some of the top brands in the photographic and related industries such as Canon and Adobe. Her client list consists of Grey, Edelman, Microsoft, Saatchi & Saatchi and more.
A clean, bold, and graphic style has become the hallmark of her work, whether shooting advertising campaigns, designer look books, jewelry, hair campaigns, fashion editorials, or professional athletes. Lindsay is renowned for her creativity and collaborating with designers and stylists in order to create fresh looks.
Lindsay’s energy and enthusiastic teaching style showcase her excitement to share her passion and knowledge with others, whether it is world-wide through prestigious platforms such as CreativeLive, KelbyOne, and the industry's largest conferences, or through her blog, DVD videos, online tutorials or her five books.
She is located in Manhattan shooting fashion full time. She is honored to have been named a Canon Explorer of Light.
Housing in Missoula is generally easy to find. RMSP recommends that students check with Craigslist, VRBO and Airbnb for listings of available housing opportunities. In the summer of 2017 RMSP will make available any housing leads we are given from the community and post these on the Professional Intensive Student Portal (which is accessible by enrolled students).
Tuition for the 2017/2018 Professional Intensive program is $27,950. A $500 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is due upon enrollment in Professional Intensive. This deposit amount ($500) is applied to the tuition for the program. The balance of the tuition must be paid in full at least 30 days before the start of the program. Sixty days before the start of the program, a minimum payment of $7450 is due to RMSP. The final balance of $20,000 is due to RMSP 30 days before the start of the program.
Weekend Intensive Incentive
Are you curious about Professional Intensive (PI)? Interested, but want to "try it before you buy it?" If you register for any 2017 Weekend Intensive and then decide to register for Professional Intensive in 2017, we will apply your Weekend Intensive payment to your Professional Intensive tuition.
Application and Enrollment
To apply for Professional Intensive (PI) please click the "Apply Now" button above and follow the online instructions. We accept applications for our Professional Intensive program up to the start of the program if space is available. However, due to limited enrollment, we suggest you apply early. In the event that the program is full, you will be notified and your name will be placed on a waiting list. There is no application fee.
During the application process you will be asked to:
- Give us some information about yourself
- Write a short essay about your photographic goals and what you hope to accomplish after PI
- Upload two letters of recommendation (one personal, the other professional)
- Take a short quiz on computer skills
Once your application is reviewed, RMSP will send an email to you indicating acceptance or denial. If you are accepted into the program, you will be asked to return to this website to enroll. To complete the enrollment process, you must read and agree to the Enrollment Agreement. If you are younger than 18 years old at the time of enrollment, a parent or guardian must perform this task. You complete the enrollment process by paying your tuition deposit (see Tuition tab).
No prior photographic experience is necessary for enrollment in Professional Intensive, although some experience is recommended. Our selection process is designed to accept students who can meet the demands of this comprehensive and challenging education. In order to enroll in Professional Intensive, we require that you are a U.S. citizen, and that you:
- Demonstrate a commitment to pursuing a full or part-time career as a professional photographer.
- Are fully comfortable with intermediate-level computer operating tasks.
- Are able to demonstrate personal and professional qualities that include a willingness to learn, a strong work ethic, an ability to adapt to new technologies, an ability to get along with others in group situations and the determination to succeed.
- Are a high school graduate or have a General Educational Development (GED) certificate by the time of our program orientation.
Sallie Mae Career Training Smart Option Loan
Students interested in the Professional Intensive program have the option of applying for a student loan through SLM Financial, a Sallie Mae company. For those students approved for an educational loan through SLM Financial, SLM Financial will make tuition payments to RMSP according to the disbursement schedule agreed upon by the student and RMSP. Students approved for a loan through SLM Financial are required to pay their tuition deposit up front. For that reason, we recommend that students finalize loan applications prior to remitting their tuition deposit. To learn more about, and apply for a loan, please visit www.salliemae.com/student-loans/career-training-smart-option-student-loan/?lnkid=SM-HP-loanoptions-careertraining.
The Professional Intensive program is approved for Veterans Benefits by the State Approving Agency.
RMSP High School Scholarships
Rocky Mountain School of Photography will award five $5000 tuition scholarships to five high school graduates who graduate the same year they begin Professional Intensive. To learn more about the scholarships and how to apply, please visit rmsp.com/hsscholarship.
Equipment and Supplies
What you need to bring to the program
- Digital SLR camera body or an approved mirrorless interchangeable-lens digital camera body.
- One normal lens
- Dedicated flash unit
- Wireless flash trigger or transmitter for your flash unit
- Laptop computer
- Equipment manual(s)
- Three empty portable external hard drives (between 1TB and 5TB)
- Tethering cable for your camera
- Memory card for your camera
- Memory card reader (or slot on your laptop)
- Flash drive
- Monitor calibration tool
- Adobe Lightroom CC
- Adobe Photoshop CC (not needed until after you start the program)
- Adobe Premiere Pro CC (not needed until after you start the program)
- Adobe InDesign CC (not needed until after you start the program)
- Adobe Illustrator CC (not needed until after you start the program)
- Capture One Pro (included in the tuition cost)
- Tripod Legs
- Tripod Head
What we recommend you purchase after you arrive
- Camera bag
- Additional lenses
- Sensor cleaning supplies
- Cable release or intervalometer
- Paper for printing
- Package of 8.5 x 11 archival photo sheet protectors in a three-ring binder or binder box
Perks of Registering For Professional Intensive
Capture One Pro 10
Capture One Pro 10 is a cutting edge imaging software program designed to help professional photographers streamline their workflow. Each Professional Intensive student will receive a free copy of Capture One Pro 10 after starting the program!
One Year of BlinkBid
Creating estimates and invoicing clients before and after a big photography project can be difficult and chaotic, but BlinkBid makes it easy. Each Professional Intensive student will receive a free year of BlinkBid to help with this process and make starting their business a little easier.
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 Photography Plan
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 20% off the Adobe Photography Plan.