PROFESSIONAL INTENSIVE
WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY

What Our Students Say

Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner

For a long time, I believed I didn't need to go to photo school to become a professional photographer. And while it is entirely possible for many people, I came to the realization that there were certain things that I just wouldn't be able to learn on my own.

During the 9 months of Professional Intensive, I not only learned the technical ins and outs of a camera and the software, but also mastered the use of natural light, utilizing artificial light in the studio and on location and developed my own personal style.

Learning from so many industry professionals, you gain tons of information and different perspectives on running your own business, running shoots, working with clients, and marketing. There is not one way to be a professional photographer, and RMSP does a great job at laying out all the options and helping you find which path works best for you.

Moving forward after school I have a great foundation of knowledge to work with and more importantly an incredibly supportive network of instructors, classmates, and photographers.

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What Our Students Say

Piper Clinkenbeard

Piper Clinkenbeard

I was certainly on the fence whether to go to RMSP or college to study photography. I honestly didn’t believe them when they said they’d fit four years of college into one year at RMSP, and, “Was I really going to be able to pay my bills with this later?”.

However, I knew at a liberal arts school I would be taking classes that didn’t even apply to photography at all. If I did go through business classes in college I would have to retain all that knowledge and apply it to photography months later. My brain doesn’t work like that. So I took the plunge and applied to RMSP.

Looking back, I’d do again in a heartbeat. Turns out, they actually weren’t kidding about fitting four years of college into one year. They meant it when 40% of classes at RMSP covered business. I really did leave there knowing what to do to become a full time photographer, and most importantly having the confidence to do it.

I am 22, and technically onto my third year in business in photography. Halfway through last year I switched to photography full time. It is currently paying all of my bills, my student loan is paid off, and I’m doing this in rural Montana.

Being a professional photographer is not a pipe dream with RMSP, but you have to want it. During school, they will stuff your days so full that you will be living on coffee and your computer battery life. You will be exhausted, but for months you will be surrounded by people who are passionate about the same thing you are. You will be able to understand just about every aspect of photography and learn about things you didn’t expect like how your camera sensor works, how certain paper types react differently to printer ink, photo history, and photo ethics.

You will never feel like you’ve been thrown to the wolves. If you can pass a high school class you can pass RMSP. That’s not to say it isn’t advanced, but you always have extra help if you need it.

The best part of it all is that if you’re really passionate about photography, all of these classes were interesting. It wasn’t like sitting through a boring lesson in high school.

Even after graduation, I felt comfortable enough to reach out and ask some questions about my bookkeeping. Sarah took time to meet with me and get me on the right track again. I felt like the school as a whole genuinely cared about my success.

I paid what felt like a lot of money to go to school at RMSP, but I would do it again and again without hesitation and with zero regret. I’m proud of that school and all it lives up to, and I’m quite sure I am only one of hundreds who feel the same way.

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What Our Students Say

Jill Graniero

Jill Graniero

Attending the Rocky Mountain School of Photography Professional Intensive Program was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. Attending PI meant leaving behind a successful career in business management, and leaving my home, New York City, where I had lived my entire life. Big decisions never come easy, and when I finally did make that decision to attend PI, I hoped with every ounce of me that the program would prepare me for the future that I had envisioned.

As a graduate of the program, I can now say with confidence that PI was all I hoped it would be, and more. If you are serious about becoming a professional in the photography industry, the PI program will give you all the tools you need to have a successful career. My technical skills grew by leaps and bounds, I tapped into creativity that I didn't know I had inside of me, and my confidence soared.

In addition to that, one of my favorite parts of the program was the constant push to look inward. This program makes an effort to help you understand why you photograph, what motivates you, and how to be the best version of yourself possible. As you go through this journey with your classmates, all deeply immersed in something you love, you will form connections and friendships that will last a lifetime. These are the connections that will help guide you throughout your career, and they will always be there when you need advice, or just someone to lean on.

It is not easy to make a living as a photographer. The PI program will challenge you, but it is how you tackle those challenges that will prepare you for the challenges that you will face in your career. When I left this program, I felt ready to begin my journey as a professional photographer, because I knew that RMSP had prepared me. My experiences at RMSP are the foundation that I built my career on, and when you have a solid foundation, you are built for success.

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What Our Students Say

Aly Joy Johnson

Aly Joy Johnson

I first discovered RMSP in the Summer of 2014 as a young twenty something newly engaged to an aspiring doctor with LOTS of long term commitments. In a fortunate turn of fate I had already begun my journey in photography as a full-time wedding assistant at a local studio. As I fell in love with the art form I realized how badly I wanted to learn more and expand my opportunities. As my husband and I planned ahead for school and relocation continually sacrificing to balance both our dreams, I finally got my chance to attend Professional Intensive in Fall 2017 and boy did I have high expectations!

While the internet has many offerings for the aspiring photog, quality and currency of those resources was always something I felt skeptical of. When you're trying to build a business in an exciting but competitive industry, education is nothing to take lightly. Cue RMSP - All the tools, all the techniques already gathered for you in one place, with ALL the professionalism and all the contacts you could possibly need to grow your photo business. Hands down, I think RMSP has one of the most effective learning models for a non-traditional photography education that WILL equip you to succeed. Instructors are readily available to teach and critique work, including business plans and web design, and the level of expertise among staff is phenomenal! I'm not talking about people who just have a degree to teach photography but people who have worked in the industry anywhere from 15 -30+ years sharing their knowledge. RMSP is where I fell in love with studio and food photography; give me all the tacos and ice cream and Iím a happy girl, haha! With the guidance of fantastic commercial photography instructors, I was able to explore just how far I could take that passion to reach aspirations of a career in food & lifestyle.

Through assignments in both lighting and visual concepts I learned what my creative perspective was and polished my style both behind the camera and in post production. By the end of the program I had orchestrated two on-location shoots for my final -- they involved lifestyle models, food styling, and prop management. I realized I was capable of pulling off projects I would have felt grossly underqualified for prior to the program, and my confidence and photography technique grew exponentially. In the year following graduation, I hit the ground running as a freelance food photographer and have already worked on a retainer basis with restaurants making a substantial side hustle while I work myself into the industry full-time.

If you're worried that attending Rocky Mountain School of Photography's Professional Intensive is too big a sacrifice, please just consider the big picture; there will never be a "perfect time" to make a commitment this significant, but it is 100% possible. It may be the one commitment that leads you into your future photography successes. If photography is your passion, give yourself the chance to make it your dream job!

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What Our Students Say

Mike Malament

Mike Malament

For the last 10 years, I've been working as a self-taught professional photographer based out of Missoula, Montana. Since I started my company in 2009, RMSP has been on my radar. Over the years, I watched friends who attended the program and saw the quality of their work improve drastically. Having spent the last ten years within a niche market of whitewater action sports photography, I'm familiar with the demands and challenges involved in making a living as a photographer. However, I reached a point where I was feeling stuck and unsure how to grow and expand within my career. After reading through the comprehensive PI curriculum I was convinced that attending PI would give me the skills and vision to move forward. I made the choice to attend the PI because I didn't want to waste any more time trying to figure it out on my own. Having now completed PI I can say that it was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. To be fully immersed in photography in a supportive, positive and engaging environment for nine months was invaluable. My technical competency as a photographer has grown leaps and bounds and I have significantly more confidence in my abilities. I now am able to take on new and interesting photography work, a lot of which is outside of my niche specialty of whitewater action sports. The PI program moves at a fast and demanding pace which, in my experience is not unlike the actual job of being a photographer. Having the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and collaborate with other photographers was incredibly enlightening. Additionally, RMSP strongly emphasizes personal growth and development. The staff really pushes you to go beyond who you are as a photographer and explore who you are as a person. Coming out of PI, I'm not only running my existing company more efficiently, I'm also getting new opportunities and constantly expanding the range of my abilities.

The PI program has given me the support, tools, direction and confidence to go forward and create a profitable and meaningful career in photography. I honestly wish that I had taken the PI program ten years ago when I started my company. If you are dedicated to making it as a photographer and want the opportunity to jumpstart your career this is an experience that should not be missed!

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What Our Students Say

Mady Braught

Mady Braught

This school fulfilled my dreams of growing my skills, confidence and business. The entire eight months was packed with all of the tools I needed to truly become a professional. The instructors were incredible. They are helpful and knowledgeable on current trends, gear and technology.

I thank all involved with the school, everyday (maybe not in person or on the phone like I should) because their voices and critiques are imbedded in my subconscious while I'm shooting, editing and consulting with a new client. But being thankful is an understatement. These people care about us as unique individuals and want us to grow not only our businesses but ourselves, our self confidence, and connect deeper within to help build from the ground up.

This program was challenging but very rewarding. The contacts you meet and network you grow will add to your success throughout school and post graduation. I know I can go to them for any future questions, advice, consulting, etc. We are a family. Why wouldn't you want to join the family?

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What Our Students Say

Anastasia Wilde

Anastasia Wilde

My initial experience with RMSP was a weekend intensive during my first year of teaching. I had picked up a camera the previous year and had fallen madly in love with the pursuit of capturing the adventures of my puppy dog and husband. By the time I attended the weekend intensive, teaching had taken over my life and photography had taken a backseat. However, after that weekend I got a new perspective on photography and was so inspired that I decided, in just a few days, that I had to come back for their first ever Professional Intensive (PI) the next year.

The Professional Intensive program was absolutely mind and heart opening. Not only did we receive an unbelievably comprehensive technical education, but the instructors cared about more than just the content. Every one of the faculty cared about us as individuals. They were always open to the countless evaluations and feedback that they received from us and tailored the program to our varying wants and needs. It was a jam-packed 8 months and I think there was no quicker way for me to learn the business, accounting, marketing and technical sides that are pertinent to a small business owner.

Post-RMSP, they facilitated that we get a mentor and that has been invaluable because getting advice from a seasoned professional in the field you hope to go into and create connections is an amazing starting point. My mentor helped me through issues like, pricing for use on email promos, how to work through rejections, and celebrated with me on breakthroughs.

A year out of the program I have had highs and lows in my photography career. Things have taken longer than I anticipated and full months have been booked up with no chance for air. It has been a whirlwind of a year, but I feel completely prepared for it. Sure, I still struggle with the slow times and panic through the busy months, but overall I am equipped with SO much knowledge. When I graduated from a music program and was sent out into the world to teach, I was scared out of my mind. I did not feel prepared and there were so many unknowns! However, leaving PI, I felt comfortable in my knowledge and confident in my abilities.

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What Our Students Say

Scott Rafferty

Scott Rafferty

Two years ago I found myself at an impasse in my career and life. Burnt out from a high intensity retail leadership job, I was barely making it through each day. Unfulfilled emotionally and creatively, I knew I needed to make a drastic change in order to reclaim my joy.

I'd been receiving RMSP promotional material for the better part of a decade. Like many out there, I'd flip through the catalog and imagine myself in Missoula, immersed in the photography buffet of a lifetime. In seemingly no time, life's pin would pop my perfect little fantasy bubble. The reality of the sheer ridiculousness of uprooting my life and moving to Montana from New Jersey was laughable. There would be so many obstacles to overcome - changing careers, the logistics, finances, housing, and certainly not least, my husband. All of it added up to what seemed like a mountain too high to cross. Perhaps you can relate?

On a random Sunday morning in December, without a plan of action and having no idea how we would pull it off, my husband and I decided to take the leap and enroll me in the Professional Intensive program. It seemed impossible at the time but if you set your course, and move forward with intention and determination it is possible to make these kinds of huge changes in your life. This RMSP journey is worth the hard work it takes to get to day one (and let me tell you, that's when the real hard work begins!).

The education at RMSP and, in particular the Professional Intensive Program, is world-class and second to none. The instructors come from many different photographic disciplines and each one has a story to tell and real world knowledge to impart. Whether you are just starting out or have been shooting a majority of your life, like myself, there is room to grow and become a better artist. To say that PI is intense is an understatement. The amount of technical information that is instilled in only 9 months is staggering. But perhaps more worth noting is the internal transformation that you will experience. Come here with a spirit of openness and an eagerness to learn. Not everything you will be asked to do will be comfortable - lots of it is down right scary (particularly if you are an introvert). Don't let these sorts of fears sway you from taking this leap. If you commit to bravery and personal growth, the RMSP team will not let you fall. They will support your artistry and in the end you'll come out more confident and self-assured not only as an image maker, but also in life.

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What Our Students Say

Addie Reimer

Addie Reimer

Two years before my first day in professional intensive I had become passionate about photography but knew next to nothing about it. I decided to attend Rocky Mountain School of Photography only a few weeks before the program started and that decision changed my life drastically.

Over the course of professional intensive I learned much more than what I could've dreamed of from amazing professionals.

RMSP taught me everything I needed to know about photography but this program more importantly taught me about myself and what I'm capable of.

It wasn't until I came here that I understood what niche of photography I wanted to pursue, and I owe that to the instructors. There was always an assistant or instructor available to answer any questions I had or problems I was facing.

Now that I'm out on my own, I've realized the wealth of my time spent at RMSP. I'm able to apply all that I've learned and move forward in my career with much confidence.

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What Our Students Say

Juleon McGinnis

Juleon McGinnis

I just want to start off by saying, if you're thinking about PI then you just have to do it! I flew to Missoula on a week's notice of getting accepted into the program, with two large suitcases, and a family friend to pick me up from the airport. While I had already been working as a professional photographer for two years, I decided to take that extra step and come to RMSP to totally polish off and refine my skills and business as a whole.

It was one of the best choices I have made in my whole life, not only for my skills and career as a photographer, but who I am as a person. The school not only has some of the best people to learn from, but they care about your needs and the overall success in your future as a creative professional.

I was one of the more advanced students coming into the program, and I can say I honestly learned a lot more than I ever expected I would. I ended up telling multiple people that I learned more about photography in the first two weeks coming to RMSP than I did in my two years attending a very good art school.

RMSP will give you the skills you need to start on the path to your professional career as a creative, and then it is up to you to make it happen. But both the school and your classmates will always be there for support. I know I can reach out to any of the people I was in class with about anything I might have a question about -- and that also goes for the alumni that I wasnít in class with -- because RMSP is a family and when you go through any of the courses, you become part of that family.

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What Our Students Say

Laura Werling

Laura Werling

My time at Rocky Mountain School of Photography was nothing short of transformational! A previous student described RMSP as the Hogwarts of photography education, and I couldn't agree more. The whole experience was magical and provided once in a lifetime opportunities. Our education wasn't limited to the classroom; we were constantly out experimenting and putting to practice what we learned.

The RMSP staff truly made everyone feel incredibly welcome and part of the community. RMSP offered a supportive, family environment where I felt comfortable to ask questions and get productive feedback that took my work to the next level and beyond. So much of my experience there was fun and exciting, and I made life-long friendships with my fellow students.

RMSP provided preparation for the business of photography, as well as the creative and the technical. RMSP gave me the fundamental tools to understand and start my own business. I can also say with confidence, now that I am working as a professional photographer, that I have been prepared for the actual work. Sometimes, even more prepared than my self-taught peers who have been working as professional photographers for years. The level of detail we were given the opportunity to learn is extraordinary, and not common among other photography education programs.

One of my biggest takeaways from RMSP was something Neil said on one of our first days of school; ìThe more you know, the more you know you don't know.î This could not be more true as my world has been opened to the possibilities in this career, thanks to RMSP. My education doesn't end because I graduated from RMSP, it is only just beginning, and I thank RMSP for opening the door to my future.

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What Our Students Say

Michael Kaszowski

Michael Kaszowski

My experience with the Professional Intensive (PI) program at RMSP exceeded my expectations! From day one I felt the ‘warmth of family’ working with the directors, administrators and instructors supporting me on my journey to be a professional photographer. The curriculum is smartly designed and incrementally builds a student’s confidence and abilities over the rigorous 9-month program.

I not only learned the fundamentals of Commercial and Retail photography but I was also exposed to so many additional photographic genres like - drone, surf, dance, macro, architecture and astro photography. I soaked in every minute of my time at RMSP and took advantage of every lecture, shooting and studio opportunity presented to me. I will be forever grateful to the team at RMSP for an amazing life experience and my new career!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have about my time at RMSP and Missoula, MT – michaelkaszowskiphotography@gmail.com

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What Our Students Say

Lizzie Haener

Lizzie Haener

Transformative! That is just one of the words I would use to describe my time at RMSP. Attending RMSP was the best decision I have made in my life so far and I often describe this school as a hidden gem.

I was in an in-between period of my life when I found RMSP. Every choice I was leaning towards with pursuing photography professionally gave me the strongest “NO” feeling I have ever had and I just felt so lost. Once I learned about RMSP from an alumni in my town I knew this was where I was meant to go.

They do not hold back with the amount of information that you learn right off the bat, and although it was a challenge the staff and instructors were so supportive and helpful throughout the process. RMSP not only teaches you technical skills but also entrepreneurial business skills and will help you get to know more about who you are as a person; which were all extremely helpful things after graduating. The amount of positivity and courage I have gained from this school has been something I feel everyday and I bring up as often as I can. I remember quotes from teachers, experiences we had in class, and I keep up with classmates and staff which all feeds into a passion for photography and really makes anything seem possible.

I could not imagine running my business, or being the person I am now, without the knowledge and experiences I have from RMSP and the continued support I have even after graduating. It was an absolute joy to be a part of this family of a school and I hope you choose to experience it too!

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