Photography I Missoula, Montana

September 19, 2020 - September 20, 2020


  • RMSP is requiring all students to wear a mask at all times while at the school or on a field shoot.
  • RMSP is requiring any out-of-state students to self-quarantine for two full weeks prior to attending our classes.

Thank you for understanding and following these requirements; we want to keep everyone as safe as possible. If you have any questions, please call us at 800-394-7677.

If you're interested in learning how to use your camera to capture images of your family, friends, and the beautiful world around you, this intensive two-day class is the perfect place to start. This Short Course will give beginning photographers the knowledge and skills they need for a solid understanding of their camera, fundamental photographic principles, and basic photo management software. In addition to classroom lectures, we'll help you in the field and one-on-one, with hands-on suggestions for improvement.

This intensive, two-day course is the first in a series of three Short Courses. It is jam-packed with lectures, demonstrations, a field shoot and a critique.

Topics include:
  • Exposure: We'll explain the basic camera controls that are used to determine exposure: f-stops, shutter speeds and ISO.
  • Histograms: An image's histogram is a visual readout of the highlights, midtones and shadows, and understanding it can help you determine if your exposure is accurate.
  • White balance: We'll explain "white balance" and show you how to make adjustments so that your images always have proper color.
  • Hard and soft light: We'll explain the properties of hard and soft light and how that affects the mood, shapes, and shadows of your image.
  • Raw vs. JPEG: File format significantly impacts your photos. We'll teach you how to make a wise choice based on your shooting preferences.
  • Shooting modes: We'll explain manual and aperture priority shooting modes on your camera.
  • Metering modes: We'll cover spot, partial, evaluative/matrix/zone, and center-weighted metering.
  • Lightroom Classic file management: Lightroom is a powerful tool not only for photo editing, but also for file organization. We'll show you some best practices for keeping your images organized and easy to find.

In addition to the technical topics above, we will spend dedicated time covering the following photographic genres. Together, the fundamental skills and genre-specific techniques will allow you to create consistently strong images in a wide variety of shooting situations.

  • Landscape Photography
  • Portraiture/Kids Portraiture
  • Documentary Photography

In this video, instructor Forest Chaput de Saintonge explains more about our Photography I, II, and III series. He'll help you decide which class or class(es) are right for you!

Other Bonuses of Attending!

  • Cookies!
  • Continued Learning

    Your education starts before you arrive! Registering gets you access to four of the best eBooks RMSP has to offer -- one on Lightroom exporting, one on basic exposure, one on starting your photo business, and one on 10 ways to know if photography is the career for you! Just register for this course and we will send you a link to all three via email or text!

  • Networking

    Photography is more fun with friends. Short courses are a great way to meet fellow photographers. Our recommendation? Join our RMSP Community to stay in touch with friends, get inspired and continue learning! Membership for RMSP students comes with benefits. Want to learn more about the RMSP Community? Here's some more info.

  • More RMSP!

    Our flagship programs, Summer Intensive and Professional Intensive, are a dream for many photographers. We try to make the transition into these programs as easy as possible. If you register for "SI" or "PI" in the future, we will take the cost of this "Short Course" off your SI or PI tuition.


    All RMSP Short Course attendees get a $15 voucher for RMSP swag! Use it on our swag store to pick up a t-shirt, mug, Peak Design camera strap and more. The best part? Purchase what you want ahead of time and we'll give it to you at the event!

Meeting Space

This course will be held in Studio B at RMSP's downtown location at 216 N Higgins Avenue (our old location). To get to Studio B, enter through the front door at the address below. There will be signs there directing you to the classroom.

Rocky Mountain School of Photography
216 N Higgins Avenue
Missoula, MT 59802
(406) 543-0171


Please note that this schedule is tentative and may change dependent on weather and other circumstances.

Saturday, September 19, 2020
  • Check-in / Welcome / Lecture: Exposure
  • Lecture: Histograms
  • Lecture: Formatting a memory card and backing up your photos
  • Lunch Break
  • Lecture: How a meter works and metering modes
  • Lecture: Raw vs JPEG
  • Lecture: Lightroom Classic file management
  • Lecture: White balance and hard/soft light
  • Dinner Break
  • Sunset Field Shoot
Sunday, September 20, 2020
  • Turn in your images
  • Critique
  • Lecture: Using your camera in manual mode
  • Lecture: Intro to landscape photography
  • Lunch Break
  • Lecture: Portraiture/child portraiture
  • Lecture: Documentary photography
  • Next steps with your photography


  • Digital SLR camera or interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera (students must have a DSLR or Mirrorless camera to attend. If you are unsure whether your camera fits into either of these two categories, please call us and ask!)
  • While not required, a laptop computer is recommended to fully participate in class demonstrations. If you don’t own a laptop, that’s fine, just understand that you will not be able to follow along with the instructor during the image editing portion of the class.
  • Camera manual
  • At least one lens. The "kit" lens that came with your camera (most likely an 18-55mm) is great!
  • Bring any other lenses that you own (a variety of focal lengths is always helpful)
  • Note-taking materials
  • Memory card(s)

In addition, for the field shoot:

  • Spare batteries for equipment
  • Camera bag or backpack
  • Weatherproof clothing
  • Sturdy footwear
  • Water bottle
What skill level is required to get the most from Short Courses?

With the exception of Photography I, a basic understanding of your camera is helpful to get the most out of these courses. For example, students should be able to navigate their camera menus, change f-stops, shutter speeds and ISOs, and have a familiarity with manipulating their exposures.

What is the deadline to sign up?

There is no deadline to sign up, however, seating is limited and all registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage students to sign up early in order to guarantee a seat.

What time does it start and end?

Start and end times vary from course to course. Please check our website for further information.

Where is the course located?

Please check the Meeting Space tab for information on venue location.

Will there be time for shooting during the course?

For most Short Courses, there will be opportunities to work with your camera in order to understand some of the concepts being taught, as well as a field shooting session. Check the individual course for more information on what is covered.

I'd like to attend a Short Course, but I don't have a camera. What should I do?

If you don't own a camera, please reach out to us and let us know. We'll send one to the course for you to use.

Is a laptop required?

A laptop is not required, however if you want to participate in the critique session (a part of some courses) you will need to have a way to select and transfer your images to the instructor. This can be as simple as viewing images on the back of the camera or writing down the file numbers and giving the instructor your memory card. However, a computer can streamline this process.

Do I need any special software on my laptop?

Some Short Courses include editing demonstrations. If you wish to participate in the editing demo you will need a copy of Adobe Lightroom Classic installed on your laptop.

Will there be electrical outlets available to charge my laptop battery?

We'll do our best to provide as much access as we can to electrical outlets but can't guarantee that you'll have the access you need. We recommend that you come to the course with a fully charged laptop (and camera!) battery.

What else would I need for the course?

Check the Equipment List for the particular Short Course you are interested in attending.

How many people attend Short Courses?

In order to ensure a great experience for all our students, we've capped attendance for our 2020 courses. Our typical Short Course is capped at 16 students.

What is the instructional staff to student ratio?

Most Short Courses have one instructor. However, if necessary, we will provide an assistant to ensure that the ratio is approximately 1 instructor to every 10 students.

Are there any tuition discounts available for Short Courses?

On some Short Courses there is a discount available for currently-enrolled high school students. In addition (and something that applies to everyone), if you take a Short Course and then at some point decide to enroll in RMSP's Summer Intensive or Professional Intensive program, your Short Course tuition is credited back to you in full!

Do I have to pay for the Short Course in full at the time I register?

Yes, the full tuition is due upon registration.

What is your cancellation and refund policy?

If you notify RMSP at least 10 business days prior to the course, tuition is refunded in full minus a $25 processing fee. If cancellation is received fewer than 10 business days prior to the course, the full tuition is retained by RMSP. Refunds will be processed within 30 days after our office receives notice of cancellation.

How early should I register to ensure a seat at a Short Course?

Registrations often come in spurts, so even though there may be plenty of spots left for a course today, there may not be space tomorrow. We encourage you to sign up early to ensure a seat at the Short Course of your choice.

What happens when a Short Course sells out?

Once a Short Course sells out, we stop processing registrations and start a waiting list for that course. There are sometimes cancellations, so we suggest that you put your name on the waiting list even if a course has sold out.

How can I add my name to the waiting list?

To add your name to the waiting list, call or email our office and provide us with your name, phone number(s) and the name of the course you would like to attend. You can call us at (800) 394-7677, or email Bob McGowan in our office at You will be notified by phone if a spot opens up.

Will I receive confirmation after I register?

Yes, you will receive an immediate message confirming your registration.

Will I receive any other information ahead of time?

All information will be available on our website. However, you will also receive an email one week prior to the course date as well as a reminder email the day before the course begins.

Will I need a car during the course?

For most Short Courses, there is no need to drive anywhere. However, there are some Short Courses where you will need to drive to field shoots. We encourage carpooling among participants.

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 Short Course!

Cancellation Policy

Tuition is refunded in full minus a $25 processing fee if notification is received at RMSP at least 10 business days prior to the event. If cancellation is received fewer than 10 business days prior to the event, full tuition is retained by RMSP. Refunds will be processed within 30 days after RMSP receives notice of cancellation.

This course is past its starting date.


Rob Gappert

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.



Sarah Chaput de Saintonge

Sarah Chaput de Saintonge directs Rocky Mountain School of Photography with her husband, Forest. She has a BA in photojournalism and enjoys experimenting with many kinds of photography, but her primary interest is portraiture. She attended RMSP's Career Training program in 2011, ran a business in consumer portraiture for a while, then started working as an instructor and teaching assistant. She successfully completed one 365 project (take a photo a day for a year) and once made it to 155 consecutive days of making self portraits. She is now documenting ten years of her life with a daily photo of a person, place, or thing. She loves people, image editing, composition, film, her cats, and Forest.



Quinn Hegwood

Quinn Hegwood is one of RMSP's core instructors, specializing in printing and social media. She enjoys photographing people in their natural habitat, primarily mothers and children, and she is on a constant search for light. Quinn is passionate about helping students to discover the artist within themselves.



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.