Introduction to Flash Photography Missoula, Montana

6/24/2017 - 6/30/2017

Why? Aaaahhhh, the flash. Such an overlooked tool. It fits so nicely in the hot shoe on top of your DSLR, is capable of delivering incredible results and has even been known to turn an otherwise “blah” image into a “WOW” image. Yet, it is often misunderstood, underutilized and can even be blamed for raising the blood pressure of more than a few photographers. This workshop, led by the guy who literally wrote the book (actually, books … plural) on using flash, Syl Arena puts an end to the stress when it comes to using your flash. From a rustic, western homestead to urban scenes in downtown Missoula and a variety of indoor locations with mixed lighting, you learn to make your flash work for you, instead of the other way around.

What? Flash photography can be applied to many genres including landscape, wildlife and especially portraiture. During this week, you learn:

  • To add fill light to the foreground of your landscape images
  • How to accentuate and add dimension to portraits
  • How the flash and camera work together in Manual and TTL modes to achieve perfect exposure
  • How to effectively balance ambient and artificial light
  • To use diffusers, reflectors and scrims to shape, angle, bounce and color light
  • How to use your flash off-camera
  • How to use remote-triggering systems
  • How to use multiple strobes together to create more dynamic images

Who? You should be comfortable with the manual exposure operation of your camera.

Please scroll down to see a schedule for this workshop.


Tentative schedule for the Introduction to Flash workshop:

Saturday, 6/24

7 pm: Introductions and Orientation

Lecture: My Obsession with Light

Sunday, 6/25

- Uses/Types of Flash Photography
- Prioritizing Decisions
- About Camera Settings

Student Shoot


- Exposure Evaluation
- Timing When your Flash Fires 
- Sync Options

Studio and Outdoor Shoot

Monday, 6/26

Lecture: Positioning your Light

Studio Shoot



- How we See, How our Camera Sees
- Flashing in Bright Light
- Look at the Light, Think about the Shadows

Studio and Outdoor Shoot

Tuesday, 6/27

Lecture: One-Light Portraits

Studio and outdoor Shoot


Location Shoot: Indoor and Outdoor

Wednesday, 6/28


- Limiting Where your Light Flies
- Coloring your Light
- Sync Options

Afternoon:Location Shoot: Indoor and Outdoor
Thursday, 6/29


Lecture: Using Multiples Flashes


Location Shoot: Indoor and Outdoor


Friday, 6/30


Lecture: TBA

Final Q&A


Workshop ends at Noon


Meeting Space

This workshop begins Saturday at 7 p.m. and ends Friday at noon. Your class will meet at the location below. There will be signs on the door directing you to your classroom.

Rocky Mountain School of Photography210 N Higgins AvenueMissoula, MT 59802UNITED STATES


Classroom: #204



Missoula has numerous hotels from which to choose with varying accommodations at different price ranges and locations. There are many other hotels in Missoula to choose from; however, the two hotels listed below extend a special discounted rate to Rocky Mountain School of Photography students.

  1. Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown200 South Pattee StreetMissoula, MT 59802UNITED STATES(406) 721-8550himissouladowntown.comAdditional Information

    The Holiday Inn is a full-service hotel located just 2 blocks from RMSP. A complimentary airport shuttle service is available for those in need of transportation to and from the airport. *Discounted rate available on a limited number of rooms.

    2017 Rates: 
    July 1 - August 31:
    $139 per night + tax (weeknights)
    $159 per night + tax (weekends)

    September 1 - October 31:
    $112 per night + tax (weeknights)
    $129 per night + tax (weekends)

    November 1 - December 31:
    $102 per night + tax (weeknights)
    $112 per night + tax (weekends)

    2018 Rates: 
    January 1 - March 15:  
    $102 per night + tax (weeknights)
    $112 per night + tax (weekends)

    March 16 - June 30:
    $115 per night + tax (weeknights)
    $131 per night + tax (weekends)

    July 1 - August 31:
    $141 per night + tax (weeknights)
    $161 per night + tax (weekends)

    September 1 - October 31:
    $115 per night + tax (weeknights)
    $131 per night + tax (weekends)

    November 1 - December 31:
    $102 per night + tax (weeknights)
    $112 per night + tax (weekends)

    Reservations: To receive the discounted rate, contact the hotel directly at the local number above and let them know you are with Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Our Preferred Corporate Rate code is 3-RMP.

  2. Staybridge Suites Missoula120 ExpresswayMissoula, MT 59808UNITED STATES(406) 830-3900(800) 315-2621www.staymissoula.comAdditional Information

    The Staybridge Suites Missoula is located approximately 5 miles from RMSP. The hotel offers a complimentary hot breakfast and suites with fully equipped kitchens. 

    2017 & 2018 Rates: January-May and October-December:  $99 per night + tax (Studio Suite), $109 per night + tax (One Bedroom Suite), $179 per night + tax (Two Bedroom Suite). 

    June-September:  $129 per night + tax (Studio Suite), $139 per night + tax (One Bedroom Suite), $209 per night + tax (Two Bedroom Suite).

    Reservations: To receive the RMSP rate, please make your reservation at the link below:

    Staybridge Suites RMSP Group Rate 



Parking downtown is metered Monday-Friday. There are two convenient parking garages located within one block of the school ( Parking downtown on Saturdays and Sundays is free.

Free parking is available at Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown for participants staying at the hotel.


Air Transportation

Missoula International Airport 5225 Hwy 10 WestMissoula, MT 59808UNITED STATES(406)


Car Rental

Most major car rental companies are available in Missoula and have counters at Missoula International Airport. Please visit the airport website for more details:

Missoula’s locally-owned Dollar Rent A Car franchise offers a special discounted rate to Rocky Mountain School of Photography students. To take advantage of this rate, contact them directly and mention that you are an RMSP student.

Dollar Rent-A-Car1905 W. BroadwayMissoula, MT 59802UNITED STATES(406)



You are responsible for your own meals during the workshop. Your instructor will allow plenty of breaks in the schedule. There are many convenient and affordable options for breakfast, lunch and dinner within walking distance of RMSP.



Any additional fees and/or supplies will be the responsibility of the participant.




We want your experience at an RMSP workshop to be full of learning and fun. We recognize that preparation is one important key to success. The following is meant to be a packing aid, not a shopping list. If you have questions about what’s needed, please call Bob McGowan, our Student Services Associate, at 800-394-7677.

If you'd like to try out the best gear we recommend for this workshop, or you don't have the gear we require, check out the Intro to Flash Photography LensProToGo rental gear package we put together for you! Click here to check it out.


  • Digital SLR camera or interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera
  • You’ll need at least one lens. The “kit lens” that came with your camera (most likely an 18-55mm) will be fine
  • Bring any other lenses that you own (a variety of focal lengths is always helpful)
  • Laptop
  • Memory Card Reader
  • Flash drive
  • Spare batteries for equipment (especially for your camera) 
  • Extra memory cards
  • Camera manual
  • Camera bag or backpack 
  • Note taking materials
  • Cable release wireless remote
  • Camera and lens cleaning supplies
  • Flash and Accessories:
  • Flash (speedlight) with manual and TTL capabilities
  • User manual for your flash (print or PDF version)
  • Batteries and charger (if rechargeable)
  • Optional: Additional flash units
  • Optional: Small flash stand (usually comes with the speedlight)



  • Sturdy and reliable tripod
  • Filters (polarizer, split neutral density, neutral density)
  • Lens shades for all lenses
  • Gray card
  • Professional air blower for sensor cleaning (eg. rocket blower)
  • Camera & lens cleaning supplies
  • Ground cloth, cushion or knee pads 
  • Camera rain cover if your camera and lens are not water resistant 


Personal Items:

  • Weatherproof clothing that can be layered underneath for warmth. Please note that evenings and mornings in the northwest can be chilly – even in the middle of the summer!
  • Bring a medium to heavy jacket or fleece, especially for morning shoots
  • Sturdy footwear for walking on uneven ground or trails
  • Umbrella
  • Sun protection – hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm
  • Insect repellent
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks for between meals in the field
  • Travel alarm clock and wristwatch – or smartphone with an alarm 
  • Pocket sized flashlight




Travel During

You are responsible for your own transportation during the workshop. For transportation to and from field shoots, we suggest that you carpool to get to know fellow students.



Missoula Chamber of Commerce
(406) 543-6623

Missoula Downtown Association
(406) 543-4238





Tuition: $1,395
Deposit: $300
Possible Discounts:
Friend of RMSP:$50
Early Registration:$50
if registered before 3/26/2017
This course is past its starting date.


Syl Arena

"To create interesting light, you have to create interesting shadows."

-- Syl Arena

Back when the Apollo program was headline news, Syl Arena, then a precocious eight-year old, "borrowed" his father's new-fangled Polaroid camera, climbed up into an orange tree and made his first solo photograph - a snapshot of a baby dove. Later that year, his great-aunt gave him a Brownie 626 camera to feed his fascination. Syl's affliction for making photographs has remained steadfast for over 40 years.

In college, Syl studied at Brooks Institute of Photography and then earned a BFA in photography at the University of Arizona. As a student, his favorite cameras spanned the gamut from 4x5 to a homemade, 20x24 pinhole. Syl mastered the zone system of black and white printing. Then, during his retro-phase, worked in a number of 19th-century media, such as cyanotypes and carbon prints.

Today, Syl travels widely to teach photography. He is the author of two best-selling books on lighting: Speedliter's Handbook and Lighting for Digital Photography. You can see his photography at

Perks of Registering For A Workshop

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.