Business of Outdoor Photography Missoula, Montana

8/5/2017 - 8/11/2017

Why? What does it take to get started in the business of outdoor photography? A nice camera? A handful of great photos? A website? Sure all of these are helpful, but at the end of the day, becoming a freelance photographer who can regularly generate income from outdoor imagery is less about the tangible tools and more about your knowledge of the industry and the unique vision you bring to the table. This course, focused on getting started in the business of photography, is not for photography’s weekend warriors. Instead, this week led by professional photographer Michael DeYoung is geared toward experienced photographers who are looking to turn their outdoor photography habit into a money-making possibility.

What You Learn: The structure of this course is loosely 2/3 in-classroom lecture and 1/3 time spent outdoors photographing. Scheduled shoots will take you to magnificent locations such as a private ranch where the owner rides her horse through the creek right in front of your lens, the Lee Metcalf or Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuges, and Holland Lake where you photograph the Mission Mountains as Holland Falls crashes behind you. Classroom lectures cover a range of topics that will assist you in becoming a more knowledgeable photographer including many of the less-than-glamorous, yet necessary aspects of running a photo business. This will include:

  • Writing proposals and query letters to editorial clients
  • Best practices for making submissions to editorial and commercial markets
  • Developing an understanding of licensing, value and pricing of your images
  • Licensing your outdoor images to magazines, calendars, cards, books, local and regional tourism markets and for commercial art decor
  • How to license your images through by building relationships with stock photo agencies,
    as well as doing it on your own
  • Seeing and thinking in creative ways to make yourself stand out in a crowded field
  • Understanding that the art and business of photography are two separate things

After discussing many of the behind the scenes topics of running your business, Michael will shift gears and begin to share with you the multitude of ways you can begin to market your images. Having experience with editorial, commercial, and stock environments he is a wealth of knowledge (and advice) for emerging shooters. His background of working with editors and buyers will help you:

  • Photograph with an art director’s point of view in mind
  • Photograph from a conceptual point of view
  • Convey a sense of place in your images
  • Understand when and when not to use specialized equipment
  • Become familiar with on-location creative techniques
  • Build trust by maintaining a high standard of ethics

Considerations: Participants need to be totally comfortable operating their DSLR in manual mode.

Please scroll down to see a schedule for this workshop.


Tentative schedule for the Business of Outdoor Photography workshop:

Saturday, 8/5
Evening:7 pm: Introductions and Orientation
Sunday, 8/6

Student Visual Intro

Lecture: Creative Seeing


Lecture: Understanding the Business of Photography

Evening:Practice Action Shoot: Horses and Dogs at the Andie Ranch
Monday, 8/7
Morning:SR Shoot: Lee Metcalf

Lecture: Creating Marketable Images

Evening:Evening Off
Tuesday, 8/8
Morning:Field Shoot: Animal Wonders at the Andie Ranch

Lecture: Submissions / Stock

Evening:Lecture: Weather and Light
Wednesday, 8/9

Lecture: Editorial Clients 


Afternoon:Lecture: Establishing Business Presence
Evening:Field Shoot: Holland Lake
Thursday, 8/10




Lecture: Marketing


Field Shoot: Ninpipe Wildlife Refuge

Friday, 8/11


Lecture: Pricing


Student writing assignments and stock portfolio critique


Group dinner



Meeting Space

This workshop begins Saturday at 7 p.m. and ends Friday at 12:30 p.m. This workshop will meet in Room #204 at the location below. To get to room #204, enter through the double doors at the address below. Take the stairs to the second floor, turn right and the classroom will be directly in front of you. There will be signs on the door directing you to your classroom.

Rocky Mountain School of Photography
210 N Higgins Avenue
Missoula, MT 59802
(800) 394-7677 


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.

Missoula Hotels

The first hotel we recommend is the Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown. For more information about the Holiday Inn, click here. 

The second hotel we recommend is the Staybridge Suites Missoula. For more information information about Staybridge Suites, click here. 

Air Transportation

RMSP is not responsible for cancellations due to medical or other emergencies or reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets/hotel rooms in the event of a course cancellation. Please consider the purchase of trip/travel insurance.

The nearest airport for this workshop is Missoula International Airport.

Missoula International Airport
5225 Hwy 10 West
Missoula, MT 59808
(406) 725-4381

Transportation during the Workshop

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.

Most major car rental companies are represented 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 at the phone number below and mention that you are an RMSP student.

Dollar Rent-A-Car
1905 W. Broadway
Missoula, MT 59802
(406) 542-2311


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.


  • Digital SLR camera or interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera (full frame capable of accepting CF cards recommended)
  • Lens (in 35mm full-frame equivalent)
  • One wide angle zoom or prime lens at least 24mm or wider, such as: 16-35, 17-40, 24-70, 20mm, 24mm primes (fisheye lenses not recommended as a substitute for a good wide angle)
  • One short telephoto zoom or prime lens with minimum reach of 200mm AND a maximum aperture of F4 or wider, such as: 70-200, 100-400, 200/2.8, 300/2.8, 300/4
  • 1:1 macro like 100/2.8 OR dedicated extension tube for your short telephoto
  • Sturdy and reliable tripod
  • Arca Swiss (Buy at B&H Photo)
  • Really Right Stuff 2 Kirk Enterprises (Buy at B&H Photo Video)
  • Acratech (Buy at B&H Photo Video)
  • Giottos (Buy at B&H Photo Video)
  • Jobu Design (Buy at B&H Photo Video)
  • Wimberley (Buy at B&H Photo Video)
  • Markins
  • Novoflex (Buy at B&H Photo Video)
  • Hejnar Photo
  • Sirui (Buy at B&H Photo Video)
  • Sunwayfoto (Buy at B&H Photo Video) 
  • MeFoto (Buy at B&H Photo Video)
  • Laptop equipped with Lightroom
  • External hard drive to download and store images
  • Memory Card Reader (if not included in your laptop)
  • Flash drive (to export images to for critique)
  • Spare batteries for equipment (especially for your camera) 
  • Extra memory cards (CF with at least 128 MB recommended)
  • Cable release/wireless remote
  • Circular Polarizer for all lenses
  • Lens pen or lens cleaning cloth
  • Camera manual
  • Camera bag or backpack (big enough to carry camera gear, tripod, extra clothing, snacks and water bottle)
  • Note-taking materials



  • Extra Camera Body
  • 400-600mm range zoom or prime lens (you will not need a very expensive super telephoto lens to participate in wildlife / animal shoots)
  • 1.4x tele extender
  • 1:1 Macro lens or extension tube
  • Wide angle tilt shift lens
  • Graduated neutral density filters and holder that will not vignette on a wide angle lens - 3-stop hard step and soft step recommended
  • Speedlight or strobe and a way to fire it off-camera (off-camera shoe cord, dedicated transmitter)
  • Reflector / Translucent disc (at least 20")
  • LCD viewing loupe
  • Lens shades for all lenses
  • Gray card
  • Professional air blower for sensor cleaning (eg. rocket blower)
  • Note taking materials
  • Camera rain cover if your camera and lens are not water resistant
  • Vest for carrying accessories


Personal Items:

  • Weatherproof clothing that can be layered underneath for warmth
  • Sturdy footwear - trail running or hiking shoes
  • Shoes capable of getting wet wading in the river 
  • Light to medium jacket
  • 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




Tuition: $1,395
Deposit: $300
Possible Discounts:
Friend of RMSP:$50
Early Registration:$50
if registered before 5/7/2017
This course is past its starting date.


Michael DeYoung

Michael DeYoung, a former Air Force meteorologist, has been a working professional photographer since 1992. He has broad and diverse photographic interests and successes, but he is best known as an Alaskan landscape, wildlife and adventure sports photographer. A prolific stock shooter, Michael often puts together his own stock productions that involve assembling and working with a team of assistants, other creatives and with people and/or animal talent. His images are represented by four agencies worldwide and he is one of the largest contributors to Alaska Stock, a prominent Anchorage stock photo agency. Michael’s images are widely published across a broad spectrum of magazines, calendars, cards, catalogs, brochures and advertisements. In addition to corporate clients in the outdoor gear, apparel and adventure sports industries, he’s worked for the State of Alaska Vacation Planner and other tourism industry clients. And Michael is the sole photographer for two award-winning books on fly-fishing. He spent eight years as a photojournalist for the Alaska Air National Guard, retiring in 2001. A sought-after teacher and speaker, he has given lectures and taught workshops for NANPA and for local photography organizations in Alaska.

Michael and Lauri—his wife, business partner and assistant—along with their Lab-Great Dane mix dog, Kyia, divide their time between Alaska and northern New Mexico. The DeYoungs often weave photography with their other interests that include backpacking, whitewater paddling, skiing and snowshoeing, wilderness travel, birding and wildlife viewing.

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 fro 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.