Introduction to Flash Photography Missoula, Montana

6/8/2019 - 6/14/2019

How many photographers have bought an external flash unit, used it once or twice with less-than-great results, then stashed it back into the box/a closet/a storage unit, never to see the light of day again?

Us too!

That is, until we met Syl Arena. He has been teaching with RMSP for many years, and he is one of the best flash instructors in the biz. After learning technical flash/speedlight skills with him, you won’t ever want to shoot without your flash again!

So, what exactly will students be learning?

  • How to set a flash to produce the desired quality of light
  • How to fire a flash off-camera with remote technology
  • How to position a flash to produce specific lighting scenarios
  • How to use multiple flashes to create more dynamic images
  • How to select and use helpful lighting modifiers (diffusers, grids, softboxes, etc.)
  • How to use a flash to add fill light to a high contrast scene or portrait
  • How to balance ambient light with light from the flash so the background isn’t pure black
  • How to use both Manual and TTL (through-the-lens) flash exposure methods

What types of photographers use flashes?

  • Portrait photographers
  • Wedding photographers
  • Editorial photographers
  • Journalistic photographers
  • Headshot photographers
  • Landscape photographers
  • Basically all photographers

Note: No prior experience with flash is necessary.


This workshop begins on Saturday, June 8, at 7 p.m. and ends Friday, June 14, at noon.

Tentative schedule for this workshop:

Saturday, 6/8

7 pm: Introductions and Orientation

Lecture: My Obsession with Light

Sunday, 6/9

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

Studio Shoot


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

Studio and Outdoor Shoot

Monday, 6/10

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, 6/11

Lecture: One-Light Portraits

Studio and Outdoor Shoot


Location Shoot: Indoor and Outdoor

Wednesday, 6/12


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

Afternoon: Location Shoot: Indoor and Outdoor
Thursday, 6/13


Lecture: Using Multiples Flashes


Location Shoot: Indoor and Outdoor



Friday, 6/14


Lecture: TBA

Final Q&A


Workshop ends at Noon



Meeting Space
This workshop begins on Saturday, June 8, at 7 p.m. and ends Friday, June 14, at noon. The workshop will be held in Room #204 at RMSP. 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. The hotels listed below extend a special discounted rate to Rocky Mountain School of Photography students.

Missoula Hotels

A great option for lodging is downtown Missoula's newest hotel, The Residence Inn by Marriott, in the historic Mercantile Building. It's gorgeous and just one block from RMSP! You'll receive the special RMSP rate if you use this link.

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

Another option you might consider is Staybridge Suites Missoula. For more 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.
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
  • 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
Tuition: $1,395
Deposit: $300
Possible Discounts:
Friend of RMSP:$50
Early Registration:$50
if registered before 3/10/2019
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.