Q & A with Sue LaRose

If you are even a little bit familiar with Rocky Mountain School of Photography, you probably already know that our educational opportunities are packaged into three programs:  Career Training, Workshops and Weekends.  Today, these three programs have lives of their own and continue to offer excellent opportunities for photographers around the world.  What you might not know, however is that we now have two additional programs – our 2-Day PHOTOfocus and Free Evening Lecture Series – both of which are starting to attract more local attention.

Workshops Director Sue LaRose

For today’s post here on Paper Airplanes, we thought it was time to shine the light on these two programs by having a conversation with Workshops Director, Sue LaRose.  A 2008 Career Training graduate herself, Sue is the (very-busy) person who manages both programs, and still manages to keep all RMSP workshops moving forward.

PHOTOfocus and Evening Lectures are relatively new to RMSP. How long has each been in existence?

Our Free Evening Lectures started three years ago as an answer to one of Neil’s dreams that everyone should have an opportunity to learn photography. It’s a wonderful program because each month there’s a different topic and an instructor who specializes in teaching that topic. Oh yeah and it’s free! We have people coming down for the lectures from Polson and Great Falls every month.

PHOTOfocus is a brand new program that we introduced last year as a way for our local photographers to have an opportunity to experience RMSP’s first-rate education in an abbreviated amount of time…at a very reasonable cost.

Can you give our readers a brief explanation of RMSP’s 2-Day PHOTOfocus courses?

So, PHOTOfocus is a sample of what you would experience in a full weeklong workshop on a variety of subjects. This year in addition to the very successful exposure, composition and Lightroom topics, we’re adding a photojournalism and a youth weekend Photofocus. The best thing is we limit the number of participants to 16 so that everybody who signs up receives individual attention.

Is there a certain format they follow, in terms of field shooting, being in a classroom, homework, etc?

It’s basically the same format as in one of our regular weeklong workshops. Approximately 1/3 classroom lecture, 1/3 in-the-field shooting and 1/3 critique. There’s room and time for lots of one-on-one attention.

You mentioned there is a PHOTOfocus course geared toward youth.  Why design a course specifically for young people?

I’m very excited about this! I know that if I had experienced the thrill of what my eye could see and learned how photography could help me get to know myself earlier in life, I would have had so much more fun! Photography is self-expression and an amazing outlet for young folks to explore and create.

Are there any age restrictions on the Youth Weekend?

We’re thinking that youth refers to ages 12-20. You need to be old enough to be in a class on your own for a whole day. I see friends taking this together. Yes, bring a friend!

In 10 words or less, why should a “youth” take this course?

Photography is a creative way to express how you see the world. (ok, that’s 12 but who’s counting!).

And how about a brief explanation of the Free Evening Lecture Series? What can a person expect by attending these?

Come early! Seating is limited and we do get a crowd. You’ll get two hours of non-stop learning. The schedule runs through April 16th with a different topic every month. Check out a complete schedule on our website. No matter what level of photographer you are you’ll find something fun to learn. Our instructors are the same ones who teach here at the school in all of our programs. You’ll learn a lot!

Are there any prerequisites for either program?

Nope! Just a desire to learn and a respect for those who teach.

For a PHOTOfocus course, what kind of equipment should a person have with them? Computer, camera, lenses, a car…?

It depends somewhat on the course. All, except for Lightroom will need a camera that functions in manual mode, a laptop, or other image viewing device. The shoots are within walking distance, so a car is not necessary.  Also, snacks. Always bring snacks!  There are breaks during the day but we always pack in as many learning opportunities as we can.

Does RMSP rent/loan equipment for these courses?

Participants need to bring their own equipment.  By the way, for the Youth weekend – we’ll accept ANY kind of camera as long as students have a way to transfer the file to a jump drive for viewing and critique.

How does one go about signing up for any of these courses?

You can register for all PHOTOfocus courses online. Just go to www.rmsp.com. Or, if you have questions give me a call at 406-543-0171.