The Modern Studio
From Career Training student to New York City assistant to running a thriving commercial, editorial, and retail photo studio, Heather Anne Thomas is doing exactly what she set out to do when she enrolled at RMSP. Now, after 11 successful years, she is passing on her experience and knowledge.
Throughout the week, Thomas shares what went into creating her business from scratch—branding, marketing, bookkeeping, and building your “team,” including digital technicians, retouchers, assistants, accountants, and lawyers. She also delivers insightful lectures about getting the most from your subjects, whether hired models or people on the street. You learn techniques for lighting on location, working with stylists, equipment choices for various shooting scenarios, and methods for delivering the finished product. During group photo shoots you gain experience as primary photographer, first assistant, and post-production coordinator to better understand each role. Assignments include photographing a mock wedding party, an in-studio family, an interior, and creating images of food and still life at a local coffee shop. Thomas provides informative group critiques of your images and offers a private portfolio review of your work at the end of the week.
This course begins Monday, September 2 at 9:00 a.m. and ends Friday, September 6 by 5:00 p.m. Your class will be held at Rocky Mountain School of Photography.
Visit our local hotels page for lodging options and special rates.
Parking downtown is metered Monday-Friday. There is a convenient parking garage, Central Park, located less than one block west of the school at 128 West Main Street (www.ci.missoula.mt.us/parking). Parking downtown on Saturdays and Sundays is free.
Most major car rental companies are available in Missoula and have counters at Missoula International Airport. Please visit the airport website for more details: www.flymissoula.com/Ground_Transportation.
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 General Manager Ethan Ranger directly:
Travel During Workshop
You are responsible for your own transportation during the course. For transportation to and from field shoots, we suggest that you carpool to get to know fellow students. You will have an opportunity to set up carpooling for the week in your first class meeting.
You are responsible for your own meals during the course. 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.
What are the entrance requirements for Professional Studies?Professional Studies courses are taught on an advanced level and will not cover basic photographic techniques. For this reason, you must be able to confidently operate your camera in manual mode. You must be competent in the areas of digital capture, image processing and management, and working with artificial lighting. Further information on our enrollment requirements is available by contacting our office. SI graduates are accepted into any Professional Studies course upon submission of a registration form. RMSP reserves the right in specific instances to evaluate a student’s proficiency in the foundation skills taught in Summer Intensive before advancing a student to continue on to the Professional Studies and Advanced Intensive sessions. If a Summer Intensive student is not approved for advancement into Professional Studies or Advanced Intensive, tuition paid in those sessions will be refunded. Because these courses are intensive and do not cover basic principles of photography, a student who cannot demonstrate an intermediate level of knowledge will not fully benefit from the course material. Professional Studies applicants that have not graduated from Summer Intensive we will be asked to submit materials demonstrating photographic skill sets:
- RMSP Pro Studies Application Form - this is an online survey that will ask for your previous education in photography, expertise level with specific skills, and goals for the training.
- Portfolio - You will be asked to provide 15 images that represent your best work, submitted in 2 formats: RAW and processed digital files (ie. .jpeg, .bmp). Please submit your images by clicking here. The portfolio content does not need to include subjects related to the course(s) for which you are applying, but must demonstrate an understanding of the elements of visual design as well as effective use of available and artificial light, depending on the class you want to take. It is best if the portfolio can express intention in the sequencing of images.
When do the 2014 Professional Studies courses run?There is a week long break at the end of Summer Intensive. Professional Studies courses are scheduled during the period between Summer Intensive and Advanced Intensive. Professional Studies courses are five days long, beginning Mondays at 9am and ending Fridays at 5pm. Students may enroll in one class each week.
Who should attend?Professional Studies courses comprise Session 2 of the Career Training Program. These courses are designed for skilled photographers who want a concentrated education in a particular field of photography. Professional Studies students are looking to earn money with their photography and they want to learn from others who are doing it. If you want the opportunity to develop and strengthen your professional style and techniques, build confidence in your photography through “real world” shoots, and recognize your strengths and challenges through critiques of your work, you have come to the right place. It’s not necessary to attend either Summer Intensive or Advanced Intensive to attend these courses, however you should consider the advantage that both of those programs can give you. Students accepted into this program must demonstrate advanced skill level. If you can’t do it all in one year, consider coming back to finish up.
Should I take more than one Professional Studies course?Any Professional Studies course can stand alone, but if you want to make the most of your time in Missoula and take full advantage of what we have to offer, consider taking more than one course. We've structured these courses to allow the student to design his or her own individual curriculum from a variety of offerings. Four weeks of Professional Studies courses give students flexibility in setting up a personalized line-up. Please keep in mind that enrollment in all classes is strictly limited. Classes are filled on a first come, first served basis and typically fill early.
Do I need to be a Summer Intensive graduate to attend?No, it is not necessary to attend the Summer Intensive program in order to enroll in a Professional Studies class. Most Professional Studies students have (or will have) graduated from Summer Intensive, while others have photographic training and experience that allows them to meet our entrance requirements. Students who have not graduated from SI must meet the enrollment requirements that are outlined below.
Why would it be a good idea to take Advanced Intensive after Professional Studies?Professional Studies classes are “Session 2” of the Career Training program. In a Professional Studies class you’ll gain tremendous insight into the world of working in a particular field of photography. You’ll work side by side with a professional who makes his or her living doing just that. You’ll find out the business and marketing considerations of that particular field. Following that, we recommend that you take the next step, Advanced Intensive. You’ve mastered the fundamentals of photography (SI), focused on a career path (Professional Studies) now you can round out your photographic education with the Advanced Intensive program. Learn how to operate professionally with digital technology, spend time shooting in your particular area of interest, begin to develop your business and a personalized marketing plan that works for you.
How does Professional Studies differ from your workshops?Professional Studies courses are a totally different animal than our workshops. The course content, student population and expectations differ tremendously from one to the other. The Professional Studies classes are designed for the professional level photography student who wants to make at least a part time income photographing. The content is directed toward giving the student as much information as possible in a short amount of time about how to operate professionally in a particular field. Students are on a more advanced level and they come with the expectation of strengthening their professional style and techniques. Critiques are more directed and focused on marketability.
What is the cutoff date for enrollment?We accept registration on a first come, first served basis until a course is full. We recommend that students enroll early due to the enrollment limit. Although classes typically fill very quickly, we will accept enrollment up to the start of classes if space is available.
How many students are in the Professional Studies courses?In order to provide an excellent educational experience, we limit our enrollment to 16 students in each class.
What is a typical day like?A typical day in a Professional Studies course is packed full of a combination of lectures, shooting and critiques. Daily schedules vary from course to course depending on the instructor and course material.
Will I be shooting during class?An important feature of most Professional Studies classes is time spent shooting during class with your instructor on hand to assist and guide you in the field and/or in the studio.
Will I be working with models?An important feature of many, though not all, of the Professional Studies courses is the studio and location shoots. Your instructor and an assistant are on hand to work with you in “real world” shooting situations. These shoots represent tremendous opportunities for you to practice new techniques, learn additional skills and gain confidence in your photography. Your models for these shoots will be people from the Missoula community, not professional models. They represent a variety of looks, styles and ages. These models typify some of the diversity of people you may be asked to photograph in your career.
Will I be shooting individually or with a group?Students in the class will be broken down into small shooting groups. Shooting with a group is exciting and challenging and students benefit from working together.
Are these classes designed for me to build my portfolio?No, Professional Studies shooting sessions are not designed for portfolio building. These are learning opportunities for you to gain and practice new techniques. While you will most likely come away with some great images, shoots during class are not designed for the student to get a "perfect" photograph. Instead, they are meant to be an effective and essential component of the educational experience.
What kind of equipment and supplies do I need?The Career Training Equipment and Supplies Checklist covers the basic equipment needed for Professional Studies courses. Any additional specialty equipment requirements by instructors will be communicated to enrolled students in the spring before the program begins.
Do I need a digital camera and a laptop computer?Yes. A digital camera and laptop computer are essential.
Where do I stay during the Professional Studies courses?Lodging is the responsibility of the student. We can provide you with a list of local hotels in Missoula that offer affordable rates.
Cancellation PolicyThe act of registering for a Career Training class creates an obligation to pay. All classes have a limited number of seats available. Your registration, along with the appropriate deposit reserves a seat in that class. Payment of the deposit is due at the time of the registration. Students have until June 30, 2014 to pay their tuition in full. If payment has not been paid by this date, the student will be dropped from that class for non-payment. Once a student is dropped from a class, RMSP will run through a waitlist process to fill the empty seat with a qualified student. A student that has been dropped due to non-payment may register again for the course if there is an available seat or he/she may ask to be placed on the wait-list. A student on a wait-list will be contacted via email or phone when an available seat opens up. The student will have until the close of the next business day to inform the RMSP office if he/she would like to take the spot. If the student does not respond in that timeframe, the spot will be offered to the next person on the wait-list.
Drop/AddSwitching classes is allowed, however there will be a $20 switching fee applied to all classes switched.
- A full refund of all money paid less the $50 registration fee will be made to any applicant who cancels the enrollment agreement within 72 hours (until midnight of the third day, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays) after the enrollment agreement is signed by the applicant.
- A full refund of all money paid will be made to any applicant who is not accepted by the school.
- A full refund of all money paid will be made to any applicant in the event that educational services are discontinued by RMSP.
- For cancellations received in our office at least 60 days prior to the start of the course, RMSP refunds any tuition paid, less a $50 processing fee.
- For cancellations received in our office 30 to 60 days prior to the start of the course, RMSP refunds any tuition paid, less a $50 registration fee and the tuition deposit.
- For cancellations received in our office within 30 days prior to the start of the course, no tuition refund is due to the student.