Weekend Intensive


Weekend Intensive

02/22/2014 - 02/23/2014
This photo weekend is past its starting date.
Please Note: If you are registering more than one participant, please call us at 1-800-394-7677 to process it for you.

Does your weekend to-do list include “get a blast of inspiration,” or “become a better photographer…and enjoy every second of it!”?

If these items appear on your list, our Photo Weekend in Denver can help! Instructors Tim Cooper and Eileen Rafferty provide dynamic seminar-style photo courses that are equal parts education, inspiration and good old-fashioned fun!

This Photo Weekend is designed so that you can tailor your own learning experience to your own needs. Here’s how it works: Over the course of the weekend, several sessions are offered. Each session contains two courses. You choose the course that sounds most appealing and applicable to you. The courses within each session are diverse, and offer fitting options for beginners through intermediate amateur photographers. For example, if you have been intimidated by your SLR and want to learn the essentials of photography, in Session One you might elect to attend Photography Basics rather than Workflow: Processing Your Images with Adobe® Lightroom®. Not interested in Shooting and Processing HDR and Panoramic Images? No problem. Simply attend Composition: Designing a Great Photo instead. It’s up to you! The final session of the weekend is an engaging, lively and anonymous group critique led by your instructors, which further reinforce many of the topics you learned throughout the weekend.

But that’s not all. A Photo Weekend also includes door prizes, possible visits from industry representatives and your local camera club(s), networking opportunities as well as a designated time for you to learn about the other amazing programs offered by RMSP. These two-day seminars are a convenient, affordable way for you to further your skills without wreaking havoc on your schedule.

Having “Attend RMSP Photo Weekend” on your to-do list will give you something fantastic to look forward to all week!


Map icons by: Maps Icons Collection

Meeting Space

Revel in two full days of photography instruction at RMSP’s Photo Weekend at the Homewood Suites by Hilton – Denver Downtown Convention Center in Denver, Colorado.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Denver Downtown Convention Center
550 15th Street
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 534-7800


If you need overnight accommodations, a limited number of rooms are being held at a special group rate at the Homewood Suites by Hilton – Denver Downtown Convention Center. Reservations can be made by calling the number listed above and asking for a room in the Rocky Mountain School of Photography room block or going to www.DenverDowntownConventionCenter.HomewoodSuites.com.

Rate: $114 per night + tax.

Cutoff date: Make your reservations by January 30, 2014. After this date any remaining rooms will be released from the room block and reservations will be based on availability.


Valet parking is available at the hotel for $16 per day or public lots directly across the street for $6-$12 per day.


Participants are on their own for lunch. We will break for lunch from 1:15-2:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 12:45-2 p.m. on Sunday.

There are restaurants within walking distance of the hotel that serve lunch daily.

Brown Bag It
You are welcome to bring a lunch with you.


8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Check-in
8:30 – 8:45 a.m. Orientation
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Session 1: Camera Techniques & Exposure
(Choose which track is right for you)


  • Getting Comfortable with your Camera Controls
  • ISO, Shutter Speeds, F-stops
  • Understanding Depth of Field
  • Outsmarting Your Meter
  • Capturing Portraits with Soft Backgrounds
  • Focusing Options
  • Reading your Histogram



  • Getting Consistently Good Exposures
  • Zone System for Color
  • Metering Modes
  • Bracketing
  • Low Light and Night Photography
  • Lightroom Tips and Tricks
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Lunch Break (on your own)
2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Session 2: Composition
(large group lecture)
4:45 – 6:00 p.m. Session 3: Creating a Lightroom Workflow
(large group lecture)


8:00 – 8:15 a.m. Check-in for Sunday-only participants
8:15 – 8:45 a.m. RMSP Workshops, Summer Intensive and Professional Intensive Info Session
8:45 – 10:45 a.m. Session 4: Understanding Light
(Large group lecture)
11:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Session 5: Genres (Landscape Track or People Track)
1:15 – 2:30 p.m. Lunch Break (on your own)
2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Session 6: Critique
4:30 – 5:00 p.m. Closing Session
(Wrap up and giveaways)


Session 1: Camera Techniques & Exposure

Ansel Adams said it best when he said, “Technical mastery is the foundation of artistry.” Indeed, once you learn your camera and how to make it work for you, you will be in control of your own creativity.


Based on your existing skill level, this session will set the tone for the remainder of the weekend. If you choose the Basic track, you will learn the building blocks of photography such as ISO, shutter speeds, and f-stops and how they work in concert with one another to determine exposure. Dissecting each one, you learn the range of shutter speeds, which to use in order to stop motion, 1/2 and 1/3 stops, and what it means to “open up” or “stop down.” Talking about f-stops (aka: aperture), you learn the f-stop scale, what happens inside your lens when you change to a bigger or smaller number, and how depth of field is determined.

You will learn about metering light, the importance of 18% reflectance and how a grey card, or natural grey card, can help with exposure. By the end of the session you will understand the limitations of how the camera sees light and reflectance so that you can create consistently good exposures using your camera’s spot meter.  You’ll also have complete control over how you record motion and depth of field in your images.


If you come to the Weekend already having a working knowledge of your camera and understand how to shoot in manual mode, you will most likely want to choose the Intermediate track, which will cover more advanced topics. Your instructor will spend time talking about situations that confuse your camera’s meter, how your camera calculates exposure, and the immensely helpful Zone System of exposure, where it came from, and the difference between the Zone System for color and black and white. You will also learn how to read tones and place them on the zone scale. Referring to your own camera, you learn the difference between metering patterns such as center-weighted, matrix, partial and spot. Your instructor will go through a camera menu to explain some of the options available, discuss auto-exposure bracketing and discuss low-light and night photography.

Session 2: Composition

What is composition? What makes composition good or bad? As a photographer, how can you use certain elements to your compositional advantage? These are just a few of the questions that will be answered during this session.

There are many points that go into designing a great photo. Your instructor will talk about the importance of pre-visualization, understanding what draws a viewer’s eye through a photo – including tones, shapes, colors, repetition, leading lines and framing elements. You will learn about the rule of thirds and significant power points within an image. Symmetry vs. asymmetry, negative space, perspective, lens focal length and brightness all contribute to creating an effective composition. In addition to each, you will be introduced to color theory and how analogous, complimentary and monochromatic colors create or disrupt color harmony in an image.

Session 3: Creating a Lightroom Workflow

Adobe Lightroom allows photographers unprecedented, non-destructive control over both RAW and JPEG images. This session leads you through the important initial steps of image correction and enhancement. Topics include creating a step-by-step workflow beginning with the initial import, correcting color balance and exposure, converting your images to black and white, and editing your images through the use of curves and the hue/saturation, and luminance sliders. Learning to make both global and local enhancements to your images without leaving Lightroom allows you to further streamline your image processing. Learning basic retouching techniques allows you to fix blemishes in portraits or remove spots in your landscapes while applying the look of hand-coloring and adding vignettes allows your creativity to flourish.

Session 4: Understanding Light

As a photographer, understanding qualities of light is essential to creating photographs with impact. In this session, you learn invaluable lessons about one factor of photography that is universal to photographers in every genre and at every skill level.

Together with the entire Weekend group, your instructors provide you with a guided tour of light, and its many components. Starting from the top, you learn how light is described in photography. You will dig into some seemingly obvious terms such as brightness, contrast, and color to learn what they really refer to. You will learn how to control brightness and the pros and cons of each exposure control tool. Contrast can make or break a photo. Here, you will learn what contrast is, how your eye sees contrast vs. how your camera sees it, and when high or low contrast can be beneficial. Many things impact the quality of light including size, direction, distance from the source, weather and time of day. You will learn about each, and how to adapt to make them work for you. Finally, you get a primer on the basics of fill flash. Terms like TTl, ETTL and exposure compensation will make sense after this class.

Session 5: Genres


If your interests lie in capturing images of the great outdoors – be it wildlife or beautiful nature scenes around you – this track is right for you. There is a lot to cover in this session, which your instructors will do! You begin by learning what makes a landscape photo good vs. great. Then, you learn how to make them yourself by learning tools of the trade including cameras, tripods, lenses, backpacks and polarizing filters. You examine effective landscape compositions to see how horizon lines, the rule of thirds, camera position and lens choice all contribute to making images work. Your instructor discusses atmospheric conditions and how each plays a role in your photography: Cloudy days vs. sunny days, overall vs. detail shots, high angle of light vs. low angle. You’ve most likely heard of the “golden hours” in photography. But do you know what makes these hours so golden? Your will learn this as well as general guidelines for photographing twilight, sunrise and sunset. On top of that, you cover the basics of blending exposures into one image, how to shoot for these situations, and other pre- and post-capture considerations.


If you are more interested in working with human subjects to capture special moments, personality, and mood, this track is where you will want to be. One of the most important parts of photographing another person is establishing a rapport with them. Your instructor will speak about methods to use to approach your subject, how to connect with them and make them feel comfortable. You will learn the difference between a traditional portrait and an environmental portrait and when each might be called for. Lens and lighting choices are a big part of portrait photography. Through examples and demonstrations, you witness the effects of each first hand. Recalling the topics covered in the Light session, you get to see them in action here as the effects of light direction, temperature and source are displayed in this course. You learn composition for portraiture and how camera orientation, cropping, background choice, and the positioning of a subject’s eyes can make the difference between a portrait that works vs. one that doesn’t. Storytelling is a huge part of people photography. Capturing mood, expression, moment, and emotion in one image – as well as over a few images – are all important to tell a story to a viewer. After you have captured a great image, after-capture retouching can give your photos the last little bit of love they need in order to make them jump! Briefly going into Lightroom, your instructor will demonstrate global vs. local adjustments, and show a few retouching tips that can be effectively applied to most portraits.

Session 6: Critique

The sixth and final session of the weekend is also the most popular! This group critique is your chance to submit an image to be critiqued on the big screen by your two instructors. A way to see how you could have improved your image, this session also provides an opportunity for your instructor to reaffirm many of the topics covered in each session. You are encouraged to NOT show your most perfect image here. This is a chance to show an image with a few flaws so you can benefit from hearing – and seeing – what your instructors have to say about improving for next time.

We encourage you to participate in this critique! If you would like to receive feedback on an image, please bring one photo (preferably in JPEG format) loaded on a flash drive. (If you have more than one photo on your flash drive we will select only one to critique).

Tim Cooper began his career as a commercial and assignment photographer working with clients such as The North Face, Vasque, 3M and The International Heart Institute of Montana. His editorial and commercial photographs have appeared in Travel and Leisure, The New York Times Magazine, Outdoor Photographer, Fly Rod and Reel, Northern Lights and Private Clubs as covers, advertising, art and editorial illustration. Tim now spends most of his time as an educator and writer, lecturing on photographic and digital imaging technologies. Tim has been the consultant and technical editor for many digital imaging books as well as the co-author of the book, Complete Photoshop® CS4 for Digital Photographers, as well as Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots with Gabriel Biderman. In his spare time, he continues his pursuit of fine art photography of the natural world.

View other courses taught by Tim Cooper.

Eileen Rafferty is an artist who combines her lifelong study of photography with digital technology to create mixed media and video installations. Based on ideas of memory, photographic history and visual culture, her work fuses archival imagery with modern technology to reposition the past into the present. Eileen worked as a freelance photographer, educator and digital technician in the Washington, D.C. area. She was also a custom darkroom printer for clients including National Geographic, The Kennedy Center and a previous White House administration. She received her MFA in photography and film from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.

View other courses taught by Eileen Rafferty.


Do I need to bring a camera? What else should I bring?
Yes, please bring your camera so that you can work with it during the first session on Saturday morning in either the Basic or Intermediate track. It is also a good idea to bring your camera manual.  In addition, please bring your own note-taking materials as most people take lots of notes during the Weekend.  The rooms are set up "classroom style" with tables and chairs to make note-taking easier. Feel free to bring your laptop computer with you, but please bring it fully charged. In addition, we encourage you to participate in the critique session on Sunday afternoon. If you would like to receive feedback on an image, please bring one photo (preferably in JPEG format) loaded on a flash drive. (If you have more than one photo on your flash drive we will select only one to critique).
Will there be time for shooting?
While there will be opportunities to work with your camera in order to understand some of the concepts being taught, there are no shooting sessions scheduled during the event.
I see that you have more than one offering on a couple of the sessions. Do I have to let you know ahead of time which of the two choices I want to attend?
You do not need to let us know ahead of time which sessions you want to attend. However, about two weeks prior to the event for which you are registered, you will be sent class outlines for all the sessions.  You can review those and make your plans to attend the sessions that interest you the most and those that feel like the best fit for you, your interests and skill level.
How many people attend Weekend Intensives?
In order to ensure a great experience for all our students, we've capped attendance for our 2017 Weekend Intensives to 80 people.
How early should I register to ensure a seat at a Weekend Intensive?
Registrations often come in spurts, so even though there may be plenty of spots left for an event today, there may not be space tomorrow. We encourage you to sign up early to ensure a seat at the Weekend Intensive of your choice. In the past, some events have sold out as early as five weeks before the event.
What happens when an event sells out?
After an event sells out we stop processing registrations and start a waiting list for that Weekend Intensive. There are always cancellations so we suggest that you put your name on the waiting list even if an event has sold out.
How can I add my name to the waiting list?
To add your name to the waiting list, call or email our office and provide us with your name, phone number(s) and the event you would like to attend. You may call (800) 394-7677, or email Bob McGowan in our office at bobm@rmsp.com. You will be notified by phone if a spot opens up.
What are my chances of getting registered for a Weekend Intensive if I’m on a waiting list?
Your chances depend on where you are on the list and how many cancellations we have for that particular Weekend Intensive. The number of cancellations we receive for each Weekend varies. We will continue to contact people on the waiting list up until 5 p.m. (Mountain Time) the Friday before the event.
When is the deadline to sign up?
There is no deadline to sign up, however, seating is limited to 80 students and all registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage students to sign up early in order to guarantee a seat.
What is your cancellation policy?
Tuition is refunded in full minus a $25 processing fee (per student) if you notify RMSP at least five days before the event. If your cancellation is received fewer than five days prior to the Weekend Intensive, full tuition is retained by RMSP. No refunds are given for cancellations or no-shows after the Weekend Intensive is in progress. Refunds will be processed within 30 days after our office receives notice of cancellation.
I registered and paid for a Weekend Intensive, but now I find that I can't make it.  Can I transfer my registration to my friend who wants to go in my place?
Yes, your registration is transferable to a person of your choosing.  But please call Bob McGowan at our office and let him know what's happening so that he can get your friend's contact information for the roster and all the pre-weekend information we provide.
Do I have to pay for the Weekend Intensive at the time I register?
Yes, tuition is due at the time of registration.
If I am part of a group, do I save on the cost of registration?
If you are part of a group of five or more people attending a Weekend Intensive you will save $20 on the tuition.
What do I do to set up my group and get a group code?
Contact our office and let us know that you would like to set up a group and receive a group code for tuition savings. You will be asked for your group or camera club name and we will give you a code to distribute to your group members. Once the members of your group have the code, they may call in or register online using the code to receive the group savings. You may also fax or email the list of names and contact information of those in your group. Remember to submit name, address, telephone number, email address and payment information for each person being registered.
How do I know my group's code?
If you don’t know your group’s code, or don’t know if one has been assigned to your group, call our office and we can give you a code. If your group had a code that was assigned in previous years, it will no longer be valid. New group codes are assigned each year.
I received a gift certificate from my camera club for a Weekend Intensive. What do I need to do?
Please call our office to register, free of charge, for the Weekend Intensive you wish to attend. Have the gift certificate handy when you call because you will be asked to provide the certificate code located in the upper right corner of the certificate. Please keep in mind that even though you have a gift certificate, you must still register for the Weekend Intensive you wish to attend before it is sold out in order to guarantee your seat.
I received a $50 coupon after attending a Weekend Intensive last year. Can I use it on a Weekend event this year?
Any coupon or gift certificate you received at a previous Weekend Intensive is good toward any RMSP workshop, Summer Intensive or Professional Intensive. Plus, if you enroll in Summer Intensive or Professional Intensive we'll apply the tuition you paid for the Weekend Intensive to that course. 
I have taken RMSP Workshops and Weekend Intensives in the past and am now a “Friend” of RMSP (which means I save $50 when registering for Workshops). Can I use this discount toward my Weekend Intensive tuition?
No, sorry. The “Friends” savings may only be applied to RMSP Workshops.
Will I receive confirmation after I register?
If we have an email address on file for you, you will receive an immediate message confirming your registration. The email will include a link to access event information specific to the Weekend Intensive you’ve registered for, including a weekend schedule and venue information. If we do not have an email address for you, you will not receive a confirmation message but you may call our office at (800) 394-7677 to confirm your registration.
Will I receive any information ahead of time?
Yes. About a month before the Weekend Intensive you will be sent instructional videos on the internal workings of a DSLR camera, how lenses work, basic camera controls and common photographic accessories. Two weeks prior to the event you will receive a reminder which will include a link to information such as directions to the venue, parking costs and a schedule. At that time you will also be sent course outlines which will list the topics to be covered in each of the sessions. By having this information ahead of time you will be able to make an informed choice about which sessions you will want to attend. Finally, on the Tuesday before the event, you will receive detailed electronic handouts covering the major topics covered in the Weekend Intensive curriculum.  If you did not provide an email address when registering, please call the office and provide an email address to which we can email the information.
Can I bring an audio recorder for the lectures?
Yes, you may bring an audio recording device to record lectures. Visual recording of the lectures is not allowed. Please ask individual instructors for permission before photographing their presentation slides. Presentations are the intellectual property of each instructor.
Is lunch included?
Lunch is on your own.
Do you have special rates at the hotel?
Yes. At most of the events, we have blocked a limited number of rooms for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at a special group rate. On our website see the Hotels tab on the event you are attending for rates and reservation information. There is usually a cutoff date of approximately 30 days so we encourage you to make your reservation early.

Cancellation Policy

Tuition is refunded in full minus a $25 processing fee (per participant) if you notify RMSP at least five business days before the event. If your cancellation is received fewer than five days prior to the program, full tuition is retained by RMSP. No refunds are given for cancellations or no-shows after the program is in progress. Refunds will be processed within 30 days after our office receives notice of cancellation.