I recently attended a Rocky Mountain School of Photography(RMSP) weekend in Tucson, AZ and was very impressed.  RMSP, for those who are not familiar with it, is a Missoula, MT based photography school that offers a wide range of education opportunities in photography.  Their programs range from photography career training, to photography workshops based in some of the most beautiful and photographic location in the world to the Photography Weekends that I attended.

A Weekend with RMSP is a two day seminar geared towards “…beginner-through-intermediate amateur photographers.”  Each weekend is made up of 10 different photography seminars to choose from.  Each student can select 5 of the ten sessions based on their personal photography goals and interests.  The sessions are lead by experienced, working photographers and are very affordable.  Only $179 for both days ($169 if you take advantage of early and online registration discounts).  And you get a lot for your $179/$169.

The weekend I attend in Tucson was lead by Tim Cooper and Tony Rizzuto.  I will come back to these guys in a bit.  But first my thoughts on the 5 seminars I attended during the weekend.

The seminars we had to pick from are listed here.  I chose the ones in bold.

Photo Basics I

Understanding Exposure: Using the Zone System for Color

Photo Basics II

Workflow: Processing Your Images with Adobe Lightroom

Introduction to Macro Photography

Light: Creating Mood and Dimension

Video for Photographers: Capture and Composition

Composition: Designing a Great Photo

Nature Photography

Photographing People

Keep in mind that these are geared towards amateur photographers at the beginner to intermediate experience levels.  They are also short 2 hour sessions.  So the instructors are packing in a lot of information into each session and trying to target varying skill levels.  Don’t go in expecting in depth detail tailored to your specific level or needs.  I personally was very please with every aspect of the weekend and if you keep these things in mind I think most amateur photographers can get a great deal out of a RMSP Weekend.

I felt that I gained the most out of the Understanding Exposure: Using the Zone System for Color seminar lead by Tim Cooper.  One of the great things about the RMSP Weekend is that the instructors present the material in a very thorough and understandable manner.  They pack a lot into two hours and do a very good job with examples and making the connection between the concepts and how they will impact and improve your images.  Exposure is a concept that can be hard to grasp.  Most of us know that the aperture, shutter speed and ISO are what we control to get the exposure we want but an understanding of the Zone System introduces how light and color play into exposure and how to use them to get the perfect exposure every time.  This is one seminar I highly recommend attending.

Tony Rizzuto’s Composition: Designing a Great Photo was also very informative and very well presented.  There are so many “rules” for great composition and Tony did an excellent job of surveying the vast majority of them and again presenting examples to illustrate each in practice.  Whether it was S curves, negative space, or scale each were presented in a clear, understandable way with corresponding photographs demonstrating the concept for those of us that are more visual learners.

Each seminar I attended had something of value to offer.  The only drawback was that I was limited to 5 of the 10 seminars and I would have liked to have the chance to attend a few others.

As for the instructors, Tim Cooper and Tony Rizzuto in the case of the Weekend I attended, I was impressed.  I have taken photography classes before with teachers who are doing a job and are not very convincing that it is a job they like too much.  The were essentially filling up the time.  But it is obvious that Tim and Tony enjoy what they do and they put their whole selves into it.  They were both personable, very well versed on photography, informative and entertaining.  I cannot speak for any of the other instructors at RMSP but if these two are representative of the whole staff you can’t go wrong.

Overall, I can say that I got more out of this two day weekend than I did out of an entire semester of Digital Photography 101 at the local community college.  It was packed full of useful information for the amateur photographer and I came away with at least 3 very useful bits of information that I am certain will improve my photography once I incorporate them into my shoots and practice them.  Now if I can only drop $7500 and take 3 months off of life and attend the summer intensive in Montana.  After the Weekend Seminars I would have no doubt that any other program from RMSP would be well worth the investment.

3 Responses to “Rocky Mountain School of Photography Weekend Photography Seminar Review”

  1. mike studio city

    on February 28 2011

    I admire your passion for photography. It seems that you have found some good people to help you improve your talent. :)

  2. Mike

    on February 28 2011

    Thanks Mike – it helps to have good teachers.

  3. Carmella Hustoft

    on January 2 2014

    This review was very helpful. It was just what I needed to learn before making my decision to attend the weekend. Thanks!

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Name: (Required)

E-mail: (Required)