Design, Photography, & Fashion

Case Study: Angels in America Photoshoot for Vogue Magazine

Annie Leibovitz

Lesson time 10:13 min

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at Annie's photoshoot for Vogue magazine, where she captures the cast of Angels in America. Watch her and her team set up the photoshoot, effect her concept, and show the way she works with her subjects.

Annie Leibovitz
Teaches Photography
Annie brings you into her studio and onto her shoots to teach you everything she knows about portraiture and telling stories through images.
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The Art Of The Photo

Annie Leibovitz was the first woman to be named chief photographer at Rolling Stone and the last person to take a portrait of John Lennon. In her first online photography class, Annie shows us that what makes a picture stunning isn’t the gear or technology—it’s the story. Annie teaches you her philosophy: how to develop concepts, work with subjects, shoot with natural light, and bring images to life in post-production. See the world through her eyes.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Annie Leibovitz is the really inspiration of my live!

Truly inspirational. The focus on simplicity is my most important takeaway. The best part however is to believe in myself and to give myself permission to be a photographer. I am off to buy a camera and start a new chapter in my life. What fun at 65 - thank you Annie.

What an extraordinary class! It's about learning to see.

My hope was to understand how she approaches photography, thinks through her process, and what she looks for. This course delivered these.


A fellow student

Favorite lesson in this class so far. Seeing it come together. And the leaf blowers ;-)

A fellow student

Listening to legendary photographer and learning a lot from this. Thank you, Annie.

Karen R.

As others have said, this was fascinating to watch. Interesting to see all the aspects of what goes on behind the camera - people holding up the wings, leaf-blowers to create wind, umbrellas to adjust the light. As well as Annie's direction to each person, to get the right expressions and composition. Very intimidating! I definitely feel more comfortable photographing non-verbal subjects. haha

Steve H.

It was compelling to see the kinetics of the photoshoot and the team that helped produce the final images. The staging was most creative but the actual photographs were produced by a true Master. Fun to observe!

Rob M.

I've read some of the critique below wishing that Annie was spelling out certain things like her thoughts behind this vision, technical aspects of the shoot, and so on. My belief is that this short lesson was extremely beneficial for a couple reasons. First, it reminds us of the possibility that what you think may be mundane and not very exciting can actually be transformed into something compelling. During the photoshoot itself, I saw the "angel" as the most intriguing, but in the final picture much less so. In fact, I thought it was Nathan Lane. I think this lesson is extremely thought provoking for the very reason that Annie didn't spoon feed us her thought processes. I think we're prompted to wonder more readily "what would I do if it were me?" or "how else might this have been shot?" Rewatching this episode is worthwhile because we have far more information at the end of the first viewing that can help us with insights about the beginning portion.

Michael O.

Well guys, this is pretty much what a play production photo shoot looks like. You set the time and location, and you shoot from the hip. Yes, you prep, but on location, there are so many variables, your best shot is to live in the moment, catch the unexpected, the rare, the master shot. To be fair, good theatre is always walking that edge. It's volatility is one of its ingredients. So, why would you expect a theatre photo shoot to be any less improvised or volatile. That said, although this lesson was a blast to watch, the final print was awfully stiff and stagey.

A fellow student

My son is an artist. We can take pictures of the same thing at the same time and his will be beautiful and mine will look like a snapshot. That is why I'm taking this class.

Robert C.

I know that everyone wants to know all the technicalities of this shoot. They want to know Photoshop and all the other technical aspects. I think from the beginning you realize that this is not the type of course to garner that type of information. It is designed to have a mindset, a philosophy, an attitude or a mental approach to taking photos. You have to observe and closely listen to the entire masterclass more than once to truly understand the depth and wisdom of her course.

Rane M.

I would have preferred more of the prep and post details for this shoot than the Alice Walters shot.

April B.

To me, this is not where Annie shines. Give me her gritty, raw, natural lighting and simple subject any day. She turns it into a masterpiece.