From Annie Leibovitz's MasterClass

Case Study Part 1: Photographing Alice Waters

Annie brings you inside a photo shoot with the renowned chef Alice Waters. Learn how Annie built the concept for the photos, conducted research, and prepared for the shoot.

Topics include: Building the Concept • Inspiration • Preproduction • Music • Lighting


Annie brings you inside a photo shoot with the renowned chef Alice Waters. Learn how Annie built the concept for the photos, conducted research, and prepared for the shoot.

Topics include: Building the Concept • Inspiration • Preproduction • Music • Lighting

Annie Leibovitz

Teaches Photography

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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.

It has emphasised the importance of focussing on the intent and emotional the image, not just the technical aspect, about conveying an idea, an emotion as the core driver for wanting to photograph something or someone. It's about the meaning

It introduced me to Annie’s perspective and beautiful photography and particularly,about the importance of telling a story that matters to you. I shall go out into the world now and look with new eyes. I have never been a photographer but I have been an observer of people. Rather than using my eyes, as a voice coach, I use my ears.It’ll be fun to put the two together .

The class was inspiring to me to go out and shoot photos in a way I’ve never done before. I can’t wait to get started.

The class has helped me discover what it truly means to be a photographer. Annie has taught me that portrait photography isn't about capturing someone for who they really are, because that never happens. Photography is more of an instinct; it's about following your gut, and taking pictures that mean something to you. She has taught me a lot.


Nera K.

To be honest, this chapter was really slow and boring. It took me many tries for watching it full cause i would fall asleep everytime. It would have been nice to at least get some technical info, as which camera and lens she used or something about the strobe and difussion.

J'nee H.

She suggested to try a portrait with a stylist, etc. So I wanted to explore a faceless portrait. Probably outside the rules/description but I love the composition and color and facelessness of my dancer subject.

Juanita B.

Can you provide some insight on the best camera and lens for a new photographer?

Brenda K.

I enjoy listening to Annie about when taking photos to look for the meaning and what is important to the subject. Even if the subject is an animal find the simple and what means something to that subject. So I took this photo a couple of days ago. How you have to be patient with exactly what you would like to capture on the photo. Very simple and yet like it is so natural. I am a beginner to all of this and that is why I am taking in all that she mentions about the subject and what to really search for in taking a photo to capture the best photo for that day.

A fellow student

This has really gotten stale. Annie talking about Annie. This is not Annie Leibovitz "teaches photography. " This is Annie teaching about Annie.

Charles B.

I learned some things in this lesson. Alice Waters, adding music (although I've thought about that before) during the shoot; the two most important aspects for me. I suggest Annie consider having a much larger canopy to shoot under. A parachute, for example, will allow ambient light and will help to keep her from being crowded with all the extra hands, and give the soft light she enjoys working with.

Jan K.

Again small idea, 20 people doing real work and Annie just pushing the button, that's all Pfftttt

Rick L.

Another great lesson. I have worked with music and Annie is right, the wrong music can be death. I tried having the subjects bring their own recorded music and then many times I have to suffer through some awful music. Music sure can help though. Personal Choice. I do appreciate Annie's talking about the thought process that goes into the decisions and also that she did not like her previous photos of Alice. Sometimes we want to capture something we can't even put to words or idea and that can be frustrating even if we get "good" photos we might not be happy. For those who want more technical info, look at the shoot. Note the type of fan she uses, note where she puts her subjects, the position of the arms, hands, body in relation to the camera and background. In this on note how she feathers the light shooting across the subject (away a bit, not texture lighting) rather than right at her, it gives a much flatter, softer light. It is all in there if we look.

Amy M.

For the past several years i have been working on a street pictorial of Chattanooga. The work has at times changed direction. This class has given me some clarity and some tools to finish my project.

Caroline M.

Not sure who I'll pick to work with - probably my 13 year old daughter who is very honest about what she thinks!