Design, Photography, & Fashion

Creating Concepts

Annie Leibovitz

Lesson time 17:52 min

Annie breaks down her process for developing imaginative and creative concepts for her photo shoots, sharing examples from Tess Gallagher, Amy Schumer, Keith Haring, Whoopi Goldberg, and more.*

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.

Really nice! Will watch again and practice whith each of the assignents :).

Inspiring and insightful. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of Annie and the group discussions along with all the image examples.

I've learned to keep working on looking and seeing, and to learn from those who came before.

I intend to go through this class several times. This is the first and I wanted to treat it as a lecture series so I can get an overview of the entire class and to prevent the assignments from disrupting the quality of the class. It was, and will be again, a pleasure. Thank you.


Nassira B.

I liked the discussion and the ideas but i was wondering if there is any practical classes how to take pictures with the camera or all the classes are only discussion and the history of the photographer teacher.

Susanne R.

I have asked some of our neighbors to be model and from what they told med i made these 2 pictures.

John S.

The case studies are interesting as specific instances of "placing subjects in the middle of an idea." Again, however, very little on the set-up and execution of the photos themselves technically. Her assignments feel like first year photography assignments for artists with little or no experience, and though I know that many here will fall into that category, there are also professionals here interested in further depth from a master. That requires more detail.

John S.

It's clear that Leibovitz is headed more into how to "see" than she is about addressing the technical aspects of photography. She even states in this lesson that the technical stuff is the last consideration after "seeing" the shot. So far, this is more a philosophical discussion about photography as done by Annie Leibovitz, and less a master class intended to teach her step-by-step approach to getting a specific shots. To be fair, there are millions of how-to guides out there for technical approach, and we do need to hear more about the mental aspect of working with subjects, getting the feel of place and circumstance, and creating context -- feeling the photography. However, in paying the price for a "workshop" I hope to have more nuts and bolts via Leibovitz's approach as well.

Erin B.

I am hoping for more in-depth discussions and lessons. Towards the end of this particular lesson, I jotted down some notes when Annie began discussing what makes a "good" photograph. The personal meaning behind it and how each photograph is connected to an individual's feelings and vision. This was helpful!

Megan V.

As a cowardly self taught photographer I am so grateful to have this incredible resource, we are in such an amazing time to have the opportunity learn from the best through this medium! I love listening to Annie teach. After watching this I practiced on my nephew and had a lot of fun trying to pose him without posing him lol.

Wil C.

Annie as much as I adore your work and as a frustrated crap photographer, I am a therapist photographing mental illness of many years with a back catalogue work few have seen. I notice there's more name dropping (names don't need mentioned) than content. I know context and atmosphere are important too but this could be ten minutes rather than 18. I honestly don't know what you are saying outside of the two salient points you make. Hope this helps as I am still in awe of your work.

Laura S.

I was frustrated because it seemed to be just random discussion of her experiences. I do think there is a take away message there but I am probably not a good enough photographer yet to follow it.

laura J.

Question how many pictures are taken until she knows it is done? Does Ms. Leibovitz do her own developing the old fashion way or is it all digital?


Thanks a lot. I was so fascinated by the stories of meetings with the subjects and by the unexpected birth of ideas! In my opinion, this is what makes a photo deep and powerful.