From Annie Leibovitz's MasterClass

Creating Concepts

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.*

Topics include: Research • Concepts • Case Studies


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.*

Topics include: Research • Concepts • Case Studies

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 was very interesting to see how a professional does it and hear her thought process. The one thing that made this hard as a student is when trying to take time to view photograph and pause the video, the screen would go dark and suggest other video's, not allowing you a good visual with as much time as you needed to study the photos on screen.

Brilliant. What a genuine and authentic soul, how lucky to have taken this course. Thank you Anne

I'm so sad it's over but feel so inspired again to hear Annie's sorry and how she feels about photography. It's so much a part of her, deep in her soul. She's truly amazing to me. Thank you for sharing your world Annie.

Wonderful teachings. Loved hearing the stories behind the photos. Will definitely be watching it again and again.


Rob M.

I think what is striking is how Annie is startlingly open in the moment with her subjects to mix it up completely and do something which to others might feel random. She seems to have an innate ability to read what her subject is comfortable with and then just run with that. (e.g. Schumer no underwear, Haring comfortable with just paint on in private so let's go to Times Square, etc.). Combining that openness to spontaneity with her level of preparedness going into the shoot is what makes the magic happen I think. Many who have prepared so diligently would not be so willing to cede control when it's time to execute I don't think. Many would try to script more of the shoot than it seems Annie ever does. This is a picture of my dear friend and high school math teacher, Hank. A lifelong learner himself, he taught for over 50 years.

Rachel C.

This is Delight. That is her name. She was an theatre actress back in 30's or 40's. Talking her about your past and the photographs taken when she was young as a model and headshots. She was an interesting person to talk to.

Peggy J.

I find Annie fascinating to listen to, hear her brain clicking in remembering the thought processes and the surprises she experiences with her portrait personalities and ultimate end results. Stating that -with placing her subjects “in the middle of an idea” gives the photographer, any artist really, a place to start, but leaves it open for spontaneous creative genius. That’s magical!

Charles L.

Wow, great lesson and look forward to injecting more of these conceptual concepts into my work. This is a photo (medium format film) of my grandmother only 6 months before she passed away. I love that I have this memory.


What an artist!...A big intuition , I'm taking this class coming from filmmakers class, but the power of a single image is really fascinating. I took my camera out today and..they´re not great, its practice.. I will do the homework .. it´s just great.. this class sparked my desire for creativity! it!

R. Greg S.

I find it awkward to ask people to pose while I photograph them. The idea in this lesson of picturing them in a situation that expresses their approach to life should make the process a more natural situation for the subject and the photographer. Here, I have a picture of my brother, a retired railroad engineer, taken inside a train as he waited for a journey to begin.

Steffi P.

Something that struck me during this lesson was her comment on the pool shots emulating her work. Clearly it's done by people who only look at the pictures and don't understand the connections Annie has made in order to create these portraits with her subjects. But even if you could emulate the kind of research she does, and the thought process behind her work; you cannot emulate her eye, her way of putting together all the elements, that is hers alone. Nor is it necessary to. What is necessary is to do the work and find your own voice emerging through it. And i believe that comes through in this lesson. :)

Dorrie M.

Loved it! So wonderful to hear Ms. Leibovitz talk about how she is inspired and what drives her.

Craig R.

Annie's students are amazing! A great bunch of folks, thank you for allowing me into your "Life's".

Joe F.

This is my assignment I asked my friend to give me a picture of when he was young and he brought me a picture from when he was in high school and I asked him what he thought he was going to do when he was at that age. He said a mechanic and that was what he has done all his life. Soon after he graduated he went to work for a Ford dealership and worked on a lot of trucks I have a 1970 Ford pickup so I thought that would be a good back drop for our shoot.