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.

I really enjoyed watching her lessons. Annie is a true artist. Love her work. Thank you

A fantastic approach to understanding what it is to be a photographer, it has re-inspired me to start a personal project and work on my ideas.

I finished watching did the first time but will watch over and over.

I learn a lot in thinking process from the class and wish to complete all of the assignments given to me after the class and looking forward to submit it to review.


Andrea P.

Some people have a misconception that being a photographer is easy. Especially today, when everyone is capable of shooting "good" photos with their smartphones. But, photography is so much more than that. I feel that this lesson is really important because it's about thinking about the subject and creating a concept, a story. Research is key in any art form. Research and practice.

Gretchen B.

Just finished the second video. So far I'm really enjoying learning about the history of her photos, and what inspired them.

Barbara D.

The idea of the concept as emanating from the subject is really important. This emanation can begin through the research one does, which Annie suggests is vital. It can also emerge through the interactions one has in the photographic events.

William P.

Just finished listening to Annie talk about how her photographic style with her subjects developed. I get what she's talking about when she talks about her conflict over picking an image to represent someone. Who are we if not different phases of rising personas? Sometimes we're trying out gestures, clothing styles, friends as experiments to find out who we might be, who we might want to become. These are all sort of soundings to find out more about ourselves and what our potential is. So I think it's a useful part of portraiture to try and capture when you see a glimmering of that possible self developing in another person.

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.