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.

I came to this class in search of inspiration and I what I found was beyond my expectations. Annie's approach is so warm and inviting and her work speaks for itself. I'm so glad I took this class and I'm really excited to use the ideas she shared on finding your perspective and finding your own inspiration and voice in photography.

A very inspiring set of resources to improve my use of the camera, in a more true and honest way.

I learned to look at everything, the big picture, when making an image that hopefully tells a story.

I got a better grasp of the camera's features and possibilities. The exercises helped me remember a lot about light and composition, broadening the spectrum of work possibilities. I have started to find/create new, beautiful images.


Thierry N.

I am more than happy that this Masterclass is about philosophy and humanity through photography. I finally found out why I do not enjoy taking photos of landscape or objects and why I became a wedding and portrait photographer. Annie offered me the deep reasons of my path. With all my respect. Thierry

Steve H.

I appreciated that sometimes the original concept for a portrait was replaced by the immediacy of the moment. I think that is a gift that comes with experience.

Arthur I.

I liked it. Found it easy to follow. I will try looking at photos differently.

S. M.

There were a lot of pauses with the circle in the middle of the page, which was distracting.

Sally C.

During the session, I started taking notes about various people I know, thinking about where I would want to photograph them. I like the idea of asking a woman friend of mine who is in her 90s to show me some photos of herself when she was younger. I have my ideas about her because I know her through camping and music. I'd love to have a window into her earlier life, and to see where that would take a photography session. I've never asked anyone for a formal session. This was an exciting session.

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!