From Annie Leibovitz's MasterClass

Portrait Photography

Annie discusses portraiture and photojournalism, and what makes portrait photography so compelling for her as a medium. Learn why Annie loves the photo series and why a single image cannot truly "capture" a person.*

Topics include: Photojournalism and Portraits • Capturing History • Photo Essays


Annie discusses portraiture and photojournalism, and what makes portrait photography so compelling for her as a medium. Learn why Annie loves the photo series and why a single image cannot truly "capture" a person.*

Topics include: Photojournalism and Portraits • Capturing History • Photo Essays

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.

Great really interesting and got me thinking , thank you.

I learned a lot about how to approach photography! I think that's what I had been struggling most with prior to this class and now I feel more confident going about taking a photo.

I am grateful for the rare opportunity to spend an amazing time with Annie Leibovitz. Her photos are as beautiful as she. Her work and words touched me deeply. I don't know how yet but it will undoubtedly affect my life and all what I do. Thanks a lot!

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 .


A fellow student

New here and just settling in. Enjoyed this lesson a lot. Image generated stories and just shooting to possibly be surprised later by a great the up close realness of AL

Ines S.

To have an eye that can actually "see", it's a matter of training. The more you do photograph, the more you are learning to see into the outside world, but also, into yourself. In order to take a good picture, your eye is paramount, your camera not. What you can see nobody else will see it, your eye is unique. To choose to see and what and how to see it's a very personal, intimate decision, therefore somehow, in every photograph, you're revealing yourself to others from what you eyes had captured

Charles L.

Great lesson! I love Annie's comments on keeping it simple, potentially having the best equipment will not help you to "see", and the fact that her studio work is not her favorite! When I see photographer's in an expensive studio, elaborate lighting, great equipment and the best technology, this lesson has reminded me that being able to "see" and actually taking the pictures is first priority. Just awesome!

Kalliopi P.

My biggest problem. “What to see...” I felt so relieved when she said that it takes years to accomplish that. So, I will just keep taking pictures. Some day, it will all make sense.

A fellow student

I enjoyed the lesson. I found it interesting how much we are alike in our thoughts about taking photos. I'm not much of a technical photographer, either, but we all know there is a certain amount of technical knowledge and skill that is required. And nowadays there is a whole lot of post-processing skills that are required, also. So, I am looking forward to getting more in depth about the technicalities of her photography. How, why, and where she places her subjects, lighting, composition.

Anke W.

I very much agree with the statement that you can hardly ever see that you caught the essence of something or the "soul" of a person with just one photograph. Life and everything and everyone in it is complex, with multiple sides and levels, so you often will need a series if you are trying to capture something in its entirety.

Gina-Leigh S.

I couldn’t agree more, it’s captuing the moment, sometimes not even being aware that you have or going back and seeing something more than what was in front of you. A story from your lens to the worlds eyes which is seen in many different ways.

Ingrid R.

I am particularly driven toward portrait photography. I like the way Annie explains that when we take a photograph of someone we're not "capturing their soul" in an image. The beauty of photography is the ability to capture forever a moment in life. But people change and evolve, so a portrait really captures a moment in someones life rather than their complete soul. Every single shot will be different from the previous one, and none of those moments will be back every again. I really liked this lesson.

Chuck O.

This was a great lesson. The concepts of "Why you are taking photographs and giving stories to your content" really shined through on the before and after segment of focusing on the show girls. I will for sure be focusing more so creating story versus just trying to take a rad photograph from now on.

A fellow student

Very informative on the weight of photographs and our experience and relationships with the images we create. I consider myself a conceptual portrait photographer with many areas of interest as far as "genres" but specifically interested in portraits taken with film, and I have been for over a decade. I have been doing this for awhile for fun, group art shows and personal projects, but I never pursued anything professionally. Mostly because I am not a technical photographer in the sense is I use a hand me down Canon film camera and some others I've collected over the years. The quote on her lesson plan/workbook rings very true for me, personally. "Your picture depends on what is in it, which has nothing to do with the technology..." Looking forward to learning more about her views and experiences, as Annie Leibovitz is a very influential person in both the art of photography and life in general.