From Annie Leibovitz's MasterClass

Studio vs. Location

Annie talks about her approach to studio photography, her strong preference for shooting on location, and the role of environment in her portraiture.

Topics include: Working in a Studio • Being on Location


Annie talks about her approach to studio photography, her strong preference for shooting on location, and the role of environment in her portraiture.

Topics include: Working in a Studio • Being on Location

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 was very inspired by her simple approach. I always thought you needed the technical knowledge before you can take photography. Thank you.

Great Masterclass along Annie Leibowitz. Being able to listen, learn, and most important see her work, her life, her influences and how she communicates her trajectory is impressive and a great learning experience. Thank you Annie!

Given a dimension on how to look through the rectangular frame and what is the object am going frame into it. Each chapter and those tips are priceless and it has open up a new outlook of viewing the universe.

Great insights. I wish that it was a bit more technical.


Thomas Z.

I liked very much. Especially, when Annie talks about her preference for photography on location, to catch the "real" person. It's always nice to hear the way she talks about her experience, her attitude to people and that she is a shy person.

Graeme R.

Loved this lesson, and I have begun to appreciate Annie's low-key, honest ruminations. The Agnes Martin and Gloria Steinem stories were very helpful. She is absolutely right in feeling that a single portrait, even if it is eventually described as "iconic", is but one tiny moment in the life of a constantly changing, complex individual.

Trípode A.

It's interesting, her vision. I mean, she's always in the pursuit of discovering who people are (in a very particular aspect of their lives). So I think the preference of location over studio is congruent, in the sense of capturing "essential" information rather than creating significance. For me, both scenarios are different worlds, standing there to be explored. I wonder what I want to explore.


Id like to get better at studio/strobe photography but I love natural light and helping draw out emotions from the person I'm photographing. It's intriguing how different locations can draw out different emotions from people.

A fellow student

i do mostly motion picture films, i find using strobe is horrifying because I have not even time to take the light into my eyes let alone into my heart to have a taste of it. I love natural light, and reproduce natural light is my business, but whether the natural light I recreate can carry the subtle emotional elements the real natural light brings, i have doubts. most importantly, film is edited moments, editing will take so much away from a single shot, even though it adds also a lot to the whole wave of the motion.

Paul M.

My friend and I had been playing with my new camera all day. He was was my willing subject for a while. Finally got back to his house and he was grilling outside, a bit weary and he heard my camera shutter. He turned, and that's when I got this shot. The candid shot was better than anything staged that day.

Jeff P.

Annie L. aimlessly rambles, almost incoherently, about her own career, with little to nothing in the way of teachable, useful information for students. I'm on the 5th lesson and have learned nothing.

Craig R.

lOOKING IN FROM THE PREVIOUS PHOTO WHEN LOOKING OUT! Thank you friends for sharing your work. amazing stories, such a fun class with Annie!

Craig R.

"Inspiration and life are equivalents and they come from outside" AGNES MARTIN As I look through the student submissions: What Talent there is!

Jessica W.

One of my favorites - a photo I captured of a woman from a nomadic tribe on the Syrian border. She’s one of the last of her generation that was brought up tattooing their bodies. Her tattoos are an integral part of who she is. I wish I would have had more time to sit with her and get more photos, this one was taken only in passing and I often think of what else I could have captured...