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Design & Style

Studio vs. Location

Annie Leibovitz

Lesson time 9:56 min

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

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.

It's changed my perspective about the balance between the technicality of photography and the artistry when one develops their perspective.

Love her calm commitment to the artist's inspiration, patience, and fantastic imagination with her subjects. Can't wait for more.

It would have been good to see more of Annie's hands on case studies like the one with Alice. That was great. Great class and advise overall.

I am not a photographer but I do create pictures. This class was great way to focus and reflect on my own image-making and what is most meaningful and interesting to me.


Suzanne W.

Studio work would be a challenge, imagination would be a must. Like playing music alone is much harder alone, yet playing with other musicians there is an inspiration. I am inspired by the landscape and helps me frame my photo.

Tessla H.

I love looking up and I do love a sunny blue sky day. Location, location, location. Self Portrait 2018

A fellow student

Expanding my horizons while looking at the studio horizon. Exploring the studio of the subject is like being on location.

A fellow student

Loved this! To me, the essence of an individual is expressed through their culture and surroundings. Deeper than an image is the narrative of expression.

Antonia T.

Wonderful. I also think that location is 1,000 times better than the studio. But to shoot on a location that has to do with the subject, as Annie suggests, it's a great idea. Thanks!

Saima S.

I forgot to attach an image of a series I did outdoors. It is an abandoned place here in Islamabad and it always compels me to shoot there, or create a story. I have always thought of taking photographs of some celebrity friends. But rather than bringing them over to the studio I think as Annie says, I shall photograph them of a place that means something to them.

Saima S.

Even though she is not fond of working in the studio, her pictures with the grey wall are simply amazing. I think its just them being so simple yet beautifully composed. I love working in my studio, but find some locations to be so beautiful or mysterious that i am compelled to shoot there. Loved this class.

A fellow student

I loved it ! I'm so inspired . She explains a lot of things out of being a photographer and I think that is with what I'm represented the most. She is a creative who chose photography and in photography portraits, to choose one, but over all she is a creative sensitive person doing psychomagic, connecting with reality in another level, modifying it with her vision and sharing it with her heart.

Andrea P.

I'm amazed to hear that she doesn't love working in the studio as much, you wouldn't know by looking at her incredible work. I bought a studio light kit a few years ago and have used it about three times. It's a shame, but I realized I prefered photographing people in different environments.

William P.

Annie is a very intuitive person. She's shot many kinds of photographs and she comes out of that knowing what she likes, a kind of anchoring. I also like natural light, and I avoid strobes - but maybe I shouldn't. Maybe I wouldn't wonder so much why my photos lack that sought after "pop." I'm not a professional, just documenting my life and preserving visually interesting moments.