From Annie Leibovitz's MasterClass

The Technical Side of Photography

In this chapter, Annie shares how she approached transitioning from film to digital, and what starting out in the dark room can teach you. Annie also shares her perspective on focus and sharpness—and how above all else it's the content that matters.

Topics include: Transitioning into Digital • Focus and Sharpness • Case Study: Monument Valley

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In this chapter, Annie shares how she approached transitioning from film to digital, and what starting out in the dark room can teach you. Annie also shares her perspective on focus and sharpness—and how above all else it's the content that matters.

Topics include: Transitioning into Digital • Focus and Sharpness • Case Study: Monument Valley

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.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I most enjoyed seeing Annie working behind the scenes to get a better idea of her process. I also really enjoyed hearing about her influences and the evolution of her photography. The class started a little slowly for me but the second half had more detail and insight and I enjoyed it.

Incredible. Simply the best Masterclass I've watched so far.

I learned that looking back at my prior work has value. Even if the subjects that I have in my collection are not of one genre, it's OK to like what I like. I have a little more confidence now seeing that someone like Annie did the same thing.

The approach to creating a concept and working with it.

Comments

Graeme R.

Content is absolutely paramount. I love much of Annie Leibovitz's work, but it's clear from listening to her that she is profoundly ignorant of photographic technology. So many technically proficient photographers produce boring, empty work, devoid of ideas and emotion.

Graeme R.

Kodak did not discontinue manufacturing Kodachrome until 2009, not the 1970's as Annie stated.

A fellow student

when a photographer erase herself out of a picture, she erase a point of view out of it. It gives a picture less of a voice. It becomes a thing that is not a photograph. Regarding focus, it is a complicated topic to discuss here. My first AC is in charge of focusing, it had made me mad when I take still pictures, because that magic of the actors are always carry with them a sharp image is gone and I was left feeling powerless like I am trying to touch that flower in the mirror.

Mandy C.

The photos from the blindfolded shoot feel more intimate than any i have taken. The angles have so much memory, as though it’s the perspective of a baby whose environment is imposed on her. Or the views that we don't notice when we're lying on the couch staring off into space.

Vincent M.

I often take and buy old magazines at garage sales and flea markets. Its away of looking at print work of yesterday and seeing the light and sharpness variances of today's print work. I do here other photographers complain about sharpness to a point where they will actually throw away the image because of the lack of sharpness. I don't use the DOF on my camera (I probably should) but I find that I tend to use the f/stop as my DOF starting point and then move the subject from the background to achieve what I am looking for in the final image. Editing is so much more creative then the darkroom but the editing software's that are out there are based on the darkroom techniques of the day. This was taken many years ago and was one a few attempts at print work. I still like it.

Jim C.

I felt really connected and heartened by this lesson. I like that she is about the image and not the technical side. I feel the same way. If it’s shot on a cell or a Canon. If the subject, composition, etc. is good, then it’s good. I understand DOF, but never really ever used the feature on any camera. Just made things look dark in the viewfinder to me. Autofocus was the greatest miracle for someone that doesn’t see well. And when one is shooting photojournalism, then only basic things one could do in a darkroom are allowed. Couldn’t take yourself or anyone else out of an image other than by cropping.

Thom A.

Should've been titled, "The Non-Technical Side of Photography." I agree that sometimes there are better images that aren't technically sharp, and I've been guilty of discarding some of those images. I'll be more careful. To hear her say that she doesn't understand DOF and shoots everything flat is a bit hard to believe when you look at her work, particularly the Vanity Fair stuff, which is a complex as anyone's.

Brenda K.

What I find from this lesson is to listen really to what she is saying that sometimes you get some blurry photos that are actually really good and might tell a unique story in some way. I know sometimes when I am just out taking photos of nothing in particular, when I get back to my computer to look at them they are really cool and I didn't even realize it. So it is encouraging to know someone of her knowledge and such a great eye for photography would say something like this. All of these lessons have been excellent for me and I am a beginner who takes photos for fun and seeing the beauty in nature and people. Great minutes of my time today listening to Anne.

Thomas M.

I feel like she was just getting started and the lesson got cut short. Every time she started talking about something I wanted her to discuss...cut to blurry photos...or a student. Ugh

Grant B.

They might have wanted to skip this chapter. Mamiya 647 (not a camera)? Maybe a 645, or an RZ67? Also, completely lost on the idea that digital is harder to get sharp (it's not). This illustrates that while she might be a fantastic conceptual artist, she is not strong with the technical side. The lesson I can take from this is that the ability to visualize a concept is in this case, more important than understanding your camera in and out. She may have even been helped initially by the limitations that her technical knowledge left her with. Now, I think it's clear that credit should be spread equally among her crew.