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Design & Style

The Technical Side of Photography

Annie Leibovitz

Lesson time 12:34 min

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.

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.

I believe this was a good class from an overall perspective and her experience. It would have been good to see more hands on to see how she uses her own eye toward composition and the execution.

I feel overcomed by astounding emotions while listening ... with a sense of stillness. I'm touched, moved and inspired! Soulful!

Like the way you kept it simple Annie, Please come to Hawaii for a really Kewl Bike tour. Kelly BikeTourHawaii

i think having a couple more photography classes on other styles



She made a point that it's not about the camera, but come one! I was expecting at least some recommendations on some cameras she prefers to shoot with and why.


No in-depth discussion about technical tools, techniques, frameworks, etc. This lesson is missing a lot.

Carrie K.

This was so refreshing to hear. I studied film photography over 20 years ago. There was no emphasis on what camera you use, or technical components. Nor was there an emphasis everything had to be tact sharp. Pure joy.

A fellow student

Funny how one of her assistants wanted everything to be "sharp", but sometimes annie wants to focus on the content and not worry about the hard edge. Yes, it is a transition from film to digital, but we all must learn something new and use it.

Antonia T.

I always felt guilty of "changing" colors/ brightness after shooting the photos. Like I was cheating or lying. But after this lesson I feel that this "editing" is similar to the changes that occur in the dark room. I used to have a dark room (before I became a mother) and I loved to develop my photos. For me it was very difficult and painful to change to digital. By the way, very interesting assignment. Thanks!

Bridgid W.

Of great interest as I derive from a Camera Club background. Posting photographs on a monthly basis and having them “judged” one gets caught up in chasing grades and technical standards and missing out to some degree on creativity. Debates on post editing (graphic design) vs pure photography reign supreme and we forget... it is easy to forget. The ultimate is the image. Breaking boundaries; rules; blindfolded; exploring; being inspired - I knew I had to crack open the cocoon in order to fly....

Matthias H.

SILVER vs. DIGITAL - for many a clash of religions but in essence just different ways of working and finally if you really like the photograph you made why bother which way it was made?

Matthias H.

Like when she says „depth of field I never understood...“. Coming from the technical side my composition has a lot to do with where blur and sharpness appear in that square we fill with feelings. It is liberating that you can forget about all these technical details and all that gear.

Dulce L.

I agree, I feel the same why about digital. I also started with film; Kodachrome and Black and White film; it was sharper; I had a hard time transitioning. There were limitations, and the learning process to me was easier than digital images as an art; as simple art in regard to editing. But yes, one can do a whole lot more in removal and manipulation in digital, without relying on an artist like we did in the past; both are wonderful and slightly different mediums, with different learning and understanding. Thank you for this class; helping me get back into my photography again.

A fellow student

This class is very disappointing As an architect I know how important is the conceptual side of arts, but I also know the importance of the technical side of your tools. I hoped that at least one of the lessons would give a basic idea of how to use a camera. In this lesson Annie mentioning technical terms as if we already learnt and understand them. In general this class is disappointing as it doesn't even seem she teaches us, it's more like a very regular Netflix documentary.