Design, Photography, & Fashion

Working With Light

Annie Leibovitz

Lesson time 10:37 min

Annie discusses her philosophy around photography equipment, working with natural light, and the value of keeping your lighting kit small.

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.

This masterclass helped me to understand 3 important things; the importance of communication with the subject the importance of not stress planning a session when you let it flow can work better the importance of giving yourself the freedom to experiment. Thanks Annie for everything shared!

It gave me a new perspective on photography plus very useful tips and insights.

Wow. An important question, but for me, at least, it is too soon to answer.

Not to judge my practice of photography as being good or bad, not to think it should be a certain way other than what it is, that by caring about it, being deliberate and thoughtful, I can make something beautiful for people to see.



My mom, 101 with my daughter, 27. I don't need to find a picture of what my mom looked like young, I just need to look at my daughter.


The photography is so stunning, I want to study it. But when you pause the lesson, the screen is covered. Is there a way around that?

Andrea P.

Wow! I've always loved working with natural light. I also try not to push the ISO too much. It's comforting to hear that it's not necessary to have a large equipment. It's all about understanding the light and using it to tell a story.

A fellow student

I wanted to share this photo I took on Christmas of my Girlfriend's Grandparents.

Gail W.

Annie is my divine, work wife, counterpart😊 She says everything i feel, see, think.... I've thoroughly enjoyed your class so far. i can’t imagine ever not wanting to know Annies mind. I have a terrible time connecting. The Camera, a person, a thing, an idea is my flexible protection , if you will, to use and see myself in these things and show them to others so that others won’t fix their gaze on me. A perfect buffer between my introverted self and the fear I feel of people’s rejection I suppose? In photography, others will see a thing I produced, it keeps me in my intellect and still not fulfilled so I’ll apply what I have learned to my Lifestyle Brand. Brava!

A fellow student

Thought provoking. In my photography, I'm writing my story in photos, whether it be my children, grandchildren, my likes, dislikes or what moves my soul in nature. I never "set a scene" unless its a family group and then I love the 'outtakes' better than 'setting a scene.' As this photo, taken by her new stepmom, and is my fb profile as it is her birth month, I made her a Christmas ornament of her favorite color to place on the tree to become part of her new life - such a better life it is! But this talk was something that will give me a new perspective in my later photos.

Barbara D.

I am interested in the idea that the concept involves researching the subject. There is a subtle aspect of interpretation going on in the development of a concept. Annie says that the concept emmanates from the subject. This form of attentive emergence means that the subject is collaborating in their participation, but we have to be attentive to that participation.

William P.

Just finished "Creating Concepts." I admire Annie's way of pushing an idea or notion past "normal" (with the enthusiastic collaboration of her subject). Artistic impulse strives to be sort of revolutionary in order to noticed. I remember Eddie Van Halen once commenting that he spent so much time developing new sounds on his guitar because he new other bands might hear what he was playing and copy it, and then there'd be 100 guitarists sounding like him -- so he had to keep out in front of this crowd of guitarists, or else get lost in the playing of what everyone else had now mastered. So I saw a lot of what Annie was talking about as a conversation on developing originality -- not just from within yourself but with a cooperating other. Aiming at a notion.

Ioana S.

I loved this lesson it has inspired me to be more in the present. I want to capture the people in my life like my parent before they leave this earth to take their photography to celebrate and validate the people I have around me, and create more meaningful work for me. Great lesson - to stop and be in the present.

F P.

I’m not sure what I’m expecting, I just know I want more. Please delve more into the technical aspects of photography, otherwise these videos are a bragging session. You have so much more to give , please be mindful of that.