From Annie Leibovitz's MasterClass

Working With Light

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

Topics include: Using Natural Light • Working in Weather • Keeping Small Kits


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

Topics include: Using Natural Light • Working in Weather • Keeping Small Kits

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.

Wonderful teachings. Loved hearing the stories behind the photos. Will definitely be watching it again and again.

I appreciate Annie's relaxed view of composing her photographs. It helped me remember to breath, point, shoot what I see instead of thinking too much

The important lesson for me was to learn to think about photography differently than I've been trained, to seek wider influences, and the permission to play again.

Annie has always been an inspiration to me, in fact the more I learn about her, the more I learn about myself.


Rob M.

Annie seems incredibly aware of the lighting wherever she is shooting. Augment it maybe with your own, but let the natural light do the lion's share of the work. I too often ignore and just hope it works out. One exception however was when friends asked me to shoot their wedding, and I realized the vows would be exchanged in front of a big, well-lit window. Lots of glare -- ugh. I tried lots of settings before the ceremony to get rid of it but I just couldn't. Failure prompted me to give up that idea, and instead I went with them silhouettes during their vows instead.

Generoso B.

Excellent lesson - even today, I almost always default to dusk or dawn when taking photos. Those times of the day offer the richest hues in colors

Sarina R.

I love this Masterclass! We were not allowed to use a flashlight at school unless we were photographing in the studio. Since then I have only used natural light, with sometimes a bounce board. Unfortunately with some of 'if only I had done that' photo shoots. So this assignment to photograph someone at the same place at three different times is very welcome! I know I will learn so much from that. Luckily there are also pictures that I am very satisfied with <3

Rachel C.

I have fun working with lighting. Only with one small spot light. I have done other shots with combination of both natural and spot lights.

A fellow student

I respond to keeping your kit small, the ambient light manipulated if necessary with a single strobe and doing research on your subject. It all adds up to having what you need but moving with freedom and spontaneity to capture someone's essence I think.

Graeme R.

With her matter-of-fact, almost throw-away delivery, Annie shared some profound and crucial pieces of advice: It's just work. It's not about equipment. Closely observe the light, and keep the lighting simple.

Trípode A.

At some point of my photography journey, i thought about natural light as the main way of lighting. I mean, nature is a big thing, and all the beautiful scenes we see from it, need nothing more than the sun, the moon, the stars. I still learning from it, but consider that, even if it is the most familiar way of appreciate things, or the mistress of illumination, there are other techniques to explore. Even though, it's amazing.

Loretta H.

light is the magic in photography. Im very sensitive to light and the effect it has. Learning how to use ambient light with a strobe is the lesson I will practice with.

Hugh T.

I like to learn the philosophy the most. I get irritated when I pause the video so that I can study a photograph and then new windows open up on top of the photo. Too bad

A fellow student

I enjoyed the light lesson. I primarily shoot landscape photos, and seldom do people. In this particular photo I loved the way the light played out on the right side of the photo.