Design, Photography, & Fashion

Working With Your Subject

Annie Leibovitz

Lesson time 8:24 min

Annie shares how she approaches working with a subject for a photo shoot, including refuting the popular notion that it's a photographer's responsibility to put a subject at ease.

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 am taking a Photography I class with Professor Janelle Covino at Montclair State University and having Annie Leibovitz's "Women" and Master class impact my work for the semester helped me to want to be more of a photographer rather than someone who takes pictures.

as a professfessional, it has reminded me of what i loved, taking photos for me,and the excitement of youth!

The most important lesson that I've taken away from this Masterclass is to be reminded to see as a photographer, to keep taking photographs, to print and look at them, as opposed to obsessing about the technicalities. My enjoyment of photography has been dampened by this lately, and Annie has inspired me to pick up my camera again and shoot.

Liebowitz is such an eccentric piece of work that studying her work and viewpoints brings out my own eccentricity. One must be drawn out in order to be be able to experience creating.


Andrea P.

I feel that most people get uncomfortable in front of the camera because it forces them to be vulnerable. I've met only a few people who like their photograph taken. I find it extremely difficult to talk to people when photographing them, I prefer to capture them when they're not aware that their photo is being taken. However, if you are creating a concept around a subject, Annie's advice is really useful. In my experience, the first few images don't really count.

Lana G.

I love your honest vulnerability talking to these kids in the class. I admire that authenticity.

William P.

Annie said she tries to make it as painless as possible for her subjects, and she doesn't see it as her responsibility to put people at ease. I realize if you're going to get into more product-oriented photography - you've got to stretch yourself past your comfort zone (and doing shoots of celebrities is one of those areas). You have to plan to be more directive. I thought the shot she showed at the end was incredible for those actors. I didn't see it coming. I would want to go see a play that showed a vision like that. It's compelling.

Reward E.

I guess we are hunting for the right moment. For technique and instinct to meet that moment.

Tim W.

I went on a trip for several days and left my cat with food and water. When I got back she was angry with me, but I was very happy to see her. I had just gotten another camera, and was able to get these of her. I may read more into these picture than are there, but I think it helps and comforts me. She was also happy to see me it seems, after she calmed down.

A fellow student

I think I stay a little longer with my subject that he forgets I have a camera and that’s the time to shoot

Dulce L.

Wonderful Lessons! Ha Ha; I had to figure out where to shoot her" When talking about your experience in photographing the Queen. Made me laugh..Thank you so much for this class and for your time.

Heidi F.

Very inspiring! Here is one picture from my magazine regarding Norwegian folk costumes. Best regards, Heidi Fossnes.

A fellow student

Only half way through the class, and wow. Im speechless. These are some pictures I took during my trip to Havana.

Dominique H.

I shot this image of my husband watching our kids playing. On this shot, he was happy that I didn't try to stage the shot or have him pose, I just snapped away while he looked on.