From Annie Leibovitz's MasterClass

Working With Your Subject

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.

Topics include: Checking Pictures • Playing With a Subject • When a Shoot is Over


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.

Topics include: Checking Pictures • Playing With a Subject • When a Shoot is Over

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.

the last chapter was the best. I was a little disappointed, there wasn't much relatable instruction. In one chapter, she did some real time editing. I would have liked to see her do that with the class participants. Not the post production but having them all do an assignment, see how each was different, what worked, what didn't, things to think about.

I loved the class! Only thing I wish there would have been more of was Annie Shooting and actually seeing her work and her thought process when taking a portrait. Still, I loved the class and would recommend it!

A fantastic approach to understanding what it is to be a photographer, it has re-inspired me to start a personal project and work on my ideas.

This masterclass is incredible, and quite honestly, the reason I purchased this whole program. The way Annie talks about photography is how I feel towards it. The passion. The drive. The history of it all! I could go on... She truly sums up the reason I love this art form and am so grateful she took the time to reveal some insight into how she operates within this field. Remarkable class!!


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.

emmanuelle G.

great lesson. Working outside your comfort zone and considering comfort is not the goal of a great shoot.

Karen R.

This was a fun challenge. My friend had previously told me she hates having her picture taken and refused to let me use her as the subject of a previous assignment. But yesterday we were on the subway coming home from a fun day together and I just started taking her picture as I was sitting beside her, and then she gave in and let me continue. The largest image is my favorite, but I was also really pleased that she eventually smiled at me.

Graeme R.

God, I love this! Annie is flowering, becoming real and funny now for me. So good to know how she feels in these situations.

Maria N.

I took this one of my dad during the xmas vacay 2018.... he ponders as he sips and swigs on the cigg at the door of his man cave! Where he spends most of his time with blaring music and his vices... my old man!

Betsy M.

I took a photo of my son who is studying theatre. He wanted to walk our dog with one of his masks on. This turned out to be one of my favorites.

Paul H.

Not everyone likes to have their photograph taken Its part of the job description of the photographer to recognise how comfortable the subject may be in front of the camera ad becoming the subject yourself makes you confront that reality, makes you connect with that experience and makes you develop as a photographer

Kenneth M.

I really feel that I connected with the part where Annie stated that most people don't like having their picture taken. I always tell my subject to try to relax but then i find that they freeze up as soon as the camera is picked up to shoot. So now I just tell them that I'm just testing the light out and that's when I find I have the best photos because the subject isn't thinking about the photo being taken and they are in a natural state. As pictured, my partner, who doesn't like having his photo taken at all would never want to be used as a muse until I snapped this photo of him on my balcony at my apartment. To date this is one of my favorite photos I have ever taken.

Vincent M.

Annie brought up a very interesting thought "when is the shoot over". I have often struggled with this as I often feel that what I have on the camera is enough but think that there could be one more shot. You become almost obsessive that there isn't a shot on the camera that's worth what the clients looking for. So I have placed time limits on myself to force myself to stay on track with my original thought and not vary to far from it. Tina is very anti-camera hates to have her picture taken. It took several attempts just talking and shooting to get this portrait which I felt came out very nice.

Joshua V.

I found this lesson hard. but i did it anyway. i found asking a child to take a photo is easiest because they dive in with confidence, then when in front of the lense they are not sure what to do. i asked for three poses and took photos in between while she thought. I brought her cat in this photo to make her a little more comfortable.