If you love taking photos of people around you, you might be inspired to learn more about how to shoot portraits that come to life.
Maybe you’ve even considered taking a photography course, but imagine if you could learn more about photography from the master of portraiture, Annie Leibovitz?
MasterClass enables you to achieve this as she has her course for aspiring photographers and her fans to enjoy.
What is the Annie Leibovitz MasterClass about? Annie’s course gives you deeper insight into her approach to portraiture and setting up shots effectively. She also shares her philosophies for taking great pictures.
With this in mind, here’s our Annie Leibovitz teaches photography MasterClass review. We break down its pros and cons, what you stand to gain from it, and if it’s worth it.
Who is Annie Lebovitz?
Annie Lebovitz is a famous American photographer famous for portrait photography. She has taken celebrity pictures that have become famous and appeared in leading publications, such as Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.
Leibovitz produces dramatic and quirky photos of celebrities using unique setups, bright and bold colors, and excellent lighting.
Leibovitz is a master at using the best natural light and making it work to produce high-quality portraits.
For example, she uses ambient lighting while shining a small light on her subjects in the direction of the natural light. It’s these skills that have made her so renowned and popular.
To date, Leibovitz has produced many iconic portraits of celebrities such as Demi Moore, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Miley Cyrus.
Some of her most famous portraits include photographing actress Whoopi Goldberg with only her arms, legs, and face visible in a milk-filled bathtub; actress Meryl Streep pulling at the skin of her white-painted face; and actress Rachel Weisz as Snow White, posing with woodland creatures.
Leibovitz has won numerous awards, such as the Honorary Clio Award (2012) and Glamour Award for the Visionary (2012). In 1991, Annie made history as the first woman to have her own exhibition at Washington’s National Portrait Gallery.
Overview of the Class
In her MasterClass, Annie Leibovitz brings you into her personal studio as well as to her photo shoots where she teaches you what she has learned about portraiture.
She also shares stories about her favorite photographs and provides background information about them, which helps you to get a behind-the-scenes view of the artist who has produced so many iconic images over the years.
The lessons you’ll be able to enjoy in this course include learning the following:
- What makes portrait photography so compelling for Annie.
- Annie’s creative process when developing concepts for her photo shoots.
- Annie’s philosophy for working with natural light, photography equipment, and how to keep your lighting kit as small as possible.
- Why Annie prefers shooting on location and how the environment plays a vital role in her pictures.
- How Annie works with subjects for a photo shoot, refuting the idea that it’s a photographer’s responsibility to make a subject feel at ease.
- Why photographing your loved ones is a great idea and what creative opportunities arise from doing this.
- Why self-reflection and looking back at your photography work is important.
- How Annie transitioned from film to digital and what dark rooms can teach you.
Pros and Cons
This MasterClass contains 15 video lessons, which make up a total of three hours and 4 minutes of content. What are its pros and cons? Let’s explore them.
- You’ll get to see behind-the-scenes footage for Vogue magazine, where Annie captures the cast of Angels in America. It’s like following her around on one of her photo shoots.
- Annie provides some practical information, such as getting the right lighting when taking a shot.
- Whether you’re a professional photographer or not, you’ll gain valuable tips for taking better photographs of people.
- Annie’s course includes what’s known as student sessions, in which she critiques the work of student photographers and shares her approach to some essential principles of photography.
- Annie shares her photography influences, personal stories, and lessons she’s learned from their work. This makes it enjoyable for anyone who appreciates Annie’s success.
- The course comes with a 44-page workbook that accompanies the video lessons. This contains lesson reviews, links to resources, and photography assignments.
- This course gives you access to the online MasterClass community, which can be useful for you to share your work and experience with other people who are taking the class.
- The course is ideal for beginners; however, more experienced photographers might not get enough material to help them enhance their skills.
- There are no camera-related tips for photographers. Annie states in her class that she’s not a technical photographer.
- The title of the MasterClass course is misleading. Annie isn’t really teaching the craft and technique of photography as much as providing insights into her creative approaches.
- There is some nudity in the photos she shares, and members are only warned about this in the last video lesson.
- The MasterClass course is approximately three hours in length, which feels a bit too short for the subject being explored.
Who Is This Class For?
We’ve already mentioned that this isn’t the MasterClass course to take if you’re an experienced photographer who wants to learn additional skills from a legendary photographer.
However, it is a good idea for you if any of the following apply to you:
- You love the idea of learning about photography ideas and concepts, instead of focusing on technical details.
- You’re an Annie Leibovitz fan who would love to learn more about her approach to photography. You’ll appreciate how this MasterClass course has a documentary-like feel to it.
- You love learning more about iconic photographs and how they came about.
- You love photography and it’s your hobby.
- You want to find more inspiration for your photography endeavors.
- You’re looking to learn more about the creative side of pursuing a career in photography.
- You want to enrich your photography by learning how to look for stories behind pictures.
- You have a deep interest in portraiture. Who better to learn more about it than from Annie Leibovitz?
How Much the Class Costs
If you want to take the Annie Leibovitz teaches photography MasterClass, you’ll have to purchase a full subscription to MasterClass. Unfortunately, you can’t purchase a MasterClass individually.
There are three subscription plans that MasterClass has to offer:
- Individual – $180 per year
- Duo – $240 per year
- Family – $276 per year
What’s valuable about a MasterClass subscription is that it gives you instant access to hundreds of courses that are run by professional, renowned, and celebrity instructors.
To find out what some of the best courses are, read our guide, “Best MasterClass Courses”.
There have been mixed responses to Annie Leibovitz’s photography MasterClass. Here are some of the reviews and comments from around the Internet to help you to figure out if you should purchase a subscription or not.
- For some people, the lessons were unbalanced. For example, when Annie talks about photographing one’s family members, the lesson was rich and filled with lots of interesting content. By comparison, other segments felt like they were filler episodes without much takeaway content.
- “The Annie Leibovitz MasterClass includes deep insights into the photographer’s personal processes, as well as what she’s learned. In addition, it teaches aspiring photographers how to maintain creativity and passion”.
- “This course has a documentary-like feel to it. Annie spends a lot of time sharing her stories about iconic photos she’s taken. There’s little technical information about this, however, which some have found disappointing”.
It’s exciting to think that you could learn how to take better photographs from a master such as Annie Leibovitz. However, this course does come with mixed reviews. It’s up to you to decide if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Generally, while the Annie Leibovitz MasterClass is engaging, entertaining, and compelling, it doesn’t provide much in terms of photography techniques to help aspiring photographers become a master in their careers.