Annie Leibovitz MasterClass Review
Capturing images is a gift that only some people in the world have. It takes a sharp and trained eye mixed with artistic and tasteful views to capture captivating portraits, something that Annie Leibovitz has nailed. In her MasterClass, Annie teaches aspiring photographers how to hone in on their gift and create stunning images. Annie has photographed some of the most famous people in the world, even capturing the last shot of John Lennon before his dramatic death.
Her MasterClass gives both fans and lovers of photography a chance to immerse themselves in the theme of photography, introducing you to her top used techniques. In this review, we will talk more about Annie and her credentials as a photographer along with a look at how the course is broken down. Her MasterClass is a chance to get in touch with your inner artist and start making your ideas come to life today.
Annie is a legend of photography, known for her engaging portraits of some of the hottest names in Hollywood. In her early career, she worked at Rolling Stone, becoming a chief photographer in 1973. Her work includes musicians, bands, actors, and even historical influencers, all in their most intimate forms. One of her most famous portraits was an intriguing and powerful shot of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. This was taken just hours before Lennon’s death, becoming a memory that fans and music lovers turned to.
While she enjoyed taking photos as a career, she still found time to focus on the art and create photos she loved, focusing on her family and loved ones. She has a thought that you not only need to flourish in your career but, also focus on the things that you love. In 1991, Annie was featured in an exhibit in the Washington National Portrait Gallery, becoming the first woman to ever have an exhibition between these four walls. Annie has an eye for photography that comes naturally, something that you can’t really teach. What she will teach you is how to follow your dreams and make the best out of your imagination and thoughts; creating an engaging MasterClass.
Annie focuses on the art of photography and leaves out all of the technical stuff. This course is not just for those who enjoy photography and would like to learn more but, is also for anyone that is curious about how she creates her masterpieces. She is not only a portrait artist-resisting the pressure to label her craft-she is a creator of images. One of her anecdotes is that everyone has multiple identities, and her photographs can play with that idea. Using these thoughts, she creates a beautiful class with a ton of useful information both behind the camera and in real life.
She doesn’t go into too much detail about the process of producing portraits but, takes a look at how to create a setting that transmits a strong message and sensation. One of her key takeaways is that you can create an atmosphere and capture a person’s truth through a photograph, freezing that sensation and image for a lifetime.
Annie’s MasterClass features a total of 14 videos that span over three hours. Included is also an ‘office hours’ section where Annie answers frequent questions from her students. There is a mix of techniques, advice, and case studies, all of which are presented by Annie. At times, she works with a student on camera to give a different perspective, and other times, it is just her in front of a camera and sharing her knowledge. The chapters of the MasterClass include:
At the beginning of the course, you’ll meet the famous Annie. She will introduce herself in a candid and personal manner, showing off some of her most cherished pieces. She’ll take her through her journey, showing her evolution both as a person and as a photographer.
Evolution of a Photographer
In this part of the course, you’ll hear Annie’s career story. Her rise to fame, like many others, was not instant, taking time, dedication, and a lot of patience. She will tell you about her education and discuss how she broke into the business, eventually landing her job at Rolling Stone magazine. Her process is different than most and is unique to her style and her goals as a photographer. You can take away key motivations that led her to where she is today or, learn one way to break into the industry.
This part of the course is a candid one-to-one with Annie herself where she dives in and gets deep into her inspirations. She shares her top influences and most loved photographers that motivated her to create her art. Names like Robert Frank and Richard Avedon are shared along with an introduction to their works. Not everyone’s influences are the same, something that Annie enforces throughout this part of the course. As an artist, you’ll have to find your own influences, gravitating toward what inspires you the most.
Portrait and Family Photography
Now the MasterClass turns to portraits, where Annie shares her philosophy on creating portraits. Not all portraits of photographers that take them are created equal, and each and everyone uses a different technique. Annie’s philosophy is one of many but, she doesn’t force it on any up and coming photographers. She shares her thoughts and encourages hopeful photographers to think and create their own style that shows their personality and their own personal gift.
When she speaks about family, she talks about the importance of photographing them to create memories that can be cherished for years. Annie takes pride and puts a lot of effort into keeping photographs of her family and loved ones to always have things to look back on and see the growth and changes in every family member and loved one.
Taking a Look Back
As an artist, Annie knows the importance of looking back at previous works to see evolutions and improvements. Self-reflection is important and giving yourself criticism and learning how to improve for the next time. She is always reflecting on her work-admiring her pieces but also using them as a way to improve for the future. She uses her photographs, both past, and present, to teach up and coming photographers and help push them in the right direction,
Things Get Technical
While this MasterClass is not heavy with technical content, Annie does share a bit about some of the technologies and techniques she has learned throughout her career. She too began with little knowledge and learned hands-on through immersing herself in the field and working on her gift.
One of the most striking things about Annie’s photos is the concepts that she creates, each one bringing out the character of the person she is photographing. She has worked with famous and powerful people all around the world, first creating a concept and then making it come to life through her portraits. Her photographs are known and recognized around the world and her creation of concepts is perhaps one of the reasons why.
The Importance of Light
Annie doesn’t fool around with filters that change characteristics, instead, she focuses on capturing the most natural photo by using natural lighting techniques. She has created her own method, piecing together techniques that she has learned throughout her years in the industry. She shows you how she creates this effect, using the help of lighting and placement of shadows.
Working with your Subject
Annie’s photos are taken of living human beings that interact and react. It is not easy work to get yourself on the same page as your subject, needing to understand how to communicate and execute to create the perfect atmosphere for your portrait. You’ll see how Annie speaks and relates to them and also some of the methods she uses to get the exact angles she is looking for.
Critiques and Case Studies
During the part of the critique, Annie takes a look at work submitted by students at the San Francisco Art Institute. She uses her expert eye to give critiques of their photos, attempting to help them grow and flourish in their career. Apart from critiquing, she will use case studies where you get to sit back and observe Annie work her magic. You will see her photograph Alice Waters, a chef, and author.
Throughout the case study, you will see Annie’s techniques come to life and watch as she makes magic with her subject. Annie will then take her photos to the editing board, retouching, and editing to make the most crisp and clean images that capture her concept perfectly.
Annie’s MasterClass Cost
Annie’s MasterClass comes with close to three hours of video footage and lectures plus a PDF of resources that you can refer back to. You also have access to the learner’s forum, connecting with other aspiring photographers around the world. Annie has ‘office hours’, where she will answer questions for students when they have them. For all of this, Annie’s MasterClass comes in at only $90. This is advice that you can’t buy, coming from someone that is both passionate and successful in the field.
MasterClass has a ton of classes just like Annie’s, each one taught by the top in their field. If you’re curious about learning other perspectives from experts in cooking, acting, or art, you could sign up for a MasterClass all-access pass for only $180. This includes access to all of the classes that MasterClass has to offer and all of the extras that come with each one.
Course Reviews: What Learner’s Had to Say
Annie’s class is filled with useful and interesting information. Overall, the course has a positive rating, both from fans and photography enthusiasts. Here is what a few of them had to say:
”An exclusive look at her work that teaches you how to look at your own work in a new way. Thic class shows how many factors photographers need to consider to make their work powerful” – Mary A.
“I’ve admired Annie’s work for many years. I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t learn something from a masterclass from her. No matter how much we think we know, there is always something to learn from watching the best photographers at work.” –Haden R.
“This course is mostly the “why” in her process and a description in detail what her entire process actually is. It’s an advanced photography course for people who are past learning about cameras, lenses, lights, processing, composition, etc. After that, what people are interested in are learning about is the creative process for specific successful artists. People take these kinds of courses so they can pick up on her non-conventional routine, that you’re not doing but she does, that makes her creatively unique/better. And if you’re looking for this, you will definitely appreciate every morsel of detail that she is generously revealing.” Michael M.
One of the things that might come as a surprise is that Annie doesn’t share much about the actual techniques of photography. She speaks much more about her thoughts and feelings and her own personal philosophies. However, there is a ton that you can take away from this class, learning how to develop your skills and get a different perspective from a photographer that has made it in the field.
The course has a ton of useful information and is, overall, inspiring for anyone that is looking to break into the field. The MasterClass all-access pass is a great way to enjoy both this class and more, feeding your creativity and inspiring you to open up your mind to trying new things. Anyone that loves photography, is a fan of Annie, or just wants to learn something new will love this course, leaving with a ton of new ideas and a craving to start creating portrait masterpieces that can be cherished from here on in.