Annie Leibovitz MasterClass Review:
Can It Help Improve Your Photography Skills?

Last updated on: July 18, 2023, Written by:

Bill Tremlon

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Any time someone mentions legendary photographers, Annie Leibovitz’s name pop-ups. The Library of Congress even lists her as a living legend. She has had a decorated career in photography, working for Rolling Stone magazine, and has done creative portraits for many celebrities and even Queen Elizabeth II.

If you’re a photography enthusiast, Annie Leibovitz’s Masterclass will significantly benefit you. It reveals interesting facts about the artistic side of photography and the creative process behind her intimate expressions and storytelling through photography.

In this Annie Leibovitz MasterClass review, I will review this MasterCalss going through its structure, principles, and ideas. I will also provide you with enough details so you decide whether Annie’s class is worth your time and money.

Annie Leibovitz MasterClass Outline

Annie Leibovitz mainly focuses on providing unique lessons on portrait photography. She breaks down the process from concept creation, subject relation, good lighting techniques, and location. I particularly liked how Annie Leibovitz teaches photography using case studies of her famous works and the student session where she nurtures young talent.

Annie Leibovitz MasterClass review

Annie Leibovitz MasterClass Review In a Nutshell

⭐ Rating:9.2 ★★★★★
🥇 Category of class:Arts & Entertainment
📈 Suits best for:Upcoming and seasoned photographers
🕒 Lenght:3 hours 4 minutes
⏳ Avg. Lesson Duration12 minutes
🛍️ Course Essentials:Data plan, Pen, paper, and a passion for photography
💼 Complementary material:A downloadable workbook
📚 No. of Lessons:15 lessons
🛒 Payment options:Individual / Duo / Family
💵 Price:10 – 20 $ (billed annually)
🔄 Refund policy:30-day satisfaction guarantee
🎁 Free trial:

2.Portrait Photography;
3.Creating Concepts;
4.Working With Light;
5.Studio vs Location;
6.Working With Your Subject;
7.Case Study: Angels in America Photoshoot for Vogue Magazine;
8.Photographing People Who Are Close to You;
9.Looking Back at Your Work;
10.The Technical Side of Photography;
11.Student Sessions;
12.Case Study Part 1: Photographing Alice Waters;
13.Case Study Part 2: Digital Post-Production;
14.Photographic Influences;
15.The Evolution of a Photographer.

Main Skills You’ll Learn

  • Honing your creativity for concepts;
  • Operating photography equipment;
  • Digital post-production and editing;
  • Effective interaction with subject;
  • Photography practice.

Is Annie Leibovitz MasterClass For Me?

If you’re a passionate creative starting out or already in the photography field, then the Annie Leibovitz photography MasterClass is for you. If you like doing photography by the book, this course may not work for you, but you’ll still get tips from the legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Our Evaluation

Total score: 9.2

Annie Leibovitz as an Instructor
Uniqueness and Freshness
Structure and Quality
Student Engagement and Retention
Value for the Money


  • Presents her photos
  • Structured lessons
  • Useful insights behind her masterpieces
  • A course workbook
  • Meaning case studies


  • Course isn’t technical
  • Mode of delivery is flat

Annie Leibovitz MasterClass Teacher Review

Meet Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is a legend in photography. She is a veteran conceptual artist with over 50 years of experience. She’s well known for photographing celebs like Serena Williams, Milley Cyrus, Bob Marley, and others for magazine covers.

In these famous photos, she captures their character and inner life. The iconic images display moments these celebs were in their truly expressive and playful nature. It’s a perfect example of photojournalism.

Her work has been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone, where she rose to the position of chief photographer. She also has been featured in Washington’s National Portrait Gallery with several color and black and white photographs.

Annie Leibovitz as a Teacher

After joining San Francisco Art Institute, Annie Leibovitz first intended to become an art school teacher. And many years later, she is an instructor in her MasterClass but in a different field.

Introduction to Annie Leibovitz's MasterClass

Annie Leibovitz is a good teacher. I found her mode of delivery to be excellent but somewhat lacking in engagement. If you’re looking for more interaction, I recommend checking out a David Lynch MasterClass review, as it may offer a different perspective on the level of engagement throughout the course. However, as a portrait photographer, she compensates for this with insightful case studies. They are a good way to look behind the scenes at some of her famous portraits.

About MasterClass

Since 2015, MasterClass brings 180+ online classes from top-tier instructors in almost any field. It includes pre-recorded video lessons from masters such as Richard Branson, Martin Scorsese, Aaron Sorkin, Gordon Ramsay, and many others.

The video quality equals Hollywood movies, and every MasterClass course is carefully structured. But that’s not all. There are interactive assignments, MasterClass community activities, and an ever-growing video library to enjoy. The sheer amount of content can make it hard to begin. Cursums will help you to choose wisely.

Originality and Novelity of the Content

Apart from MasterClass, you can find Annie Leibovitz’s knowledge of the arts industry in her book Annie Leibovitz at Work. The 240-page book is a good resource, but it lacks recent information.

Annie Leibovitz’s MasterClass is up to date with her old and most recent works, which means it’s comprehensive. Video lessons are also better to learn as it’s more engaging than reading black-and-white pages. The audio and videos are useful tools to help her students better connect with Annie’s process of taking photographs.

There are other courses on photography in MasterClass. For example, courses by Petra Collins, Tyler Mitchell, and Jimmy Chin. However, MasterClass also offers a diverse range of creative lessons, such as learning music composition with Hans Zimmer or improving your acting skills with Martin’s course. They are good courses for young professionals but don’t compare to Annie Leibovitz’s Photography MasterClass. Annies course is the product of 50-plus years of knowledge and experience from world-renowned photographers in the industry.

Content and Structure of the Annie Leibovitz MasterClass

Annie’s MasterClass lessons average 12 minutes. It is sufficient time to sit through and watch a video lesson. However, the lesson on Student Sessions plays for 24 minutes, making it the longest of the 15 lessons. Annie takes time to critique photography from students in her former institution – the San Francisco Art Institute.

The course also has a class resource in the form of a workbook. The assignments there are small practical photography tasks that take about five minutes to an hour. The time it takes to complete them depends on a person’s understanding and efficiency in taking pictures.

Creating and Defining Concepts

2-3 Lessons Summary

This group of lessons covers conceptual photography and the initial stages of idea formulation before picking up the camera. Learners get to know how to research and come up with concepts for their projects.

Annie Leibovitz's covers conceptual Photography.

Annie Leibovitz’s MasterClass course gives examples of how she came up with or facilitated the ideas of her shoots with Whoopi Goldberg, Keith Haring, and Tess Gallagher.

While doing this, she reminds her viewers why she chose the path of portrait photography and why a single image cannot truly capture a person.

Photographing and Looking Back at Your Work

4-9 Lessons Summary

In these lessons, the learners get into the art of photography. Annie gives insights into the importance of working with natural light and why you should have a less bulky lighting kit.

Annie Leibovitz gives insights about looking back at your own photos

She also talks about her preferences for shooting photos on location instead of in the studio. She tells her viewers how she handles the subject and tries telling stories while shooting on location. Annie also refutes the idea that it’s a photographer’s job to put the subject at ease.

She also talks about the importance of self-reflection to celebrate your masterpieces and improve your amateur work. For self-improvement, she recommends practicing with close family and friends.

The Evolution of a Photographer

10-15 Lessons Summary

At the beginning of this group of lessons, we see Annie talking to young student photographers from her alma mater. She takes time to critique some of their works and shares how she transitioned from film to digital photography. She uses plenty of case studies to explain different photography concepts.

Annie Leibovitz shares about how to become a professional photographer

The lesson also involves a look into the processes after a shoot. Leibovitz talks about some concepts in editing. Anne even goes ahead to do some edits. In the end, you get to see Annie’s creative process and learn some of her sources of inspiration to get into photography.

Fast-Track Lesson Plan

Finish Annie Leibovitz MasterClass in 1 hour, 51 minutes, and 58 seconds.

3.Creating Concepts17:51
4.Working With Light10:37
5.Studio vs Location09:56
6.Working With Your Subject8:24
8.Photographing People Who Are Close to You08:41
9.Looking Back at Your Work07:23
10.The Technical Side of Photography12:33
11.Student Sessions24:42
15.The Evolution of a Photographer11:28

Engagement and Retention of Annie Leibovitz MasterClass

The photography course may be a bit soft in delivery for some, but it has excellent quality HD videos to compensate for it. The visual appeals are stunning. I didn’t get bored with the visuals at any point in a MasterClass with Annie Leibovitz.

If you enjoy interesting photographs like me, then you’ll enjoy Annie Leibovitz techniques. However, the pictures come up momentarily, so you may want to pause the video for a better look.

I found the use of case studies of various photographs helpful in understanding what Annie is talking about. You get to know her thought process when she makes some of her great photograph shots.

Generally, the course has an easy-to-follow structure. You first learn research skills, then progress to working with photography material, equipment, camera settings, and the subject. Finally, you acquire editing and technical skills and get insightful knowledge from case studies.

My Firsthand Experience With Annie Leibovitz MasterClass

What I liked About Annie Leibovitz MasterClass

Structured Lessons

One sign of a good course is well-structured lessons. Annie’s MasterClass aims to take readers through the dynamic photography industry. There are several instances where the world-renowned photographer uses examples from her real life, but she does that in line with the main talking points of each lesson.

Useful Insights Behind Her Masterpieces

I found this useful for enthusiasts, aspiring photographers, and even non-photography professionals hoping to adventure photography. It was great learning some of the imaginative and creative concepts behind some of her most famous works. For example, the iconic final photograph she took of John Lennon before he died.

A Course Workbook

In case you’re a serious learner who values the main talking points of Annie, the course workbook is a valuable addition to the class lessons. It contains chapter reviews of the lessons and a short practical assignment. The assignment is a great way to add a bit of practicality and practice a good camera shoot.

The workbook also contains a photo index of the pictures she mentions in her MasterClass lessons.

Example Photographs of her Work

I liked that within the coursework, it’s possible to view some of Annie Leibovitz’s work in portrait photography. Sometimes as Annie talks about a certain case study in the MasterClass, pictures of her work show.

I found it a good way, even for people who didn’t know Annie Leibovitz before, to appreciate her work. I also found that it’s a good way for advanced learners as they have sample photographs to relate to what Annie is saying in her MasterClass.

Meaningful Case Studies

Unlike the case studies of other photographers on MasterClass, Annie Leibovitz’s MasterClass does a good job of explaining what you need to know about her photographs.

For two case studies, she goes into more detail about the photos. One such instance is her photography for the Angels in America photoshoot. The second one is about photographing the world-renowned chef Alice Waters.

What I Didn’t Like about Annie Leibovitz MasterClass

Course Isn’t Technical 

The course concentrates more on explanations and focuses less on the practical part of photography. She does try to give some insights about working with digital tools, lights, and shoot location, but it’s more talk than action.

However, I saw some unique behind-the-scenes footage of Annie in action. She does a photoshop of Angels in America for Vogue magazine.

Mode of Delivery

Annie is a legendary portrait photographer, but she isn’t a teacher. She does get the point home, but not in a way you would watch for a long time. I found myself trying to remain engaged in one of her long videos about portrait photography as she explained why she chose the path of portraiture and photojournalism.

Is Annie Leibovitz MasterClass a Good purchase?

Price of Annie Leibovitz MasterClass

The price of the course depends on which package you choose.The first package (Individual) is priced at $10 per month, and it limits access to one device per subscription. While you can’t download videos in this package, you do have the option to print out a MasterClass gift if you’re considering a thoughtful present for friends or family.

The second (Duo) subscription at 15 lets you stream two devices simultaneously. The third is the (Family) subscription which I recommend. It allows streaming of up to 6 devices and downloading videos.

With these benefits, getting a MasterClass subscription is a popular choice, even if you only get it for Leibovitz’s MasterClass. The benefits of learning from a seasoned photographer are worth the subscription.

Information in this Annie Leibovitz MasterClass review will also help you decide whether you need to make a subscription.

Individual (one device)$10 per month
Duo (two devices)$15 per month
Family (six devices)$20 per month

Does the Class Live Up to the Hype?

After getting the subscription and going through the lessons, it’s clear to me what the hype is all about. People think that the hype around her is because she is a celebrity photographer. But it’s more than that.

Her exceptional photography skills are why she is a decorated creative. She readily shares how she got where she is so that young aspiring photographers can tell their stories through candid photography.

The course was worth the money because it teaches people to explore the boundaries of their creativity. I can recommend this course to every creative artist I know, as they will find great value in it.

Annie Leibovitz MasterClass: Ratings from Around the Web

Annie Leibovitz is a huge celebrity with some of her work, for example, her Queen Elizabeth II, LeBron James, and Miley Cyrus photo shoot creating some controversy. As this Reddit user confirms, you probabbly saw her pictures without realizing it.

Annie Leibovitz on MasterClass review on Reddit

Her MasterClass seems to be getting all the right comments on other social media as well. There are those who know of her masterpieces and how a picture depends on a story. They are, therefore, genuinely eager to see how she made them.

Annie Leibovitz Masterclass Review on Twitter

Some like how she says she’s not a technical photographer and she doesn’t like to classify herself as such. They also love her other thoughts on portraiture, which seem to differ from mainstream thinking.

Annie Leibovitz Masterclass Review on Facebook

Other users recommend upcoming photographers to purchase the MasterClas subscription to view Annie Leibovitz’s teachings. After going through the coursework, they conclude it’s informational and inspiring.

A comment on Annie Leibovitz MasterClass

Essentials Used in the Annie Leibovitz MasterClass

Annie Leibovitz’s MasterClass has several requirements to ensure you get the most out of the course. You’ll need a pen and paper to write key pointers. Finally, have an open mind as Annie talks about unconventional photography. 

You may need the following extras to get more out of the course. It mainly involves familiarizing yourself with Annie’s works and other photography tools. They include:

  • Annie Leibovitz at Work
  • A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005
  • Portraits 2005-2016 by Annie Leibovitz and Alexandra Fuller
  • Basic knowledge of how to use a camera to understand some concepts and also do the short assignments in the course

Courses Similar to Annie Leibovitz MasterClass

Other Courses of Arts & Entertainment on MasterClass

  • Jimmy Chin teaches adventure photography
  • Tyler Mitchel teaches storytelling through portrait photography
  • Petra Collins teaches capturing your vision through photography
  • David Carson teaches graphic design
  • Bobbi Brown teaches makeup and beauty
  • Parris Goebel teaches creativity in choreography
  • Hellen Mirren teaches acting

MasterClass Competitors


Udemy is one of the most popular online learning providers, with a massive choice of various classes. The learning platform covers a range of Photography courses, including a photography Masterclass.


Coursera is another big name in the online courses market, with a lot to offer in Photography-related fields. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge of the field without spending much money on online learning.


Skillshare focuses on practical courses, with educational videos substituting expensive college courses. The aim is to provide users with marketable skills for finding a job. There are some courses related to Photography as well.

Annie Leibovitz MasterClass: FAQ

Annie teaches that no single image can capture a person’s essence since everyone has different personalities. She also stresses the importance of using natural light. It’s connected with her stance that a photographer and camera ought to go to the subject’s location, not the other way around. She stresses the point of young photographers practicing their skills with close family and friends. The John Lennon and Yoko Ono picture – It’s famous because it’s the last photo of John Lennon. Hours before he was murdered in 1980. It features him and his wife in a bold embrace. It’s Annie Leibovitz most famous work.

Within MasterClass itself, there are other photography courses, for example, From Petra Collins, Jimmy Chin, and Tyler Mitchel. Outside MasterClass, there are plenty of other ways to learn aspects of photography. For instance, A photography Masterclass in Udemy, Photography 101 by PHLEARN, and Secrets to Great Photographs by KelbyOne.

MasterClass offers a 30-day money-back refund to all users who terminate their subscriptions for one reason or another. All you have to do is to contact the support team at MasterClass and get your money shortly. This effectively functions as a free trial.

There are many great photos from the large collection of Annie Leibovitz famous works. Here are some of the most famous and iconic photographs. The John Lennon and Yoko Ono picture – It’s famous because it’s the last photo of John Lennon. Hours before he was murdered in 1980. It features him and his wife in a bold embrace. It’s Annie Leibovitz most famous work.

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon

I’ve spent the last ten years passionately studying various online learning platforms. Udemy, MasterClass, Coursera, and Skillshare are the main ones, but I review lesser-known study tools as well. I test and analyze each course and lesson thoroughly before sharing my research.



Valuable course that unlocks creative boundaries.

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon