Masterclass Review (2020) – Is it Worth it?
May 2020 Update: MasterClass is moving away from offering individual masterclasses and focusing solely on the all-access masterclass.
A good mate of mine running the YouTube channel LouisPee has been using and reviewing MasterClass for the past few years. In this guest post, he will talk about the benefits and drawbacks of these online courses. Welcome to the complete Masterclass review.
Bit of background on myself, I’ve been a Masterclass customer for more than three years and have completed more than twenty MasterClasses as of this writing in 2020. Therefore, I feel like a confident and credible source to write a review of this online training school. This is everything you need to know about MasterClass in 2020.
So here is my MasterClass review and is it worth the money?
There is a tonne of amazing things about MasterClass, and also a few letdowns that I want you to be aware of before you consider investing. Remember, something like this is actually an investment, not just entertainment value.
Here is what we’ll cover in this MasterClass review, and what you’ll discover.
Also, before we kick-off, I want to be transparent and let you know that the links below are affiliate links. If you end investing in Masterclass, I’ll be sharing all the photography masterclass funds with The Lost Passport to support his travels and blog. We appreciate it.
What is Masterclass and is it Worth the Money?
Masterclass is a San Francisco-based online e-platform founded by CEO David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen in 2015. I highly recommend you listen to David Rogiers four tips to hypergrowth in Masterclass for an in-depth review of how the Masterclass plans to grow as a company. Masterclass students gain access to tutorials and lectures recorded by experts in various fields.
Experts in Masterclass is an understatement. The Masterclass instructors are leading professionals within their respective industries. Masterclasses are directed by double Oscar-winning Bill Guttentag which then attracts other professionals from around the world to work with MasterClass. If you have seen any Masterclass trailers, you can see instantly see the quality of the video production and polished workbooks. I have a few YouTube videos below that showcase the attention to detail and quality.
You can also find Masterclass on social media platforms so you can keep up to date with all the latest Masterclass releases and engage in the master’s AMA (ask me anything) sessions. Masterclass is always creating new classes with A-list talent, so it’s wise to follow them. As of 2020, MasterClass is releasing one to two masterclasses per month.
MasterClass works on Google ChromeCast, Apple TV’s and all browsers so it’s a great way to learn and develop your skills while travelling and on the go.
If you would like to learn more about Master class and commonly asked questions. Masterclass customer support is second to none and has a straightforward FAQ area on their website. Alternatively, simply reach out to me on YouTube here.
What MasterClasses Are Offered?
Here is a small list of A-players teaching Masterclasses today:
- Jimmy Chin Masterclass – Adventure Photography
- Annie Leibovitz Masterclass – Photography
- Phil Ivey MasterClass – Poker Strategy
- Natalie Portman Masterclass – Teaches Acting
- Timbaland Masterclass – Producing and Beatmaking
- David Lynch Masterclass – Creativity and Film
- Dan Brown Masterclass – Writing Thrillers
- Paul Krugman Masterclass – Economics and Society
- Thomas Keller Masterclass – Cooking Techniques
- Gordon Ramsay Masterclass – Cooking
- Daniel Negreanu Masterclass – Poker
- Chris Hadfield Masterclass – Space Exploration
- Armin van Buuren Masterclass – Dance Music Production
- Jane Goodall Masterclass – Environment Conservation
This is why I recommend exploring the all-access masterclass which gives you full access to all online courses. Note! If you invest in the Gordon Ramsay Single MasterClass, it will be yours for a lifetime. If you invest in the all-access MasterClass, you will have access to ALL masterclasses for one year. Quite a few people want access to MasterClass for life so they invest in multiple single classes.
What Do You Get With MasterClass?
The Masterclass course structure is straightforward. Here is what you can expect:
- An average of 25 high-production quality videos per course ranging between 8 to 30 minutes each
- A course workbook containing additional information, additional reading and exercises to complete.
- The Masterclass Community forum where you can talk with other Masterclass students about the course and learn together. This is, in my opinion, the most valuable thing part of Masterclass.
How Much Does MaterClass Cost, and is it Worth it?
In general, you can take the Masterclasses in two different ways:
- You can purchase a single Masterclass for $90 and you will have it forever.
- You can purchase an all-access masterclass for $180, which will give you complete access to all existing and future Masterclasses
- BONUS: You can also gift masterclass to someone. I have gifted all-access passes to many family members. It’s an excellent gift for birthdays and Christmas.
Masterclass promotions happen roughly once every quarter on average. Like the two for one all-access pass where you get two all-access passes for the price of one.
SUPER SECRET BONUS TO GET MASTERCLASS FREE FOREVER: There is a Masterclass refer a friend program where you if you refer your friends, you will get three free months free on all-access. If you invite enough friends, you could technically get masterclass free forever!
MasterClass does not offer any sort of discounts. MasterClass offers seasonal specials, like the two for one all-access pass special. It is open to everyone when you arrive at their site, it isn’t something you find a promotion code for. The links above will take you directly to these offers when they are available.
MasterClasses for Travel Influencers in 2020
There are soon to be more than 80+ Masterclasses and they may not all be relevant to you. Here I’ll detail a few courses which are really useful for travel influencers.
Jimmy Chin’s an American professional, mountaineer, climber, skier, director, and photographer. Chin build his entire professional life taking photos at the top of the world secluded areas. National Geographic even put him on their cover and earned him multiple awards.
In his masterclass, he teaches us all the advanced techniques he uses to take amazing adventure shots. Start directly with the gear he uses, how he approaches commercial shoots, learn about editorial spreads and his passion projects. Jimmy Chin shares his insight into the process of photography, coupled with countless priceless anecdotes from his life and career.
This Masterclass contains 20 lessons with more than 3 hours of high-quality video content from of the best photographers on the planet. The masterclass also includes a Masterclass Workbook with exercises and extra reading material. You can then submit your work to the community for review and even have the opportunity for Jimmy Chin to review your work with frequent masterclass office hours where you can watch Jimmy provide feedback on assignments and answer student questions.
The most relevant and exciting lessons from Jimmy Chin’s Masterclass include:
- Lesson 10: Photo Studies: Creative Partnerships. In this chapter, featuring an interview with renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker, Jimmy breaks down how creative relationships fuel his photography and explores the importance of forging partnerships with those who push you to greater heights.
- Lesson 12: Photo Studies: Mountain Architecture. Jimmy breaks down his approach to photographing mountain landscapes, and how he composes his shots.
- Lesson 17: Settings: Modes, ISO, Focus, and Depth of Field. Get the most out of your camera’s functions and lenses. Jimmy dives into how different settings have different effects and shares practical tips for determining which configuration will help you get the best shot. It gives you unique insight you probably won’t find anywhere else.
Overall, I believe Jimmy Chin Masterclass is one of the most useful masterclasses for anyone interested in travel and photography. You get a good sense of Chin’s personality and the mindset you need to be the best photographer you can be. And I discovered some great photography tips I’ve never read on the internet or YouTube videos. Masterclass nailed it.
Annie Leibovitz is an American photographer. Annie is known for her unusual portraits most notably of celebrities—which often feature subjects in intimate settings and poses. Leibovitz photographed John Lennon on the day he was murdered, and her work has been used on numerous album covers and magazines.
Leibovitz was the first woman to be named chief photographer at Rolling Stone. Annie shows us that what makes a picture stunning isn’t the gear or technology, it’s the story. Annie teaches us her philosophy on photography how to build concepts, work with elements, shoot with different forms of light, and bring images to life in post-production.
Annie Leibovitz Masterclass is displayed over 15 high-quality video lessons each ranging from 5 to 20 minutes. Masterclass students also receive a workbook with exercises, resources, and course materials.
You can then submit your work to the community for review and even have the opportunity for Annie Leibovitz to review your work with frequent masterclass office hours where you can watch Annie provide feedback on assignments and answer lucky student questions.
The most enticing lessons from Annie Leibovitz Masterclass include:
- Lesson 4: Working With Light. Annie discusses her philosophy around photography equipment, working with natural light, and the value of keeping your lighting kit small.
- Lesson 10: The Technical Side of Photography. Annie shares how she approached transitioning from film to digital, and what starting out in the darkroom can teach you. Annie also shares her perspective on focus and sharpness—and how above all else it’s the content that matters.
- Lesson 15: The Evolution of a Photographer. Here you learn how Annie’s artistic journey impacted her evolution as a photographer—from the inspiration of family photos to the San Francisco Art Institute and Rolling Stone.
Annie Leibovitz is one of the most respected names in photography. The fact that she is teaching a new MasterClass is evidence of the quality and power of the MasterClass brand. I can guarantee photographers of any level will find a lot of value and fall in love with Annie Leibovitz MasterClass.
Further in-depth Masterclass reviews showing you my thoughts and I take you directly into the class so you can see it in action:
What I Don’t Like About MasterClass
This wouldn’t be an honest review if I didn’t bring up some things that Masterclass didn’t have. Here are the things I didn’t tickle my fancy.
While every teacher is a master in their respective fields, not all of them were the best teachers. You can tell the quality of video editing really “carries” some of the masters. All credit should be given to the Oscar-winning video editors and directors because they come through for some of these masterclasses.
They are sometimes not as detailed as you want them to be. The masterclass workbook somewhat fixes this and Masterclass is aware of it because they are investing in advanced classes such as Gordon Ramsay & Thomas Keller Advanced masterclasses. So they know we want more! Which is positive.
There is no offline mode to download the classes. You require the internet to watch these classes. So if you have limited bandwidth and you’re on your way to work. The masterclass will eat through your data like 8k video on dial-up speed, or something like that. You know what I mean.
The real question here is, do the masterclass disadvantages outweigh the positives? Simply put, no because the price is so affordable for the positives.
Are MasterClasses Worth the Money?
I’ve created a substantial amount of dedicated masterclass reviews from the likes of Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay, Dan Brown, Deadmau5, Armin Van Buuren and I could keep going. Overall, each masterclass is different and unique to fit the personality of the master. Some are very technical in their approach, while others were more theoretical and analytical like the Dan Brown or Paul Krugman Masterclass.
This difference in masterclass style makes all the masterclasses feel fresh and entertaining. If they were all the same style, it would get boring fast. But it doesn’t, Masterclasses are engaging and exciting throughout the entire program. I wish school was taught like this. You can instantly tell you are watching Daniel Negreanu Masterclass in the first five seconds of the masterclass. You immediately get that poker vibe, which is cool.
I wish we could get a little more! For example, I wish I could see Armin Van Buuren Masterclass create another track which was a bit more euphoric rather than the rave pumper. Instead, we created a festival hit. Don’t get me wrong, the track was solid though.
To conclude, I can say that each class is worth watching. It was terrific to have such a professional and crystal clear approach to being taught by the best of the best. Which is exactly what they deserve. Most of these masterclasses will not give you the tools to jump right into the industry without some previous experience and background knowledge. That’s ok though, you’re probably not going to take the Dan Brown Masterclass if you don’t have an interest in writing. Instead, they give you the best possible foundation to kick off your career with their guidance as a starting point.
I own the all-access masterclass subscription, and I plan to watch these with my girlfriend as a replacement for the movie subscription we have. Up next, I’ll be taking the Jodie Foster Masterclass and Natalie Portman’s Masterclass because that’s the most cost-effective date we can have. But don’t tell the girlfriend.
For photographers and adventurers, you can’t go wrong with Jimmy Chin Masterclass and you would be shooting yourself in the foot if you didn’t invest in this class for yourself. Let me know how you go with it!
Thanks for reading this full masterclass review. If you want a deep dive into more masterclass action. You can check out LouisPee’s channel here on YouTube.