What do I get for joining?

You get access to weekly live edits (watch and ask questions in real time) as well as the entire library of past edits. Members get a discount on store products, retouching services and one-to-one training, as well as any future courses added to the training section in future. (Discounts valid only for active subscribers).

Subscribers can submit raw files to be edited by Sarah during her live edits, and if chosen, you can use the finished photograph.

How long am I committed for?

If you subscribe monthly, you pay on a month by month basis from the credit card you use to sign up; if you choose yearly, you pay each year. In both cases you can cancel when you like without having to contact me, through your account area in the website. Click cancel and your card will not be charged at the next billing cycle.

How much Photoshop do I need to know to be able to follow the Live Edits?

I am explaining the edits as I go but I am assuming you already have a good working knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom as a professional, semi-professional or keen amateur portrait photographer. You need to know:

  • how adjustments layers work
  • how masks work
  • be familiar with all the standard portrait retouching tools like clone, heal, spot healing, brushes, selections etc.

If you have a rough understanding of these, you’ll be very familiar with them after watching a few edits. To get the most out of the edits, be sure to attend the live ones so you can ask me questions while I work.

Do you teach the basics to beginners?

I will be creating and adding courses on the basics very soon.

What on earth is "fine art" retouching?

I don’t think there is an official definition, but what I mean by the term, for the purposes of my work and this website, is “a careful retouch, with a creative flair, showing great attention to detail and with the intention of printing the final photograph on fine art or other media intended for the wall in a large format”. It’s not quite high-end beauty retouching (which has another level of perfection required for advertising), it’s not merely fashion/editorial retouching with blank faces, emphasis on clothing and atmosphere created through colour: it’s a dash of both, and a sprinkling of my own magic sauce which is simply…what I like and what looks good to me.

Who is this site for?

My intended audience is primarily working portrait, fine art and wedding photographers who want to learn how to create that special product for the walls of discerning clients’ homes.

Who is Sarah?

Me, I’m Sarah. I am primarily a photographer not a retoucher, although I do occasionally retouch for other portrait photographers if my schedule allows it.

I started photography at the age of 39, and within a year I was working professionally for private and commercial clients. I went full-time in 2014. I have a portrait studio near my home in Lake Garda, Italy, and between 2013 and 2017 photographed around 30 weddings a year for Italian and destination wedding couples.

I learned Photoshop before starting photography, as I used it for many years to create graphics and websites for other businesses I built. I started learning retouching seriously in 2010-11, from books, DVDs by high-end retouchers and trained one-to-one with a fashion and beauty retoucher with work published in Vogue, Elle and in major advertising campaigns. From that point on it was just hundreds of hours of practice.

My portrait website: https://www.sarahferrara.com

My weddings website: https://www.sarahferraraweddings.com

What should I expect during a Live Edit?

Well, first of all please note that these are live, unedited edit sessions. I answer questions from those watching in real time, sometimes I unmute viewers so we can chat, and I am often interrupted by barking dogs (mainly Nina the elderly rescued Yorkie who sits by my side at all times and guards me jealously) and children (mainly Ellie, aged 9). They are raw and real and show my decision making process as I work – sometimes I make unnecessary edits because I’m having fun, but it all makes for excellent learning opportunities.

I should also state that many edits are creative retouches, meaning I significantly alter the original picture. I don’t do this for “normal” portrait clients unless they specifically request it. But if it’s a personal shoot I did for fun then all bets are off, and I can go to town and have some fun.

The recorded videos in the live edits library are simply the screencasts of the original session.

When you participate in a live session (which you can access by clicking the link under the memberships menu – this will take you to zoom.us which I use to broadcast), you will usually just see my screen and hear my voice as I am working. You can ask questions in the group chat, which I answer in real time. Sometimes if there are just one or two of us, I’ll unmute so we can chat via audio as well. I usually don’t have the webcam on because, you know, pyjamas.