Sarah Wilkerson

The Secrets of Skin


Learn how to shoot and edit for skin color, tone, and texture - with specific formulas and techniques guaranteed to give you perfect results every time.

First published in 2012, the definitive seminar on skin color for photographers has been reformatted as a self-paced course.


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What you'll get
An understanding of how the color, quality, and direction of light, combined with exposure, influence the way you capture skin in-camera

Comprehensive processing techniques to achieve beautiful skin across ethnicities in both Photoshop and Lightroom

High end retouching methods for men, women, children, and newborns

Skin color and tone flowcharts, CMYK and RGB formulas, and workflows for Photoshop and Lightroom

Downloadable editing tools and an image pack with over 24 high-res photos for follow-along color correction
image by Lisa Tichané

"literally the skin color bible for photographers."

check out what's in your classroom
a comprehensive textbook presented in a series of step-by-step lessons detailing shooting & editing methods, workflows, and edit-with-me walkthroughs
editing videos
7 instructional editing videos, including edits of real student photos
Hands-On Tools
Tools and resources for both hands-on practice and an optimized workflow, including printable reference charts, follow-along files, and custom editing tools for Lightroom and Photoshop

This self-paced course is currently a reformatted version of the second edition of Flawless: The Secrets of Skin, which was previously available only as a digital bundle. This reformatted version presents the original material in a lesson-based approach, together with steps you can check off as you progress, to provide a much more structured learning experience than the digital bundle offered previously.


you’ll be able to produce beautiful, consistent skin color, texture, and tone - with every subject, every time.

meet your instructor

Sarah Wilkerson
A graduate of Duke University and the University of Texas School of Law, Sarah Wilkerson is the CEO of Click & Company, a media organization and social network that helps photographers develop their skills, amplify their voices, and enrich their lives both personally and professionally. Sarah is the author of Capture the Moment (Penguin Random House) and Click & Company’s bestselling Flawless: the Secrets of Skin. She has also spent the last decade studying and teaching photographers about composition and creativity using a multidisciplinary approach that draws upon storytelling, psychology, and traditional artistic principles. She presently lives in North Carolina with her Army JAG husband, their four children, two Havanese, and a Great Dane named Eliza Doolittle.

21 thoughts on “Flawless”

  1. I bought this course a while ago so I can do on my own time. I have been having trouble with skin tones for a while and this course is a game changer. I haven’t even gone half way through and I can’t wait to keep diving in and I don’t know why I waited so long. If you’re struggling with skin tones like me, this course is packed with information.

    1. Juliana, I’m so glad to hear that you were able to finally take the time to dig in and that you’re getting a lot out of it. It really is frustrating to struggle with skin tones, but by the time you finish the course, you’ll have the skills to manage just about anything! :)

    1. Hi, Karlee! Yes, absolutely. In the material I actually recommend everyone use Photoshop at the initial stages of working with color and training your eyes simply because Photoshop’s color output and measurement tools give us much more precision. I do also cover Lightroom for those who use it, especially as part of a RAW editing workflow, but Photoshop is covered at length and in depth if that’s your preferred editing application from start to finish. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have other questions!

  2. Hi, thinking of buying this but wondering how the 3rd version which is in development will differ, in terms of content, delivery and/or cost? thanks

    1. Hi Yvonne! I am planning to add even more instructional videos to the third version, but – even more importantly – I am inviting students to help shape the third version. Specifically, I’m requesting feedback on what *they* would like to see to enhance or reinforce the material, as well as inviting students to submit images of their own, particularly if there are ages, races, ethnicities, or other factors that influence skin color and tone that they would like to see represented more prominently in the examples and explanations.

      The delivery is planned to align to the current updated framework (which is to say, content organized by lessons and presented as individual steps that include written instruction, videos, and practice exercises). I do not anticipate a significant shift in cost, and current students who wish to join the third edition will likely be invited to do so at a discounted rate. With that said, this is all very tentative, and I do not have a timeline set for the new version at this point.

      Let me know if you have any other questions or if I can otherwise help in any way.

  3. I can see why everyone recommends this. I’ve read about CMYK skin color ratios before but it never clicked until I got this skin workshop – finally the numbers make sense, and they actually WORK. It’s a ton of content, and I’m still working through it but I honestly get something new out of it every time I refer back (which is a lot!). You definitely want to set time aside to focus with this one – but if you put in the time, it definitely pays off. Thank you!

  4. I am so disappointed with this. I purchased it back in 2015 and reached out to CM to see if I could get the brushes and presets that had been lost in transferring pictures. No reply so I purchased it again. Now I literally threw that money away. I can NOT get my skin to have the CMYK ratios they say and if I do, the skin looks awful. I’ve tried it over and over and honestly, just by eye is much better. I threw my money away twice so safe yourself and don’t buy this 200 page bunch of garbage.

  5. This class is chock full of information and is also a bit of a Photoshop tutorial. The PDF offers a huge amount of information as do the videos. Secondly, this class takes a while due to the wealth of information. It took me a full week to work through it and I most likely will walk through a few of the “follow alongs” a few more times. Thank you to Sarah for this fantastic class!

  6. This is an amazing guide. Yes, it’s very dense, and the meat of the material is in PDF form. I’m a book learner, and it works very well for me–amazing, really. It’s the perfect balance of enough why, how, and examples/screenshots. It’s necessarily technically deep on the math behind skin, but to me, that’s necessary to really understand what makes skin so finicky to get right. It’s really an amazing guide, one of the best, well thought-out and well put-together tutorials I’ve ever read (including from my professional life!)

  7. AH-MAZING! This is by far the most comprehensive guide for skin color. I have taken classes and tutorials and nothing else has come close. I have simply not seen anything like this anywhere else. Thank you, Sarah, for taking the time to develop this guide and sharing your incredible, in-depth knowledge!

  8. A Must Have if You Have (or are Contemplating) Professional Portrait Photography. This breakout was so chock full of information I found useful – it helped me understand what really good skin exposure and color is and why “getting skin right” is so hard for so photographers (including many professionals). I now know exactly how to get the correct exposure for skin and how to fix any problems in post processing – both in Photoshop and in Lightroom. This breakout covers every possible situation a photographer might encounter related to different skin types, but it is not just about skin. It’s also about color post-processing in general. I am not a novice photographer, and there was so much information that was either (a) new to me or (b) explained in a way that finally made sense. The best money I have spent on photography education.

  9. Better than I hoped for. I have been a photographer for 20 years but I only became a professional portrait photographer 2 years ago. I was hoping this eclass wouldn’t be too “beginner level”. Ii isn’t. I learned so much and the great thing is the class is designed for all levels.

    It is very organized, detailed yet concise. I highly recommend it to any portrait photographer who wants to nail skin color!

  10. Fan-flippin-tastic! I cannot recommend this enough – Sarah goes above and way beyond in this breakout! My client portraits have NEVER been this color accurate… and I thought they were!! But now, they’re on a whole different level. 100% true to the eye color. I have read the materials over & over and learn something new each time. If you have ever gotten back a print and thought it could be a bit better or needed a bit more “realistic” ooomph, then this is going to rock your world. Worth every penny…

  11. Wow! This is heavy stuff. When I first started I thought a lot of this was way over my head and I’d gotten in too deep. It really helped me to find the holes in my knowledge though and so some of the things I researched separately (zone system, spot metering, ETTR) and I think it’s really helped even the way I take photos for flattering skin. Not super useful if you use Elements and it sounds like she recommends using CS5 and the even some of her basic edits don’t really translate into Elements usability (there may be ways to do some of her edits though the menus looks really different but already without being able to use ProPhoto RGB and 16 bit in Elements, you’re behind) and she very highly recommends photoshop CS for most accurate skin readabilility at least til you train your eyes. However, she does teach you how to read and adjust the RGB values in Lightroom and offers just as many Lightroom adjustments and follow alongs as she does with CS. Overall I would definitely recommend this workshop, I learned a ton and though I never think my eye will be as great as hers (hopefully with some training it will improve) and she saw things I never would think of or understand her thought process (too much magenta in face creases, what have I gotten myself into1?)I have seen a huge improvement in my photos and it does make me think about trying to identify the correct skin tones and keep my eye on it in processing. It was especially helpful where she talks about correcting skin for more than one ethnicity since I am very fair skinned with a dark skinned African American husband and light skinned son and I feel comfortable making these edits now. I think I will definitely be referring back to this frequently and can continue to learn from it as my photography knowledge increases as well and more of the pieces fit together.

  12. Flawless is a breakout created with generosity, love and full intention. The breakout is jam packed with information to help you get the best skin you can in your images. It is easy to get overwhelmed when you see a huge PDF brimming with content but Sarah gives us a “disclaimer” that her breakout is not meant to be devoured and digested in one sitting. For me, I am plan on reading and doing, reading and doing till shooting best for skin becomes second nature. For me, my mastery goals for photography is a journey, not a quick means to an end, so I am OK with the size and depth of this breakout. I highly suggest it.

  13. I have been studying skin and color for at least one year now. It has been a difficult and frustrating journey! I have often blamed my monitor/calibration for the skin/color errors I made in post production. When I saw this program available to us CM’s I was quick to make the investment. I could not be happier and know it was the best thing I have done for myself and my images. The material has filled the gaps that other books and webinars I previously studied, left me to search for the answer or figure out on my own. This program is nicely laid out and takes you through from start to finish. You will not be disappointed with this workshop. The editing videos watching Sarah work are priceless, everything seemed to come together and was confirmation I am on the right track. Thank you. I would have paid more for this program, the price is a steal of a deal.

  14. I took this seminar to fill a gap I had which was skin tones of non-white subjects. Just in my immediate family I have dark-medium and light african-american skintones and to say I needed help when editing a picture of the three of us was an understatement. There are great resources here on CM for skintones like PS101 which devotes a week to color correction with CMYK values in Photoshop, SarahW’s tutorial within the forums on skintones with CMYK values, as well as PS201 covering skintones as well. What I found lacking in these previous resources I have found in the skin workshop.

    This seminar goes beyond CMYK values to discuss shooting for great skin to color-space, luminance, and color processing for all types of skintones. There are walkthrough edits in the 191 page PDF in both PS and LR as well as editing videos that accompany the PDF that illustrate edits in both PS and LR.

    If you are struggling with skintones be it newborn, non-white, old, or multi-subject pictures with lots of different skintones; I think you’ll have trouble finding a better resource.

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