Image Sharpening

7 Building Blocks of Photography 2

There are several ways to go about image sharpening in Photoshop ­ but which is the right one? And why do we even need image sharpening in the first place?

As with all things photographic it’s not so much which image sharpening tool is the right one, it’s more to do with which is right for the image you’re working on. And most of it depends on what you’re going to do with that image. Is it for printing or for the web? Are you sharpening it because you’re enlarging it for a big print or because it’s not quite sharp in the first place?

Look at these two images. The top one is sharp and the bottom one is what's called 'over sharpened'. Notice how it seems harsh and edgy? Image sharpening goes hand in hand with re-sizing and you use different methods according to whether you’re using pixel dimensions or document size to do it.

There's no rule as to how much sharpening you should apply. It's a judgement you have to make which depends entirely on how it looks and it's usually very subtle. To see what I mean members can download the version where I demonstrate sharpening an image that's been reduced to 72 dpi for uploading to the internet. Flick between the two and look at the guys chin and microphone to see what I mean by subtle.

I know - Image sharpening poses a lot of questions and seems confusing but once you understand the basics it is in reality just a couple of mouse clicks which will help ensure your images look great.

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