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How to increase sharpness of a photograph using Photoshop?

Let’s admit it. We all have come across situations where we don’t have time to set a proper manual focus on a subject and click. And then when we process the pictures at our home we realize that “Oh! Only if I had a little more sharpness in this image it would have been very good”. Well this tutorial is here to answer this problem.

After reading this tutorial I am sure many of you would use this effect in almost every picture of yours for the effect that it gives out is what you call “COOL”. We would be seeing three different methods that I usually use to increase the sharpness of my image. All the three methods of increasing sharpness will give you almost the same effect. But it is upto you to choose when and where you would use it.

RAW Images.

A good practice in professional photography is to shoot the images in your camera’s native RAW format. I admit that it takes more space but it is really worth when you know what all you can do with a RAW image.

I use Nikon D3100 camera and hence my RAW format is ‘NEF’ format. To view and process any RAW image you would require the camera’s processing software. For Nikon it is ‘ViewNX 2’. You can download it here. And for Canon camera you can download your software from here.

The process is the same in every software and hence I would use Nikon’s ViewNX 2 and show you how to increase sharpness.

1. Browse and locate the place where you have stored your photographs. Double click on the thumbnail image to open them.

2. Then by clicking on the small arrow to the right of your screen you can pull in the ‘Adjustments’ panel. This would be our command center to do all the necessary changes. There you would see a slider named ‘Sharpness’.

3. Just slide them to increase or decrease your Sharpness amount. Compare the image here and you can see for yourself.

Note: This can be done on a JPG image too. But the resulting image will have lots of grains in them.

Unsharp mask

This is a fairly simple method which will come in handy most of the time. We will be using ‘Unsharp Mask’ filter in Photoshop. I know many would have tried the ‘Sharpen’ filter but this gives you a much more gloss to your work.

1. Just open your photograph in Photoshop.
2. Go to Filter – Sharpen – Unsharp Mask.
3. This will open a dialogue box for you to control the amount of sharpness you want.

4. Remember to keep your ‘Threshold’ level at ’90’. This would prevent over doing of ‘Unsharp Mask’ to the image. Rest adjusting the ‘Amount’ and ‘Radius’ it is upto you to be the best judge.

High Pass Filter

This is a little sophisticated step where you get to chose the areas you would like to sharpen and apply filter on them. Meaning – the more area you select the more vivid your picture is gonna look.

1. Open your file in Photoshop and duplicate it by pressing Ctrl+J.

2. Now go to Filter – Other – High Pass. This is where you get to select the edges of the image. Mostly a maximum value of ‘4’ would be enough to select all the edges in the image.

3. Now change the blending mode of the layer into ‘Vivid Light’ and see the magic.

4. Let’s see a comparison here.

I hope this tutorial was useful for you. Please let me know your view in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

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