Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sharpen Your Photos With A Few Simple Steps

Having sharp photographs is one of the most essential aspects of a successful food photograph. Digital cameras sometimes produce soft images that need to be sharpened in post-production. That's where Photoshop comes into play. Photoshop is essential.

In this tutorial, I'll show you a really quick way to sharpen your images using Photoshop. I use this trick ALL OF THE TIME. You should too!

Sharpening Tutorial in second part of post...

Step #1. Duplicate The Background Layer

Open your image in Photoshop and using the layer palette, duplicate the layer. You can either click and drag the background layer into the "new" layer icon at the bottom of the layer paletter or you can select the background layer and go to Layer> Duplicate Layer.

Step #2. Add High Pass Filter

With the duplicated layer selected, go to Filter> in the top menu, Other> High Pass. The image will appear gray with white and black outlines. The scrubby slider on the bottom will control the amount of sharpening...slide it to the right for more sharpening or slide it the left for less. The goal is to get the gray image to appear as only a line drawing. Click ok.

Step #3. Change Layer Blending Mode

On the layer palette change the layer blending mode from 'Normal' to 'Overlay'. The gray layer will now disappear and turn into a sharpened layer. Switch the layer off and on to see the difference!

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  1. This works like a charm! Thanks for sharing!

  2. great tip - I have been using unsharp mask but this seems to work better

  3. I'm glad it worked for all three of you. This trick works a bit better than unsharp mask because it only affects the edges. Unsharp mask can sometimes add noise to the whole image while this only affects contrasting edges.

  4. Thanks for the food is good, my photography sucks-ish! lol

  5. what great tips! thank you :D

  6. hey dchaney, I looked at your photos...they don't suck! I actually like them.

    Pearl, thanks for stopping by...I'm glad you found my posts helpful.

  7. It was a fun..different way to sharpen..Thanks!

  8. Wow! Thanks for this great tip. My photos are always turned down by the big food photo sites like Tastespotting for being unsharp, etc. This technique made a huge difference. Maybe I'll get something published now!

  9. This is sweet, thanks for the tutorial! Now I can sharpen those slightly blurry photos of mine~

    Man I knew my PS skills were crap! =D


  10. Thanks everyone! I'm glad readers are finding this tutorial helpful.

  11. I've been reading your p-shop tips on digital photo school and then i try them out. this has been a goldmine in terms of making my pix look better. thanks for sharing!

  12. Hi Danny - I just tried this and it worked great, but it seems easier to use the "smart sharpen" filter. Can you explain the difference?