Sharpen soft shots

Ge­orge Cairns re­veals how to use Pho­to­shop El­e­ments to sharpen de­tails

NPhoto - - Contents -

Use El­e­ments 12 to sharpen de­tails in im­ages with­out adding un­wanted arte­facts

There are several rea­sons why a photo may look soft. There’s the ob­vi­ous one: the shot’s slightly out of fo­cus. Or, if you shoot with a wide aper­ture set­ting then you’ll have a nar­row depth of field, so only a shal­low area will re­main in fo­cus.

Our start im­age was cap­tured us­ing a wide aper­ture of f/3.2, which cre­ated a blurred back­ground that helps the model stand out. We wouldn’t want to sharpen a de­lib­er­ately blurred back­ground, but we can make de­tails such as our model’s eyes stand out more ef­fec­tively with sharp­en­ing, cour­tesy of Pho­to­shop El­e­ments 12.

Even if your im­age looks sharp on screen, it can print out fuzzily, so a touch of post-pro­duc­tion sharp­en­ing helps cre­ate a print with more punch.

El­e­ments makes soft ob­jects in a shot look sharper by in­creas­ing the con­trast around the edges of de­tails. This gives cer­tain fea­tures more im­pact, mak­ing them ap­pear sharper. Sharp­en­ing is a bal­anc­ing act. If you in­crease the con­trast around the edges by too large an amount you can add sharp­en­ing arte­facts such as hor­ri­ble haloes and nasty noise. We’ll show you how to recog­nise and there­fore avoid adding arte­facts while sharp­en­ing our shots.

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