Sharpen macro pho­tos

Em­pha­size sharp­ness with Pho­to­shop CC’s High Pass fil­ter

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There are plenty of tech­niques for sharp­en­ing your pho­tos, but few are as ef­fec­tive as High Pass sharp­en­ing. This method makes use of Pho­to­shop’s High Pass Fil­ter, which sep­a­rates an im­age into high fre­quency and low fre­quency de­tail. It ef­fec­tively al­lows us to tar­get the edges in an im­age – where light pix­els meet darker pix­els and ap­ply con­trast to them, re­sult­ing in crisper and sharper de­tails.

The High Pass tech­nique is es­pe­cially suit­able for lo­cal­ized sharp­en­ing of spe­cific ar­eas of an im­age. If you think about it, when an im­age has out-of-fo­cus, de­tail-less ar­eas (as is of­ten the case with macro pho­tos) there’s re­ally no need to ap­ply uni­ver­sal sharp­en­ing to these ar­eas, as all we end up do­ing is am­pli­fy­ing the im­age noise – not ideal at all.

So for cer­tain im­ages like this it’s bet­ter to se­lec­tively sharpen the parts that mat­ter most. To help us do this, we can use a neat trick in­volv­ing the ‘Fo­cus Area’ com­mand. This is a use­ful tool that au­to­mat­i­cally se­lects ar­eas of an im­age that are in-fo­cus – in­cred­i­bly use­ful. Nor­mally it’s used to iso­late the sub­ject for a quick cut-out, but here we can put the com­mand to use seek­ing out the de­tail-rich ar­eas of our im­age in or­der to sharpen them. This ba­si­cally helps us keep ev­ery­thing else lovely and soft where it mat­ters.

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