How to Sharpen Digital Wedding Photography Images for Print

Even if you have a steady hand, at times in your digital wedding photography career, you’ll have images turn out softer (that is, a bit more blurry) than you’d prefer. Thankfully, Photoshop has the ability to sharpen images and make them crisp and clear — but only to a certain degree. An overly blurry image is not fixable, even in an advanced program like Photoshop.

The sharpening tools can’t actually reconstruct a photo; rather they increase the contrast of the edges in a picture, making it look more sharp.

Like with retouching an image, you want to make sure you aren’t too heavy-handed with Photoshop’s sharpening features. An over-sharpened image gets a sharpening halo, where the edges in a photo have white halos around them. You want to sharpen an image just enough to give it a crisp feel.

Follow these steps to sharpen an image in Photoshop:

  1. Open the image in Photoshop and create a duplicate layer by hitting Command+J (Mac) or Control+J (Windows).

  2. With your duplicate layer selected, apply the High Pass Filter by going to Filter →Other →High Pass Filter.

  3. In the dialog box, adjust the Radius until the edges of the preview look sharp enough and then click OK.

    The default radius for the High Pass Filter is 10, but most images need significantly less sharpening than that. Usually around 2 or 3 suffices. As you can see, the High Pass Filter turns your image gray. Not to worry, we’ll fix that in a second!

    image0.jpg
  4. Change the blending mode of your layers to Overlay by clicking the dropdown menu above your layers palette, located on the left-hand side of your screen.

    Using the Overlay blending mode blends Layer 1 and the Background layer, giving your image a nice sharpened effect.

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  5. If your image looks too sharp, adjust the opacity of the layer by sliding the Opacity bar on the layers palette to the left.

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