Enhance Sharpness in a Close-Up Photograph Postproduction - dummies

Enhance Sharpness in a Close-Up Photograph Postproduction

By Thomas Clark

Sharpness is very important, especially in macro and close-up photography. It’s easy to spot focus-related errors in this genre because so much close detail is visible in the photographs.

Most photo-editing programs enable you to increase sharpness in an image, and when it’s done correctly, this can add a crisp and realistic edge to your photographs. Knowing when to use sharpening tools, how they affect your photos, and what to avoid is important, so you can use them to enhance your images rather than to ruin them.

The best way to create sharp images is to start by getting your subject in focus and capturing the shot without any motion blur or camera shake. Most digital photographers apply sharpening to all of their photos, even the ones that are already sharp. They do so because many cameras and lenses simply leave more to be desired (even when everything was executed perfectly).

By sharpening an already sharp image even further in postproduction, you can create a crisp, maximum level of sharpness that represents how you want the image to appear. Notice the difference in the photograph between a photograph that was captured in sharp focus and then enhanced with the sharpening filter in Photoshop. The enhanced image appears crisper and provides a more detailed image.

If you fail to capture your subject in sharp focus, then you can use sharpening filters in an attempt to make the image appear sharp. However, know that there’s a limit. If an image is extremely blurry, there’s no hope of bringing out the sharp detail. Photographs that are slightly blurred can often be salvaged, though.


100mm, 1/320, f/11, 640    100mm, 1/320, f/11, 640