HDR Troubleshooting: Sharpening - dummies

HDR Troubleshooting: Sharpening

If you get caught up in perfection, you’re primed to over-sharpen your HDR images. Photographers are sometimes obsessed with sharpness in their photos. They want everything to be pixelly perfectly sharp from the nose of the camera to infinity, no matter what lens, aperture, ISO, or shutter speed they use.

This figure shows the results of over-sharpening (and then a proper amount) on a close-up of Dale Earnhardt’s #3 car at the Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum. Over-sharpening introduced artifacts, noise, and imperfections in the top image (which is a bit overdone, to try to show you the result).

Alternatively, when you go easy, as in the bottom image, you’re left with a much clearer image with less noise and no edge artifacts.


Here’s a trick. Don’t over-magnify when you’re editing images. They’ll always look bad at 1600% — much like you would look like under a microscope. Back away from the magnifying glass.

In fact, get into the habit of zooming out and looking at the image as if it were printed normally to gauge what is discernible for the average print or not. If the image is 300 dots per inch (dpi), 25% magnification is a good representation; if at 72 dpi, then 100%.