Photohop Tip of the Week #9: Sharpening – part 1

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Digital photos often can look less sharp SOOC than a film counterpart. They can look a little soft or have a light haze.

Over the next few weeks, I will explain some sharpening techniques and de-hazing/de-fogging as well.

A few sharpening methods used by photographers and retouchers are:
– Unsharp Mask
– High Pass Sharpening
– Lab Sharpening
– Smart Sharpen
– and there are more too

Most people find their favorites and stay with those. Over the next few weeks I will tell you more on each.

***********************************************************This week we will discuss what I usually start most photo editing with – Getting rid of digital haze – DEFOGGING!

To defog a photo, go under your filter menu to sharpen (UNSHARP MASK).

Here is the dialog box you will see.

Enter 14-20 for amount, 40-60 for radius, and 0 for threshold. I usually use 14/40/0 but sometimes do 20/60/0.

There are times where I do not do this. If yu take a photo at high ISO and have a lot of grain, this will enhance the grain (not usually an effect you want). BUT if you have a well shot picture without artifacts, this will give it a little lift.

Defogging is subtle. This is just one step in the editing process. It is not meant to do everything, just lift the haze.

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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  1. 1

    Amy says

    What, if any, is the difference between doing this, and changing the contrast? I tried to do this the way you described, and it definitely worked, but looks like it you just upped the contrast a bit, it would do the same.

  2. 2

    Jodi says

    Amy, this in part does increase contrast and help with that “fog” digital pictures get. But has less tendency than brightness/contrast to clip highlights and shadows. I use both in my editing, but start with this.

  3. 3

    Wendy says

    Thank you for explaining this! Can you elaborate a little more on what exactly the amount, radius and threshold are affecting?

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