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Digital Editing - How to Sharpen Your Photos

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We've all taken photos that were a bit more soft focus than we would have liked. However, sharpening them in photo editing software can be tricky using conventional methods. If you use the "sharpen" filter you often get a lot of added noise and an artificial look. If you use the "unsharp mask" you get better results but often what you most wanted sharpened takes second place to some random background object that was sharpened more. Well, there is yet another way to sharpen your images in digital editing programs that produces excellent results.

For these instructions I am using the popular Photoshop Elements.

Step 1
Open your image in Photoshop Elements (or similar photo editing software).

Step 2
Make a duplicate layer

Step 3
On the new layer desaturate the image so that it looks greyscale.

Step 4
Still working with the new layer, select the "high pass" filter.

Step 5
Move the "pixel radius" slider until you see faint outlines of the part of the image that needs sharpening and then press the ok button.

Step 4
Still working with the new layer, select the eraser tool.

Step 5
Set the eraser opacity to about 7% and resize the eraser to a fairly large size.

Step 6
Lightly erase areas you do not want sharpened. This is just to take the edge off the sharpening. Do NOT completely erase any areas.

Step 7
With the new layer still selected, chose the "overlay" blending method in the layers tools.

Your image should now be nicely sharpened in all the right areas without the annoying noise.
Related Video
How to Sharpen Blurry Photos in Photoshop

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