Secrets of a Photographer (Sharpening)

So whether you're a professional photographer or a stay at home mom with a handheld camera; you have a love for photography, right? You snap snap snap and attempt to capture some killer eye catching shots... But what happens when you're the "not so professional photographer" without  the knowledge of post production and need an image sharpened? Are you quick on the trigger to load up iPhoto or even an app on your phone? Control Alt Delete that and let's take you step by step and show you how I,  personally edit my images; images that have been seen throughout magazines and the media world wide.

I'm going to show you step by step how one, even with little to no knowledge of post production can sharpen your images in a professional manner within minutes, using Adobe Photoshop, in this case version CS5.

Even as a professional magazine photographer,  I still tend to get a little shutter happy and not always focus (no pun intended) on the focus point before taking the shot.

In this case, I had the privilege to shoot with the beautiful Macy Rodriguez in Oceanside, CA and noticed her facial area was missing a certain level of sharpness that I like to capture in my shots. Instead of trashing the image, I spent literally under 60 seconds correcting this. Let me show you how...

The first step in recovering the focus is to open your image in Photoshop and duplicate the layer. Think of this step as you're making a photocopy of a document (just in case you mess up the original). To keep your work organize, name this layer "High Pass" when prompted.

You are then going to want to set the blending mode to "overlay" in your Layers panel.

With the duplicate layer now set to overlay, here comes the sharpening: Filter > Other > High Pass will take you directly to the option in which you will select your High Pass Radius.

In this case I went with 3.0 pixels, however, every photo is different and you might want to hover around the 1.5-3.0 range for portrait shots, or even 1.5-6.0 for landscape area type shots to get more of an HDR effect.

The key with this method is to not go overboard. A little goes a very long way, especially if you were to compare the original image to the final image in print. Quickly you will notice a level of sharpness in the facial area such as the eyes, eye lashes, lips, make up, etc...

Have a question or topic you want covered on the blog? Click Here to send James Freeman an email. Next week we will take our now "Sharpened" photo and give it my "signature look". And as always, be sure to visit often for other posts in regards to photography tips, post production secrets, and product reviews from Backdrop Outlet.

Article/Photos: James Freeman
Model: Macy Rodriguez

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