Image sharpening: how to bring out more detail in your favourite photos

Photoshop image sharpening step-by-step: 10

In this Photoshop Elements tutorial we show you clever ways of bringing out more detail through image sharpening, while keeping some of the side effects to a minimum.

Image sharpening: how to bring out more detail in your favourite photos

When you view a photo on your camera’s relatively small rear screen, it may look crisp and sharp.

However, it’s only when you view the image at actual size on your home computer’s larger display that you realise it’s not quite in sharp focus. This means some key details may look slightly blurred and lack real definition.

The image could also look soft due to your camera’s built-in anti-moiré filter, which is designed to minimise unsightly blocky patterns and false colours caused by complex textures.

Fortunately, Photoshop Elements has a range of effective sharpening tools that enable you to reveal detail in soft-focus areas and create a print with more punch.

In this tutorial we’ll show you how to sharpen up JPEGs in the standard Photoshop Elements editor and then move on to teasing out delicate details in a soft-looking raw file using the Adobe Camera Raw editor.

Photoshop Elements enables you to make a soft shot look sharper by increasing the contrast around the edge of objects in the scene. This gives delicate details more definition and impact.

However, by increasing the contrast you can also add unsightly artefacts such as harsh black or white halos around contrasting edges.

This gives the game away that the shot has been artificially sharpened, and you can also end up exaggerating picture noise caused by a high ISO setting when you sharpen your shot.

Here, we’ll show you how to recognise sharpening artefacts and keep them to a minimum.

Photoshop image sharpening step-by-step: 1-2

Photoshop image sharpening step-by-step: 01

01 Open the start file
Open Photoshop Elements, click on the Quick editor tab to explore its sharpening options. Choose File>Open and browse to your start file. Click Open. The compressed JPEG image will open in Photoshop Elements’ Quick Editor.

Photoshop image sharpening step-by-step: 02

02 Zoom in
To see how soft your shot actually looks, click on the Zoom tool. Click the 1:1 icon in the top options bar to see the shot’s pixels at 100%. Our image is quite soft, so the delicate details lack impact. Click the Sharpen icon on the right to access a range of sharpening preset thumbnails.

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