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3 Steps to Get Sharper Photos Now

Don't over sharpen your shots. Try this method instead
Photo of sharpening tips

Image sharpness is often the key to a successful photo. But beginners will sometimes make a big mistake when trying to sharpen their images in Photoshop, Lightroom or other editing programs after capture.

What is it? Over sharpening their photos!

That’s the message in the below tutorial by software pro Serge Ramelli who shares three tips to help you get sharper images in post-processing without over sharpening your shots.

“There is a huge mistake that I see a lot of photographers doing, where they globally over sharpen their photos,” Ramelli says. “This is killing incredible photos. Over sharpening just looks so fake.”

In the video at the bottom of this post, Ramelli shows you his “three-step formula to locally sharpen your photos.”

“It’s a little trick but I use it on every photo that I sell out to my galleries. This is something that I see a lot of people not doing,” he says. “So, let’s do it. Follow me. Simple but amazing.”

In the clip, he first explains why over sharpening photos is bad and then demonstrates these three steps while editing an image he shot in Big Sur, CA.

Step #1: Basic Sharpening

“Step number one is I always look what ISO I shot the photo on. In this case, it was ISO 200. When it’s ISO 100 or 200, I go to Noise Reduction and usually anything that’s above 100, I would go to about 15 of Noise Reduction. Then I take 100 and I take out what I put in Noise Reduction, so 15 in this case, so I’m going to go up to about 85 [in Sharpening].”

Step #2: Masking

“The next thing I do is make sure that my Masking is at 50 or 60. I’m holding down the Option key so you can see anything which is black, is not going to get sharpened. I don’t want to sharpen the sky; I don’t want to sharpen anything but where there is detail. So, I usually put my masking all the way to 64. And that gives just a basic sharpening.”

Step #3: Local Sharpening

“But if you want to give it an extra punch, here is the magic secret. It’s called local sharpening. If everything is super sharp in a photo, you’re not helping the viewer. So, what I do is very simple: I take a brush, I add some texture, a little bit of clarity and a little bit of sharpness. And I’m just going to sharpen these trees here, this rock a bit, maybe here as well, and voila!”

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