Best Ways to Sharpen Images in Photoshop


I’m going to talk about three methods I use to sharpen photos with Photoshop. These methods, of course, do not sharpen blurry photos. Photo sharpness must first be achieved during the photo shoot. However, we can use these methods to make normal photos look clearer.

Let’s open the photo we want to sharpen. When we open the photo as JPEG, the layer will come locked. It will come as a locked background. If you right click on this layer and select Convert to Smart Object, this layer will no longer be a locked layer, it will be a normal layer and it will also be a smart object.

As you can see, its name has also changed to Layer 0. Let’s first change the name of this layer. Then we need to duplicate this layer. Since we’re talking about three different methods, I’m creating three copies of it using the Ctrl + J key combination and we can give them nice names. Let’s also change the colors, so it looks more organized.

Sharper Photos: Unsharp Mask

The first method we’re going to use to sharpen the photo is Unsharp Mask. First I select the layer we want to sharpen, I choose Filter > Sharpen and Unsharp Mask, and we will see a window like this.

This is the window where you can change the values of Unsharp Mask. There is a Preview option on the right side of this window. It is currently checked. As soon as we uncheck this, we can see that the sharpness in the scene is disabled, that is, it is as before, and if we check this again, we can see that the edits made here also appear on the image.

As you increase the Amount value, look, the sharpness also increases. Of course, if you increase it too much, there will be an artificial sharpness.

Therefore, it is useful to regulate these values proportionally. I use Unsharp Mask to sharpen images quickly and it works for me for the most of the time.

Leave it to Artificial Intelligence: Smart Sharpen

Now select the other layer. Then select Filter > Sharpen and this time select Smart Sharpen. Smart Sharpen also has a window like this. Smart Sharpen is a filter that uses Photoshop’s artificial intelligence to sharpen the image.

Again, there are various values on this window. By editing these values. you can sharpen according to your image. There is a field here called Remove. It will also perform a sharpening process according to the selection you will make between blur selections such as Gaussian Blur, Lens Blur or Motion Blur on the photo.

By editing the values here, you can get an image that suits your photo. If you don’t see the photo in this way, it’s because the layer you just edited, the layer on which we applied the first filter, is visible. Let’s remember to turn off the visibility of this one.

High Pass Method

Now let’s turn off the visibility of this one and move on to the third sharpening method by selecting the next layer. Now, in order to use the third method, I need to create a copy of the existing layer again.

I create a copy of it with Ctrl + J and name it High Pass, because this time we are going to use the High Pass technique. With the layer named High Pass selected, I select Filter > Other > High Pass. When I select this filter, you will see lines on the gray screen.

You can make these lines more prominent by changing the Radius value. For example, as you increase it to the right, you will see that the photo stands out. But increasing it too much to the right is not the right method, so it should leave this with this setting.

We need to leave it in such a way that the lines on the photo are vaguely visible. We need to adjust it accordingly. According to this photo, I give it a value of four. Let’s close this window by clicking OK.

With High Pass selected, we can change the mode options here, Overlay, Soft Light or Hard Light, depending on the photo. I select Overlay and as soon as we make this mode change you will notice the sharpness in the photo.

If I make High Pass invisible, it will look like this, if you make it visible, it will look like this. If this sharpness is too much for you, you can lower the Opacity value to get a more average image.

In this video, we have seen how to sharpen photos that are not taken clearly, where the necessary care was not taken during the photo shoot and I talked about three different methods that I use the most for this. I use all three methods depending on the place and these are enough for me.