A different way to sharpen

There are several ways to sharpen your images. Some of these techniques re good and others not so much. I have found that using the unsharp mask filter is ok but can lead to an even more noisy image if overdone.

So after doing a little searching I found a technique that is called, High Pass sharpening and you use it like this:

1) Make a layer copy of the background layer and then make the background layer invisible. This way you can revert back to the original if a mistake is made.

2) Do all your editing of the picture. Make sure it's done to your satisfaction.

3) Make a layer copy of this layer.

4) Open filter>Other>High Pass. A dialog box will open. Move the slider to a number between 5 - 10 pixels (use your own judgment on this) and press ok.

5) The third layer will now be grey. Under the blending menu select overlay, soft light, or hard light.

Bam! Nice sharp image.

Let me know what you think.

Photo credits: Mark Birks.

Your article must be written in English



As I recall, my method was the first 4 steps you described, but in different order. I can't remember more exactly because at that time I made an action for it and just pressed play; so I forgot. And I didn't know that I can change the blending mode, I always used overlay. Your option gives flexibility and I like it because of this. :)


Thanks, I used some of your work on my blog named relatieproblemen. It's a dutch site but I'm sure images speak for itself. :)


Candleblood: I hope you like it. What method did you use before?


I've been using a slightly different type of high pass-sharpening until now, but strangely I don't like the result anymore. So I'm happy I found this post, I'll try this version and if I like it, I'll come and let you know. :)


I use it . Sometimes do it at 1px and then paste it over and over until I get the sharpening that I want .


Works quite nicely, best with 'soft light' blending change, in my opinion :)


Thanks for sharing!!!


Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I know that there are several methods of sharpening this is just one of them. One must pick what best works for them. I'm glad you all found this useful. Thanks again everyone, happy shooting.


The best way to sharpen (by far) is smart sharpen. So called because it allows you to distinguish between how sharp the image is in the shadows and highlights. Given that an image will have varying degrees of noise (more noticeable in the shadows) and also given that shadow areas seldom need sharpening anyway, the smart sharpen allows you to get the areas sharp where you want them. TRY IT OUT SOME TIME! You can also change from lens blur to gussain blur for the type sharpening of correction. Trial and error is obviously a must but I guarantee you will be impressed.


I use hight pass too, but only 1-2 and mostly in soft light - only to accent something,,,,becouse - well, if image has problems with focush than nothing will help


I use this method sometimes but I always keep the pixels to 2 to 3 otherwise I seem to get way too much noise. Recently, I have become fond of smart sharpen using the gaussian blur option at 1.5 - 3 pixels.


I use same technique too, but I do it in the end of postprocessing.
1. copy all layers to one cmd (or ctrl for PC)+A, (select all)
cmd/ ctrl+shift+c (copy all layers)
cmd/ctrl+shift +v (insert new layer with mask)
2. high pass
3. blending options


Thanks for sharing. Good luck.


I use this technique, but I turn down opacity of high pass layer to ~35-45%


Nice tip! As you say, take care not to over sharpen no matter what technique you use.


Thank you. It is a very useful technique!


Thank for sharing, congratulations!


Lool thanks !!!!!

Related image searches
Sharpening related image searches
To provide you with additional information about how we collect and use your personal data, we've recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Please review these pages now, as they apply to your continued use of our website.