Useful Photography Tip #107: How to Make an Image Look Sharper Than it Really is in Less Than 30 Seconds

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D810 high ISO samples Speakeasy Dollhouse NYC (3 of 9)ISO 8001-80 sec at f - 2.5

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We’ve done a slightly longer tutorial on how to make an image look sharper, but what if we told you that you can do it in Adobe Lightroom in less than 30 seconds and without even touching the sharpness sliders? Sounds crazy, right? Well, the reality is that it is completely possible.

Like our other tutorials, it begins with proper in-camera exposure techniques. For the absolute best sharpness from a lens straight out of the camera your best bet is to use some sort of diffused flash. It could be as simple as bouncing a flash off of a wall. If not, then consider stopping your lens down just a bit and exercising the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds to ensure that your image is blur free from camera shake.

Then if you bring your image into Adobe Lightroom, all you’ll need to do is raise the overall exposure of your image by around 1/3rd of a stop, lower (deepen) your black levels, raise your contrast, and raise the clarity of your image by just a tad. And to be honest–you’re done. The human eye looks at images with deeper blacks and puts a stronger emphasis on other colors in the scene to be able to naturally find objects. In this method, you’re actually fooling the human eye into thinking that something is sharper than it really is.

Give it a shot and see how many people you can actually fool with it.