Posting this in response numerous questions about why our images look so crisp and clear. There are few simple things we do to make them look like this:
- This is obvious, but I have to include it: shoot in focus. There is nothing you can do with blurred source. Use mirror lockup if shutter speed is slow, use tripod, check the focus using in-camera image preview when shot is composed. Do not be lazy, re-shoot if you are not happy with what you got.
- Use smaller aperture to increase DOF when it is needed: I prefer to increase ISO and close aperture (increase F number) to achieve required depth of field and fix possible noise noise in post production rather than have out of focus details of the subject or slow shutter blur on the photo.
Programs like Topaz DeNoise works great for reducing noise, but there is nothing to help you with not-in-focus subject. (Only Lytro’s new light field camera can)
- Clean image in post production.Never post “as-is” image from a camera or RAW converter, unless it is a proof or ideal ”as-as” (which I do not believe is possible). There are always many little things to be cleaned out: dust on a sensor, dirty subject or surroundings (yes, we clean asphalt and dirty grass on our landscape shots and walls on a buildings), or little unwanted droplets or bubbles on a splash shot. Believe me, cleaning these little but multiple gremlins will make any shoot look much cleaner, crisp and professional.
- Learn how to properly sharpen the image for web. Here is a little gift for you guys: Our secret special (kidding) sharpening photoshop action. It is well described on Genia Larionova post production blog: Advanced sharpening for web in one click and full control. This amazing photoshop action developed by Russian photographer and retoucher Pavel Kosenko , and we just few lucky ones who use it:-)
BTW, on Photoshop CS5 this action looks slightly different than on Genia’s blog, so I decided to show how I use it with CS5 here:
- In PS action lists, when added there:
- First message. I usually disable this by un-checking corresponded step on action:
- Next and last step, after action run.
- Adjusting sharpness, if needed:
Lets make it simple to understand: by reducing opacity we reduce sharpness, adding opacity adds the sharpness. For serious users, use brush to paint over the layer mask and adjust opacity on both, darken and lighten layer masks.
The link to download advanced sharpening action for those who a lazy to find it on a Genia’s blog: Download Intelligent Sharpen 2.0.zip
If you like this article, you may want to check other video and e-book tutorials we have: