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Resize and Sharpen Your Images For The Web Using Photoshop Instead Of Lightroom

By Anthony Thurston on February 23rd 2014

We have all had this problem at some point or another; you get this awesome portfolio quality shot, so you go and upload it online to your social media because you want your friends to share in its glory. Then, this issue rears its ugly head – your image either looks soft and hazy or crunchy like granola. This happens because your image is either too sharp or not sharpened enough.

Today, I wanted to share this great video by Steve Perry and the Back Country Gallery on how he sizes and sharpens his images for the web using Photoshop. Since I found his video, I have actually been using this technique and with a slight variation have been very happy with it.

After using Steve’s default actions, I found that the images looked a little too sharp for my taste, so I modified the actions sizes that I use most to have the opacity of the second sharpen layer at 50% instead of 70%. Other than that, I have been very happy with these actions.

[REWIND: How To Save Images Where You Shot Too Closely]


So, why Photoshop over Lightroom? Well, as Steve points out in his video, with Lightroom it can be hard to get that perfect sharpness where you want it, and not where you don’t. In Photoshop you have the ability to control what is sharpened and what is not, as well as as have better control over the quality of your image when you export.

I am not suggesting that you take every single image from Lightroom that you want to export and do this method, that would just take too long. But for those special images, the ones you want to make sure look their best, this is a great way to achieve that.


If you would like to get these actions for yourself, they are free, and can be downloaded from Steve’s website here. I have also found that they work great on images processed in Lightroom and then brought into Photoshop to sharpen and export. I actually use the SLR Lounge Lightroom Preset System, make any tweaks, and then go into Photoshop to sharpen and export. That is my workflow now for most images going online.

In fact, here are a few examples that I shot yesterday while out at the refuge reviewing the Sigma 120-300mm F/2.8. Both of these shots were processed with the SLRL Lightroom Preset System V5, and then taken into Photoshop and resized/sharpened using Steve’s actions.



What do you do for sharpening for the web? What did you think of this method? Are you going to try it out? Share your thoughts in a comment below to join the discussion.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Valeria

    Hi liked the tut really much but can’t find the actions

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  2. Ki Thomas

    Awesome stuff, very helpful! Thanks for sharing Anthony :-)

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  3. Israel Suárez

    Really helpfull, i had a problem of resolution posting images on social media, but this really help me to do better! Thanks!

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  4. Trevor Tegley

    you can use the sharpen 2 layers thing, but I prefer to use a high-pass filter to sharpen for web. ALSO instead of using image size which will result in you having to make 2 actions for the same size for vertical or horizontal, use file/automate/image fit. you can put the size you want in both horizontal and vertical settings and voila, it will resize the long edge every time ;)

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    • Meh

      What? Both Horz/Vert are taken care off inside that one action!
      What you going on about!

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  5. Bruce Parker

    Another reason to use photoshop is that you can export as .png instead of .jpg. The advantage is that you don’t get .jpg compressed twice saving some of your image’s integrity.

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  6. Russell Featherstone

    Hey great article! Really saw a big improvement in sharpness. If I want to make a 3200px, 1600px and 960px sizes from the same image can you just apply the sharpening to the first resize and then just resize again without sharpening? Or would you have to apply this sharpening technique individually?

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  7. Kevin Galbreath

    hey, the link to his site starts with your site’s URL which just takes us to the error page for your site.

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  8. J. Cassario

    Very cool Anthony, nice find. Gonna definitely give this a try.

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