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.
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.