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Chapter 4. Editing Photos > What the Sharpness slider does

What the Sharpness slider does

The photo in Figure 4.43 is a picture of the fluff from a milkweed pod. I had good light and managed to hold the camera still, but there was still a little more blur than I would have liked. So I increased the sharpness quite a lot in Figure 4.44, and you can see that the result is more sharply defined edges on the milkweed fluff. I find that many photos are similarly improved by increased sharpness.

Figure 4.43. The fine detail in the fluff suffers a bit from too much blur.


Figure 4.44. Radically increasing the sharpness brought out the fine edge detail in the fluff.


It's a little hard to predict exactly what changes to the sharpness will do to the histogram's mountain ranges, but in general, increasing the sharpness tends to “erode” them away, making them shorter and wider, whereas decreasing the sharpness makes them taller and narrower.

✓ Tip

  • Be careful when increasing the sharpness on photos that have a lot of more-or-less solid colors, since the increased contrast between adjacent pixels will make those previously solid colors appear blotchy.


What Else Would I Do?

A small increase in contrast also helped improve this photo slightly, though no other adjustments made useful changes.


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