Not too long ago, I discovered a new sharpening technique (new for me, anyway) that has added a lot of boost to some of my images.
At the end of post-processing we usually consider sharpening an image, often using Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask function, and when we do, it’s often using HILR (high amount, low radius.) As an example, you may choose to apply an Unsharp Mask at 100-150% with a radius of 0.8-1.2.
Create a new layer from your background layer — it’s easier to undo or adjust opacity later. Call it ‘LAHR’. On that layer, bring up Unsharp Mask, but go with a low amount (say, 25%) and a high radius (say, 30 pixels.) Obviously, there is no set formula and you’ll want to play around with the sliders while you get used to this technique.
You should notice not only a bit of sharpening, but more obviously, a boost in apparent contrast. I’ve noticed deeper and richer shadows using this technique. Feel free to not only adjust the sliders, but to adjust the opacity of that LAHR layer until it suits your tastes, and, of course, don’t overdo it! Keep it real, man.
Why stop there?
Create another layer on top and apply Unsharp Mask in the usual manner, with HALR. In discussions with my Flickr friend “Mister Joe”, LAHR and HALR do two different things, and there’s no reason they can’t be used in combination…
… and in moderation.
If you’ve read this and have tried it to good success, please drop a comment with a “Yo.” I just like to share the Photoshop love…