A quick & easy way to sharpen your pictures in Photoshop

There are allot of plugins and third party applications out there for image sharpening. Most of them do the job well but can be expensive. I’ve often found, reading online forums that these plugins and apps are recommended over what is already availible in Photoshop.

Photoshop is already an expensive package and one that allot of its users do not fully explore before buying or installing plugins and apps to complete tasks that are easy enough to accomplish in Photoshop itself.

This is a quick run though of how to add sharpening to an image to bring out more detail, it takes about five minutes to complete and can easily setup as an action within Photoshop allowing a single click sharpening tool.

To get started, open Photoshop up and load an image that you want to sharpen. (to enlarge any of the screenshots, simply click them.)


I have used a picture of one of my dogs, Martha, basking in the summer sun to top her tan up.

Once you have opened your image, make sure the layers pallet is open. Click the background layer and drag it down to the new layer button to copy the entire layer.

Once complete, make sure that the new copied layer is selected. You now need to click on the ‘Filters’ tab online the top menu bar. Move down to ‘Other’ and select, ‘High Pass’.

This will load a new window with a slider bar at the bottom. At this stage you can have a play to find the best radius setting for you. I find that somewhere between 3 and 7 works best for me.

Once complete, click OK. Your image will turn a rather bull silvery grey colour. Dont worry, thats what should happen.

All you have left to do is blend the layers, make sure that the background copy or grey layer is selected in the layers pallet. Above the layers pallet are then blending options, this will be set to ‘Normal’ as default. Click the drop down and choose either ‘Overlay’ or ‘Softlight’.


Initially, you will probably not notice any difference in image sharpness, your eyes are deceiving you. Next to the new copied and sharpened layer, click the eye icon to turn the layer off and on again. You will notice a subtle difference. If you stuck with a radius between 3 and 7, the sharpening effect should be effective but not look over done.


Before creating this method as an action, I would recommend playing around a few more times with various images to get an idea of what radius works best for you.

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


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