How to sharpen images with Photoshop

Motherhood · January 7, 2013

Photoshop Tutorial on { } Tips on how to sharpen your photos.

Hi there friends!! I am so excited today to have our first Contributor Post of 2013. I have put together an amazing team, and I cannot wait to introduce you to them later this week. I think you’re going to fall in love with these ladies and their talents just as much as I have!

Hi everyone, I’m Jen from Delightful Designs, and I am so excited to be a new contributor for Lil Luna, and I can’t wait to share all of my Photoshop tips and tricks with you today. I started using Photoshop 8 years ago as a tool to create graphics, but I soon began learning how to edit my family photos and enhance the beauty of the images I was taking. I began to notice that in almost all of my pictures, food was always the one thing that would bring everyone together, but my food images never seemed to turn out that great. It wasn’t until I took a professional photography class that I learned how to edit my photographs properly and the end result was amazing. So today’s tutorial I will walk you thru the process of editing your photos in Photoshop so you can achieve a clean and sharp image every time.

Here is an image of a few white chocolate donut muffins that I baked a couple of weeks ago. As you can see it is a little dark and could be a bit more sharp. What we want is for the center donut muffin to pop, so that your eye is drawn to the focal point of your image. I shot this with my Canon Rebel T3i.


Photoshop Tutorial on { } Tips on how to sharpen your photos.

The first thing I am going to is adjust the levels of my image. You can access the levels panel by going to to Image > Adjustments > Levels and adjusting your levels by dragging the left arrow to “0” and the right arrow to”255″, that will adjust the white and dark balance on your photo.

Photoshop Tutorial on { } Tips on how to sharpen your photos.

Next we are going to drag the photo down to the new layers panel and make a new layer. On the new layer you are then going to go up to the drop down menu that is set to “NORMAL”, change this to “SCREEN” and set the opacity to 80-85%. Depending on your photo you can play around with this percentage and see what is best for your photo as they are all going to be different. You can already see how your image is starting to look better and we haven’t done that much editing.

Photoshop Tutorial on { } Tips on how to sharpen your photos.

Next, I am going to add a smart sharpen filter to my image and it will sharpen my entire image, you can do this by going to filter > sharpen >smart sharpen. The beauty of smart sharpen is that it will remove blur caused from camera shake. Make sure that the preview button is selected, you have basic selected, and settings should be on default as well.  Also, make sure that Gaussian Blur is selected on the “Remove” drop down menu before you start to adjust the amount or radius. You can see the setting I chose below, I felt this was appropriate for my image, you will need to play around with the percentage, every image is different.

Photoshop Tutorial on { } Tips on how to sharpen your photos.

If you don’t use a tripod when you are photographing food this is a great way to remove blur from any photo. As you can see when you compare the original photo and the photo with the smart sharpen filter, small details in the food begin to pop and have much better definition, very important details when you are dealing with food.

Photoshop Tutorial on { } Tips on how to sharpen your photos.

Here is the finished photo, as you can see the difference is huge from the original, it really wasn’t that hard to achieve and didn’t take too much time.

Photoshop Tutorial on { } Tips on how to sharpen your photos.


So fun, right!?

For more information about Jen be sure to check out her site: Delightful Designs.

For more Photography tips check out:

How to turn inside photos from drab to five in five minutes! Great tips!!

Turn Inside Photos from Drab to Fab

How to do Photoshop Actions on { } Great tips!!

How to do Photoshop Actions

Make gorgeous photos in adobe lightroom- this is the best for bloggers and photographers!

Turn Photos from Drab to Fab in Adobe Lightroom

For all Crafts & Tutorials go HERE.

For all TIPS go HERE.

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I have photoshop elements 10 and I still have such a hard time figuring it out!! Do these steps work with elements as well?
Have a great week!!

Laura @ Laura's Crafty Life

Thanks for sharing this. I am always looking for easy tutorials to make my blog pictures better. I am definitely still learning Photoshop and all of these tips really help!


Thanks for this great tutorial! I edit my photos slightly differently in photoshop, but I’m excited to try this and see if it works better. I just posted a tutorial that goes right along with this. It’s for a photo lightbox. I think readers interested in your post might be interested in mine, too. Lightbox Tutorial on Please feel free to delete this comment if you don’t think it will be helpful to your readers. I won’t be offended. Thanks again!

Dezi A

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I can’t wait to try this out and look forward to lots more tutorials for photoshop. I bought it for myself but am so clueless as to how to use it.


Thank you! I need to learn how to use my PSE better. I have been using premade actions for photos but I would like to learn how to use the levels and other tools even more. Pinned this to my photography board!


Tip: You don’t have to create a duplicate background layer (which doubles your .psd size), you can simply make a new levels adjustment layer and turn the blend mode to screen.

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