The Quickest Way to Sharpen Images in Photoshop

What’s the fastest way to sharpen an image in Adobe Photoshop? Chelsea Northrup has the solution—and it doesn’t involve the “Sharpen” tool:

The trick is to create a duplicate layer, then scroll down the Filter menu and choose High Pass. This will create a gray overlay of your image.

Increase the radius until you can just see the outline of your image—not too much, or the result will look unnatural.

high pass layer photo sharpening

Then select Linear Light on your duplicate layer to sharpen the original image. If you’ve overdone it a bit, you can adjust the opacity to find the correct balance.

photoshop sharpening technique

Lastly, if you want to sharpen only part of the image, you can add a layer mask and use the black paintbrush to return certain areas to normal.

Do you use this technique? Or do you know an even better way to sharpen your photos?

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5 responses to “The Quickest Way to Sharpen Images in Photoshop”

  1. nancy says:

    Cool! Thank you!

  2. Chris says:

    Brilliant – so quick and flexible, thanks for posting

  3. Trish says:

    Very useful tip! Thank you!

  4. Rusty Smith says:

    Using High Pass will indeed sharpen your image. But you need to be really careful with it. It “will” add a lot of noise to your image.

  5. Lyle Stavast says:

    I do the order a bit differently so you can see the effect as it will appear without guessing.
    CTR-J for the duplicate layer, set the linear light, then choose the filter HighPass and start the slider at the far left. You’ll see the actual sharpening as you adjust it instead of the grey… little quicker, less guessing as you can see it as you go.

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