Contrast and Sharpening – These I Love Most…

I always let my pictures meet Photoshop – just because my pictures love it.

And who am I to say ‘no’ to them.

They totally love the welcoming and friendly attitude of  this wonderful piece of software.

And how it beautifies them.

They hug and kiss together and then I let them dance in a perfect and happy harmony.

Of all the procedures my pictures love and regularly enjoy, there are two that are their most favorite – increasing contrast and sharpening.

This is the original picture.

I took it last weekend when we (me and my boyfriend) visited one wonderful park in our neighborhood.

I was dazzled by the new-born green leaves that had transformed all nature into a huge energizing pool of pure vitality.

I stood under a tree and noticed how the sun shined through the leaves.

And that made me completely happy.

So I took the picture.

Of course, the story continued…

I opened the picture in Photoshop (not under the tree but when we came back home and I cleaned mud off my shoes).

Anyway, I decided to increase the contrast first.

That’s what I always do as the first thing – because that’s the most wonderful change to a picture I know.

If you’ve never increased the contrast on your photos, then please DO…

You’ll be amazed by how the gray, hazy film (that covers all straight-out-of-camera pictures) disappears in an instant.


Then this window appears – there you click OK.

You’ll see two horizontal lines on the right panel now – so go ahead and play with the contrast to achieve the look you like best.

Then click LAYER  >>   FLATTEN IMAGE.

Now to the sharpening.

Things look better sharper – this is the basic truth.

Now you know it.

(Don’t thank me – send eggnog, please.)

To make your images look sharper click ENHANCE >> UNSHARP MASK (yeah, you use unsharp mask for sharpening, isn’t that fun?).

Then again, play with the numbers to reach the result you find most appealing.

I opted for 170 in the amount window and 1.0 in the radius window.

Because I wanted to keep the picture rather dreamy, I felt no need to go overboard with the sharpness.

And that’s it!

So again, this is the picture before…

… and after.

I love how the veins of the leaf stand out now.

Oh, and the bokeh in the background – that always makes a photographer want to jump with joy.

Before and after.

Just try it, it’s easy.

(And if you don’t have Photoshop, don’t you worry for a second. Go and grab GIMP – it’s a freely distributed photo software and it’s gorgeous. And it’s free.  And have I mentioned it’s for free?)

Have a wonderful day.


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