Tips and tricks: How can we get sharp pictures ?
by Laurence Poh and Stéphane Moniotte

The first rules remains "Shoot a lot: afterall, it's free!", as this will always ensure that you'll get at least one sharp shot. The main power of the digital darkroom (Adobe Photoshop 5.5 in our case) is probably the possibility to adjust highlights, shadows and midtones using the Levels sliders (CTRL-L, then the levels dialog box opens; pull the tiny black triangle on the left and the white triangle on the right to where the curve slopes up. The middle triangle adjusts midtones If the preview box is not ticked, make sure it is.) Interactively you can see the changes in your picture as you do those adjustments.

After that resize your picture and do an unsharp mask to pep up the image.Unsharp masking is a traditional film composing technique used to sharpen edges in an image. The 'Unsharp Mask' filter corrects blurring introduced during photographing, scanning, resampling or printing. It is useful for images intended both for print and online use. The best amount of unsharp masking is around 100 to 160% of radius, 0.3 - 0.6 pixels, with a threshold at zero. This Unsharp mask' filter locates pixels that differ from surrounding pixels by the threshold you specify and increase the pixels' contrast by the amount you specify. In addition the radius specify the region to which each pixel is compared. 
If applying the filter makes already bright colors appear overly saturated, convert the image to 'Lab mode' and apply the filter to the L channel only. This technique sharpens the image without affecting the color component.

Another tip is to avoid to shoot at ISO 400 unless necessary or unless you like the 'noisy' brown stain effect. Go for higher ISO only if the light is really poor and you have no choice. For normal use, set your camera at ISO100.

BEFORE                            AFTER

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