Sharpening Your Images for Online Viewing

By on December 20th, 2016 in Photography

It's one of those moments where I go "Doh!". Something I should have known. I've been doing this long enough. Why didn't I do this before? Sharp!

I was looking at some images on another website and marvelling at how crisp the images looked. My pictures don't look that way. My pictures always seems a bit fuzzy.

Was I not focusing properly? Was it my camera? Was it my lenses? Maybe I needed better lenses. But my lenses -- the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G and Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 G -- were decent lenses. These were well-regarded lenses. Maybe it was my eyes? I have diabetes, had a cataract removed, and I just turned 50 years old.

So maybe it was something else. So ... I did some researched. I used Google. After thirty minutes, I found a website, two websites actually, that made me think that perhaps the problem was the way in which I prepared my images for viewing on the internet.

I experimented a little. I took these images this weekend after filling my growler with Dog-Earned Novel from Troon Brewing.

beer, ale, glass, hand, troon, Take Off Your Skin And Dance In Your Bones, sharpening
Original image.
[exif id="23735"]

beer, ale, glass, hand, troon, Take Off Your Skin And Dance In Your Bones, sharpening
Sharpened using Nik's Output Sharpener
[exif id="23729"]

For images with noticeable noise, I learned that reducing any noise before sharpening helps improve the picture. I used Nik's Define 2 to lessen the noise in the original image. Nik Dfine 2 lets me adjust contrast and reduce colour noise separately, to the type and amount of noise reduction applied to each picture. However, I typically just use the default or one additional noise measurement control point. Control points let me remove noise selectively.

These images were taken at Troon Brewing during their Grand Opening at Brick Farm Tavern. The indoor lighting was poor. I shot at ISO 1600 and above to keep my shutter speed high enough to reduce blur.

man, woman, talking, troon, sharpening
Original image.
[exif id="23738"]

man, woman, talking, troon, portrait, sharpening
I used Nik's Dfine 2 to remove some noise from this ISO 3200 image.
[exif id="23739"]

man, woman, talking, troon, sharpening
The final image was processed using Nik's Output Sharpener at 80%,
[exif id="23740"]

man, woman, talking, troon, sharpening
This image was sharpened in Adobe Lightroom with the setting at High.
[exif id="23741"]

Doing this sooner would have helped improve the quality of my beertography.

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