21st Jul 2010Posted in: Blog 0
Marc Adamus Photography
Marc Adamus sharpening

Winter's Fury by Marc Adamus (linked from

Now that I have a whole blog I can dedicate to photography I thought I would start adding a few articles on the people in this wonderful industry who give me daily inspiration. I would like to start off with landscape photographer Marc Adamus.

Marc has a true passion for exploring the North American wilderness and capturing it in fine art photography. Taking inspiration from his main influences such as Galen Rowell he has developed an adventurous spirit to share the beauty of this wonderful life and this wonderful earth. I think you will aggree his images are truly remarkable

I recently discovered Marc’s work via a posting on the Canon Digital Photography Forums where he explained his love for the genre and his own web sharpening technique – I have included the article on sharpening below.

[Marc on web sharpening]:

“I’ll go over my web sharpening method first. This is very unconventional, but is now used by most people who I’ve showed it to. Use this technique to create ultra-sharp web sized images between 500 and 800 pixels.

  • Take your full resolution image and reduce its size to between 1000 and 1500 pixels.
  • Apply a “Sharpen” filter (easy, right?) two times.
  • This creates a very noisy, oversharpened mid-size image.
  • Reduce size again to the desired resolution, such as 700 pixels.
  • And there you have it – ultra sharp appearance. But you have to make this work for each and every image. Some images require the “Sharpen filter” step at lower or higher resolutions, and occasionally, I will even apply this filter three times before reduction.
  • Sometimes, slight additional adjustment to saturation levels is required post-sharpening. Other times, I will ‘Lasso’ specific areas that could benifit from further sharpening. Additionally, you can do touch-ups with a ‘sharp brush’.

This is the most effective method for web sharpening I have discovered, and basicly tricks PS into applying an ultra-fine USM.

Sharpening for print can require a different process. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • I’m assuming most of you are only interested in sharpening methods for printing to ink papers or traditional photo papers, so I’ll cover these.
  • Always sharpen for the SIZE OF PRINT you are making. The amount of sharpening used for a 30×40 is not going to be the same as the amount used for an 8×12. When I process an image to print on my Epson at 8×12 inches, the very same image file would be very much oversharpened were I to use it later for a 30×40.
  • Do not always sharpen the entire image uniformly, particularly if you feel noise or grain could be an issue in dark areas, skies or water. Make sure you are selecting the areas that need sharpening so you’ll maintain a clean look. Click to ‘print size’, and then zoom in another click or two to give a rough idea of how much sharpening is required, and make sure you spot-check before sending it to the printer. Experiment! The fine-tuning of the printed image is a processing art unto itself.
  • Some additional plug-ins that let you get the most out of your sharpening are PK Sharpener, and TLR pro sharpener (free download). Of course, go ahead and try my web-sharpen method here too. You might just be surprised at how well it works when the image is enlarged to double it’s original resolution, and ‘sharpen filtered’ a few times before printing. Note that there is a full-resolution sample image available on my site in the “image quality” section.

I’ve never been one to take the textbook on PS for granted. I experiment, I invent, I do what works for me – or at least explore all my options first. Ask 10 different photographers and you’ll get as many responses about sharpening for print. These are just some ideas to throw out there.”

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