WARNING: Don’t Destroy Your Photographs with Too Much Sharpening (VIDEO)

Like many techniques we employ when processing our images, a little sharpening goes a long, long way. And as Tony Northrup demonstrates in the video below, photographers who get too heavy-handed with making their images crispy, often inadvertently destroy what would otherwise be a nice photograph.

Northrup is a photographer and image-editing expert who believes in exercising restraint when processing images. He notes that while a bit of sharpening can sometimes enhance an image, too many photographers overuse the technique—adding sharpening whether an image needs it or not.

In the video below Northrup provides a few sharpening dos and don’ts so that your photos don’t look “ridiculous.” Using Lightroom, he demonstrates how to find a happy medium between an image that’s a bit too soft and one that has been sharpened to the extreme.

As Northrup explains, “Sharpening doesn’t really add detail, it looks for areas of contrast and exaggerates it.” And in so doing, over sharpening can also exaggerate background noise and induce other negative side effects.

Bottom line: Once you decide the amount of sharpening that is right for the image you’re editing, back it off a bit and you’ll avoid ugly and unnatural effects. You can find more tips and tricks on Northrup’s YouTube channel, and be sure look at another article we posted recently on the proper way to use Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask tool.