Post Production

How to fix over sharpened images?

In this post, I am showing you how to fix over sharpened images using photoshop.

What is image sharpening and how can you say than an image is over sharpened?

Sharpening an image will make it pop out, and there are various sharpening tools or softwares available today which will help you to sharpen your images to such an extent that will even beat the image quality of a high end digital camera. However, this will not be the actual sharpness, and that’s why you cannot sharpen a blurred image. These softwares sharpen images by increasing the contrast of adjacent pixels. So it will give an illusion that the image is sharp. How can you say that an image is over sharpened? Well, it just doesn’t look good. It can be identified either as noisy images or as white or black region near the edges. (see the image below)

Click the image for a larger view

Steps to fix over sharpened images in photoshop

Step 1: Once you open the image in photoshop, duplicate the layer as shown below.

Create a new layer from the background

Step 2: Go to filter, blur, and Gaussian blur

apply guassian blur in photoshop
Apply guassian blur

Step 3: Select a radius depending upon the degree of sharpness in your image. However, it is okay to select a high radius since you are applying it on a new layer rather than the original image. You can decrease the amount of blur by changing the opacity. Click OK and the image will be blurred.

select a blur radius
Select an appropriate radius

Step 4: Change the blending mode to ‘darken’ which will make the image soft and the overall sharpness came back to a good level. Adjust the opacity of this layer for appropriate sharpness.

Change blending mode to ‘darken’

Step 5: Right click on the top layer, where you have applied the effect, and click ‘flatten image’

flatten the image
Right click on the new layer and click ‘Flatten image’



before and after of over sharpened image fix
Click the image for an enlarged view

NOTE: I would strongly recommend you to not include this method in your workflow. Use this method to fix those over-sharpened images you have. It will not bring those images back to good condition. Instead of using this method, just avoid over-sharpening your images.

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Vidhu Soman

Hi, I am Vidhu Soman, Editor of Shutterstoppers. I have been doing photography since 2010, and I co-founded shutterstoppers community in 2012. I love photography, writing, travelling, and reading. If you wish to contact me, send a mail using our contact form.

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  1. THANK YOU!!!! So MUCH!!! This was very helpful, not only the way you worded it but your step by step example and the fact that you could click on the step by step example to get a better view at what you are trying to do. Excellent!!!

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