Sharpness has got to be one of the most talked about, fretted over, debated, questioned topics surrounding digital photography. It seems illusive to the beginners and downright obsessive for the more seasoned photographers among us. Me? I’m obsessed with sharpness in all the right places. And I can’t believe what darkness I lived in before I understood the factors I needed to get tack-sharp images. So here we go: my 5 factors for perfect sharpness.
1.} The lens
For me, the #1 most important factor in obtaining sharp images is the lens. If you’re a photographer who has experienced a wide range of lenses like I have, you will know this to be true. I’ve owned 10 lenses over the last 2 1/2 years and have to say that nothing compares to Canon’s L series lenses. The sharpest non L series lens I ever owned was the 85mm 1.8. That was a sweet lens. Now, I know that this will be disappointing to those who aren’t in the position to have those lenses. And I only have them because I’m a few years into my business and they’re paying for themselves. But get the sharpest lens you possibly can. You will find that prime lenses are sharper than zoom lenses. Of the non L series 50mm lenses, the 1.4 is phenomenally sharper than the 1.8 in my experience. View a comparison here.
2.} The camera
Your camera is important. However, it’s not the most important factor. Yes, the camera has factors like resolution but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
3.} The settings
4.} The focus
Focusing on the right spot in your image is an important factor in obtaining sharpness. Read this to learn about toggling your focus point and this to learn about back button focusing. You can learn about the different focus modes in your DSLR here. Having trouble getting a group in focus? Read this. Tip: when taking a portrait, toggle your focus point in between the eyes to get them both in focus. If your subject isn’t looking straight at you, make sure you’re not shooting with a wide-open aperture so you can get both eyes in focus.
5.} The editing
No matter how sharp an image is, it can always stand a little more! Check out these videos:
Tip: If you shoot in raw, EVERY IMAGE needs to be sharpened because sharpening only happens in-camera during the JPEG compression process. So if you’re shooting raw, you might be surprised to find that your SOOC images aren’t actually as sharp as you thought they’d be.
And you can get some free sharpening tools for Photoshop here: MCP Actions High Definition Sharpening Actions
So there you have it. Some things to get you started if you’re hunting for optimal sharpness!Pin It