Using the High Pass Filter in Photoshop to sharpen your photos.

Use Photoshop’s High Pass Filter for crystal-clear, lifelike photographs.

An eye for edits is essential for a photo that really pops. Photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop can help you elevate your photos, from amping up contrast to overlaying color gradients — even to combining multiple photos. Every edit transforms your photo, in obvious and subtle ways.

One essential edit is sharpening. Crisp up lines and detail to add structure, depth, and precision to your photograph.

Sharpen photos in Photoshop

When you sharpen an image, you’re increasing the contrast along any edges where there’s a change in brightness and texture. If you’re working in Photoshop, its High Pass Filter basically finds these edges and highlights them. Follow these easy steps for using the High Pass Filter, and see the difference yourself:

  • Create a Smart Object. Open your image and convert it to a “smart object.” This will enable you to apply the filter.
  • Select the High Pass Filter. Choose Filter > Other > High Pass.
  • Don’t be alarmed. You’ll see your image filled in with a gray color, with some darkened edges. The filter works by identifying those darker edges and sharpening them.
  • Set your radius. Since you’ll want your edits to be subtle, keep the effect’s radius small. A value between 1 and 7 should be good; experiment and see what looks best for you.
  • Choose your blend option. Double-click the Blending Options icon, and experiment with different blend modes. The two most popular options are Overlay, which creates a high-contrast effect, and Soft Light, which produces a more subtle contrast.
  • Adjust opacity. Finally, you can alter the filter’s intensity with the Opacity Slider. The lower the opacity, the less harsh the sharpening, and vice versa.

Edit away.

Once you’ve mastered sharpening, explore more Adobe Photoshop features for all of your photo editing needs. And get more pro tips for staging and shooting as you continue to refine your craft.