How to increase photo sharpness of macro photography using Adobe Photoshop

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Ever think how the sea sees you? How those big trees look at you? We don’t know exactly how big things on earth look at us. But we can represent them in our photo that how we look at macro things on earth. This inspires Macro Photography. It’s a very creative part of Photography. You can show your own idea through this kind of Photography. So first we need to know what a “Macro Photography” is.

WHAT IS “MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY”

Macro Photography is a very close-up photography, usually of very small subjects, in which the size of subject in the photography is bigger than real life size. In another word you can say Macro Photography is an art of showing those clear details of the object which can’t be seen in naked eyes.

HOW TO TAKE A “MACRO PHOTO”

For “Macro Photography” you should use a macro lens. There have many lenses in market to take photos of macro objects. Macro lenses are specially designed for close-up work with a long barrel for close focusing and optimized for high production ratio.

But if you don’t have a macro lens that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a macro photo. In most of the digital cameras there has a build-up option for “Macro Photography”. It is shown as “Macro” in your digital camera. Macro photos are mainly based on depth. It creates a very good depth to focus the object, thus objects behind it becomes blur.

When you are going to use a normal lens (not macro lens) for macro photo shoot, there some problem arises. Sometimes you can’t focus your subject with “auto focus” mode. It’s because light and also for the focusing limit of the lens. The important thing for “Macro Photography” is proper light. You want the details of your subject. So you need proper light in it. You can focus the subject manually.

Sometimes it happens that though you take the photo in proper light, it doesn’t contain much details and sharpness. It’s not a problem; you can easily sharp your photo through some post processing by using Adobe Photoshop. Today I am going to tell you how to make your macro photo very sharp. You need to follow some steps for this technique.

OPEN THE PHOTO WITH PHOTOSHOP

I am working with a RAW file. So it’s an easy way to process the photo as I want. At first you need to open the photo in Adobe Photoshop. To open it in Adobe Photoshop click on the “File”. Then click “Open” and select the photo. You can also open the photo by dragging it to the Photoshop field. If you photo is in desktop then “left click” on the photo and drag it to the Photoshop empty field. Then loose the “Left click”. So you inserted the photo in Photoshop.

Now you can see a dialogue box. Go to the “Camera calibration” menu and select the camera profile which you want to use. I used “Camera standard” profile for this one. It’s pretty good. Now I come back to the “Basic” and adjust the exposure, temperature, tint, shadow and highlights. As it is a macro photo, I want to add “Clarity” in my photo, because I need much sharpness and details in this photo.

Here is the preview of the photo after the basic adjustment.

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Click “Open image” after the basic adjustment.

CREATE A DUPLICATE LAYER

Creating a “Duplicate layer” is very easy and very useful for any kind of Photoshop work. It will preserve your original photo and edit the duplicated one. By this you can reverse the command too. To open a “Duplicate layer” go to the layer option and click “Duplicate layer”. You can see a “Background layer” in the layer dialogue box.

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RENAME THE NEW LAYER “GAMMA CORRECTION”

. I am going to use my background layer to fix the gamma, and since I’ll be adding a few more layers after that, let’s keep track of what I am doing with each layer by giving them more informative names than simply “Layer 1”, “Layer 2”, and so on. Double-click directly on the name “Background layer” in the layers palette and rename it to “Gamma correction”.

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GAMMA CORRECTION

You can see that, in the basic adjustment I decreased the shadow. So the shadows all over the picture have gone and became a little fade. But I want to have some shadows all over the picture but not on the little elephants. So I copied the “Gamma correction” layer by pressing (ctrl+c). Now go to the option menu at the top. Select “Image”, then “Adjustment” and select the “Exposure”. A dialogue box will appear named as “Exposure”. Reduce the gamma by sliding the triangle to the right. I reduced it to 0.90. Click “ok”.

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Now press the (ctrl+V) to paste the previous layer. A new layer named as “Layer 1” will appear. It’s your previous layer before gamma correction.

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Now go to the tool menu to select “Eraser” from the left. Keep the opacity 100%.

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Now erase the portion without those where you don’t want that gamma correction.

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Flatten the layers to get the processed picture.

ADD SHARPNESS

Create another duplicate layer and name it “Hard light”. Now go to the “Filter” option at the top of the menu. Select “Other”, then select “high pass”.  A dialogue box will appear named “High pass”. I used radius 5 for mine. It may vary according to you, how sharp you want. Click “Ok”.

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Now go to the blending menu in the layer dialogue box and select “Hard light”.

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It also makes sharp the background of the photo. But I don’t want that. So pick up the “Eraser” tool and erase those areas where you don’t want the sharpness.

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Flatten the layers. So you see how easy you can increase photo sharpness using this technique.

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