Adjust a few Lightroom Sharpness settings to produce crisp photos. Use the Detail panel in Lightroom to sharpen your photo and bring out details.

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Tip: Learn how to take great photos and make them even better. Preview world-class photography courses from CreativeLive.

Select a photo to edit

In Lightroom, click the Develop module.

From the Filmstrip at the bottom of your window, select a photo to edit. If you don't see the Filmstrip, click the small triangle at the bottom of your screen. Or, to follow along with the sample, download "sharpen-blurry-photo.jpg" using the link above.

Tip: Need help getting your photos into Lightroom? Learn how.

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Open the Detail panel

Open Detail panel on the right side of your workspace. If you don't see the panel, click Detail to open it. 

You'll use the settings in this panel to sharpen and clarify details in your photo.

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Adjust sharpening settings

Locate the Sharpening section in the Detail panel. This section contains several options you can use to sharpen the image.

Adjust the Amount slider, which is a setting that specifies the amount of definition in your photo. Adjusting it gives the photo a crisp, sharp appearance. Drag the slider to experiment with the amount of sharpness.

For the sample photo, set an Amount to 85.

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Adjust sharpening settings (cont.)

Two other Sharpening settings are important:

  1. Adjust Radius, which specifies how large the details of a photo are as you sharpen the image. A smaller radius value works well for photos with lots of small details such as landscapes. A larger radius value works well for photos such as still lifes or photos of people, which tend to have large details. For the sample, set the Radius to 1.0.
  2. Adjust Detail, which specifies how much emphasis the edges in a photo have. A higher detail value defines textures, while a lower value removes blurriness. For the sample, set the Detail to 25.
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Preview your changes

See how your sharpening has affected the photo. Click the 1:1 option in the Navigator panel on the left side of your workspace, which zooms in to a 100% view of the photo.

Locate the view options bar underneath your photo. Click the icon highlighted in the screenshot to see the before and after view. Click and drag within your photo to compare the original photo with the sharpened photo.

To return to a normal view, click FIT in the Navigator panel, and press D on your keyboard to return to a single photo view.

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Keep experimenting

By applying sharpening settings to a photo, you can help to emphasize smaller details in your photo, reduce any blurriness, and help to clarify the overall image.

You can use this technique on any photo to prepare it for sharing it online, using it in creative projects, or printing it for display.

Tip: Ready to export your photo from Lightroom? Learn how

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01/21/2015
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