Basic adjustments – Sharpen and save for the web

Long exposure print

Basic Photoshop adjustments

Sharpen and save for the web

This tutorial is about creating small files for your website or online portfolio. This is assuming that you have an image that you have finished processing at its full size and you want to get the best possible quality when someone views it on the internet.

It is always best to do most of your adjustment such as levels and curves while the image is at full size (before you reduce the size), but if you put a full size image on the web, it will load slowly and look odd. Maybe your website has a way of reducing the file size, but it is far better for you to be in control of the final product.

Image Resize in photoshop
Image=> Resize

The first step is to resize your image. Go to Image => Resize. From here on, work with your image at full size – 100%. This will enable you to see the effect of any sharpening that you apply.

Photoshop - resize your photo for your website
Choose an appropriate size for the website

Adjust the size of the longest side. All images on this blog are 600 pixels or less. A large image on the web will be around 1600 pixels. If the ‘Constrain Proportions’ box is checked, you will only have to enter a value for the longest side.

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Smart sharpen tool

Filter => Sharpen => Smart Sharpen
Filter => Sharpen => Smart Sharpen

Use the smart sharpen tool available in Photoshop CS models. The ‘Smart Sharpen’ tool will detect edges in a photo. This way the sharpening only affects places where there is an edge.

Adjust the radius carefully
Adjust the radius carefully

Try setting 100% for the amount and 0.2 – 0.5 for the radius. The aim is to have a sharp image with no halos. A halo is a line of light around a high contrast edge.

Dupliate your sharpened layer
Sharpness applied to duplicate layer.

Duplicate your layer by either going to Layer=>Duplicate Layer or by dragging the layer thumbnail onto the New Layer button (second from right at the bottom of the layers palette). For more help see Layers.

Run the sharpener again with a slightly higher radius
Run the sharpener again with a slightly higher radius

Run the sharpener with a higher radius that before, keep monitoring you image. This time you can have slight halos.

Create a layer mask for your duplicate layer
Create a layer mask for your duplicate layer

Create a mask for your new extra sharp layer by clicking on the mask button. Now you can paint over any halos or areas you don’t want so sharp with a black paintbrush tool. See Layers and Masks for more help.

Save for web.

Photoshop Save for web
File => Save for web

Save for web will optimise your file for viewing on the web, you can have control over the file size. This method erases all exif data from your image. This is not always desirable because people might find your photography after searching for a camera make, lens or settings.

JPEG adjust quality
Choose JPEG and adjust the quality slider
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Result

sharp foreground!
Nice sharp foreground!
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By Tony Prower

Tony Prower spent over 15 years photographing the landscapes of Iceland. Tony Prower is a pioneer of the Magic Cloth Technique and ran thousands of photo tours in Iceland over 10 years.

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