It’s inevitable that some photos will end up fuzzy. The lighting isn’t as bright as you thought, your hand slipped a little as you pressed the shutter, the subject moved…

Provided the photo isn’t too blurry, there are ways to breathe life back into your photograph and make it a little sharper – particularly for portrait photos.

If you’re using Photoshop, this process is easy – let me show you: Oddly enough, the tool in Photoshop is called “Unsharp Mask”.

Here is the original photo I’ll be sharpening:

Now, to find this tool, you go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. Here is a pictorial of how to find it:

OK. The next step is to apply the settings to your image:

  1. Set the Radius – generally, keep this number as small as possible. In this instance, I’ve set the Radius to 3.5
  2. Adjust the Amount – typically, I have this around the 80% mark but play around with the settings to see what suits the image you’re sharpening
  3. Adjust the Threshold – start with this at 0, which means that all pixels will be affected. In this case, I’ve set the threshold to 7

And here is the final product – it’s a subtle effect, but still makes a difference:

This isn’t a fix for all blurry photos. Some are beyond help, while others are not blurry per se, they just need a little freshening up.

About Cyrus Ward