Getting Sharper Images
Matt (QUESTION):I’m having trouble with getting sharper images. I have seen advice from the internet. Most of the things they recommend are making sure you have a fast enough shutter speed, not too shallow depth of field, and trying to avoid camera shake. I get about 1 in 5 that are sharp and I’m using an entry level DSLR with the kit lens. I also have a 50mm 1.8 which is a bit better but still not crisp all the time and I try not to go that wide with the 50, since it gets really distorted. Do I need better equipment or do you have any other pointers?
Phillip (ANSWER): Most of your sharpness will come from post production – super sharp images are almost always created in editing. There are some amazing actions in Photoshop, but I am able to get the same effect in Lightroom in 2 seconds or so. For this photo above, I bumped the clarity up to +26, sharpening to 61, and contrast to +14 – please remember that clarity can be a bit much, so be careful with that.
The 50mm will be much better than your stock camera lenses in terms of sharpness. Also please remember that keeping your lens at f/1.8 does not necessarily translate to sharpness. Old school photographers actually define a sharp image as something that is in focus all the way, from the eyes to the ears to the back of the head. It’s sharp because it’s in focus. You might try doing most of your portraits at f/4 or so and see how that feels.