Making sure your images are sharp is a necessity for every photographer. Getting your focus right in camera is of course key but there is always room for improvement in post. Like most things in Photoshop, there are multiple ways to sharpen an image, but my absolute favorite is the High Pass filter. Colin Smith of photoshopCAFE explains exactly how it works and why it's the best way to sharpen your images.
It couldn't be easier to use the High Pass filter. Located in the Filter menu under the Other submenu, once selected it instantly fills your image with 50% gray. Apply it to a duplicated or stamp copied layer of your image.
The High Pass filter works by increasing the contrast along all of the edges in an image, creating the illusion of increased sharpness. As you increase the Radius value in the High Pass filter window, you will notice the edges in your image get crisper. I find that keeping the Radius somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 works best. After you select your Radius and click OK, you need to choose a blend mode to blend the High Pass layer with the rest of your layers. I get the best results using the Overlay blend mode.
As with all adjustment layers in Photoshop, selective masking and opacity adjustments are essential in creating the final look. In landscape images, for example, you can use the High Pass filter to lead the viewer's eyes through the image by selectively sharpening key elements. For portraits, you want to make sure the eyes are sharp.
Anyone have any tips or best practices for sharpening images in Photoshop? Does anyone use other blend modes other than Overlay and if so, which ones and why?