Sharpening and Noise Reduction

Sharp photos are essential to create an appealing image. It all starts when with the moment you’re capturing photos, making sure you get your subject in focus. However, there’s a lot more to a sharp photo than the moment you capture your photo. Aside from a sharp photo, a spotless photo is just as important. Noise can be a very distracting element in your photo. In this blog we’ll tell you all the ins and outs of sharpening and noise reduction! 


All the tools you need for sharpening your photo can be found under the tab “detail” in Lightroom. When it comes to sharpening a photo, make sure you checked your photo at 100% true size (1:1) or even bigger (3:1). When you sharpen your photo too much, noise may appear. So it is important that you know how you only sharpen what you want to have sharpened.

TIP: Be careful not to add too much “clarity” when editing your photo. This seems like a great way of sharpening, but is not meant to be used this way. Using clarity as a sharpening tool often it causes too much contrast in a photo.

Step-by-step: Sharpening in Lightroom

  1. Open your photo in the “Develop” mode and open the “Detail” tab.
  2. The first slider is for the “Amount”. Try to keep this under 80. 
  3. The second slider is for the “Radius”, this influences the wideness of the line that gets sharpened. To be able to see well what the radius is, press and hold the alt/option while setting the slider.
  4. The third slider is for the amount of detail that gets sharpened. Also with this slider you can see what it does while pressing and holding the alt/option while setting the slider.
  5. The fourth slider, maybe the most important one, is the mask of the sharpening. This means that some parts of the photo will not be influenced by the sharpeningFirstly, zoom out so that the photo is fully visible. Press and hold the alt/option to see the mask. Everything that becomes black, will not be sharpened.
sharpening in Lightroom
Example of a sharpened photo. View at full size to be able to see the difference.

Noise Reduction

Sharpening and noise reduction have a lot in common. Simply put, noise is a disruption in the image information of the photo. Noise can be very distracting. So, when you enlarge your photo times 4 and hang it on the wall, you can imagine noise would be a big issue. Noise can be recognized as ‘dots’ in the photo. You mostly see this in photo’s taken with a high ISO or photos that are not properly sharpened.

Noise Reduction, example
Before and after noise reduction, view full size to see the difference.

After following these steps your photo is perfectly sharpened and ready to be printed.

Share your best shots via Instagram by using #Xpozer or tag us @Xpozer. And don’t forget to send your photo in for our contest!

Are you curious about all the tips to make your photos ready for your best photo print ever? Read the previous tips here!

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