Sharpening digital camera images for photo-store printing

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Matti Haveri, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. Matti Haveri

    Matti Haveri Guest

    My very first Olympus mju/Stulus 300 6x4" (15x10cm) glossy prints at a
    local store were surprisingly good. I did a very basic tonal and color
    correction with Levels and minimal cropping (mainly to convert them to
    3:2 aspect ratio).

    What about sharpening the images before printing at a store?

    I guess it is best to set the digital camera to highest jpg quality to
    avoid the jpg artifacts which sharpening exaggerates, right?

    But at least my camera tends to have noise which even a mild Unsharp
    Mask makes ugly very quickly so should somehow blur the images before

    An old source recommends the following action for digital camera images:
    New Layer, Filter/Noise/Median 2 (or even 3), Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur
    1, Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask 500/1/0, Layer Opacity to 30-50%,
    Layer/Merge Down. Then just before printing Unsharp Mask 200/1/0.

    Some sources recommend Unsharp Mask 250/0.6/0 for detailed images and
    70/2.7/4 for soft images. Is this a good amount for Photo-store printing
    or is this for halftone printers? And is it a good idea to somehow blur
    the image first?
    Matti Haveri, Aug 26, 2003
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  2. Matti Haveri

    Jim Townsend Guest

    You'll probably get several opinions on this.. But I usually don't sharpen
    images I'm getting 'store printed'.

    An image might look soft full size on a 17 inch monitor, but on a 6x4 piece of
    photopaper they look a lot better.

    I also find even moderate sharpening causes grain and artifact exaggeration in

    However.. For web use, sharpening works just fine..
    Jim Townsend, Aug 27, 2003
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  3. Matti Haveri

    ben-dover Guest

    i usually tone down the sharpness of my digital photos to get rid of the
    raggy look by using gausian blur but i dont create all that other stuff you
    were talking about.
    ben-dover, Aug 27, 2003
  4. Matti Haveri

    smitty Guest

    You'll probably get several opinions on this.. But I usually don't sharpen
    I know one guy who doesn't bother focusing at all, then later just sharpens
    everything in photoshop.
    smitty, Aug 27, 2003
  5. It is possible that the local store's photo printer does image enhancements,
    including sharpening. My HP printer has that as an option; I keep it turned

    I like the result of PSP 8's One Step Photo Fix for about 3/4 of my photos.
    It uses two sharpening steps; Edge-Preserving Smooth and Sharpen, but not
    Unsharp Mask.

    Marvin Margoshes, Aug 27, 2003
  6. Matti Haveri

    Mike Russell Guest

    Nothing wrong with this, though my guess is they are doing some sharpening
    already, and your images will look fine out of the camera for 6x4. You will
    probably see the most improvement setting the correct shadow and highlight
    value, and removing any color cast with - you guessed it - curves.
    Again, this is true for larger prints, but not an issue for 6x4
    Yes, do both, but sharpen to gain detail, and blur to remove chroma noise as
    follows: Convert your image to Lab mode, and blur the a and b channels to
    remove chroma noise. You may be fairly agressive with sharpening the L
    channel, since there will be no color fringing. Then blur the a and b
    channels slightly - radius 1.5 or 2. Convert back to RGB of course, before
    sending your images to be printed.

    You may also get interesting results converting to CMYK with light GCR and
    sharpening the K channel only.
    My guess is these settings were designed for a lower rez, noisier technology
    than your camera provides.
    I would not recommend blurring before sharpening for a photograph.


    Mike Russell
    Mike Russell, Aug 29, 2003
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