How to adjust the sharpness of the photo

In photography, there is a term we often hear of. That is "sharpness". Sharpness boils down to how defined the edges in your digital photos are. An edge that has high contrast is more defined to our human visual system. You may come across such a situation. After shooting a scene, you will find the photo is somewhat blurry. This is when photo sharpening comes in. Photo sharpening is a technique that enhances the sharpness of the photo to catch the viewer's focus. Though the internet is flooded with photo editing software with photo sharpening tools, most of them are not designed for photo editing beginners. If you are a beginner in photo post processing and looking for an easy-to-use tool to handle the task, please continue reading this post. In this post, I will introduce a beginner-friendly photo editor and show you how to sharpen a digital photo with it.

Photo HDR by Vertexshare

Sharpen a photo with PhotoHDR

As the name implies, Photo HDR is a piece of desktop software that is developed to quickly create HDR photos. What's more, it is bundled with a wide range of parameters and decorative objects, with which you can adjust the visual aspects of your photo.

After opening the program, you will be greeted by a sleek and clean window. Import differently exposed photos into the program and they will be soon merged into a single HDR photo. Click on "Next" and you will be taken to a new window. The window is divided into three panels. A series of predefined effects are located in the left-side panel. You can see small preview thumbnails of these predefined effects. The middle panel takes up most of the window. This panel is a preview area where you can see the result of applying any adjustment to the photo in real-time. A variety of parameters are located in the right-side panel. You can adjust the exposure level by changing the brightness, saturation, and contrast. In addition, you can modify the local contrast, compress the dynamic range compression, and tone map the photo. Besides, you can sharpen the blurry photo, get rid of the photo noise, and enhance the colors with Lab adjustment. You are even given the ability to add a graduated filter effect to your photo and mix the color channels. Other parameters are vignette filter, vibrance, and soft light.

All in all, Photo HDR is a user-friendly HDR photo creator as well as a nice photo effects editor. Coming packed with various built-in filters, it enables you to apply basic adjustments and interesting visual effects to your photos in a flash. If you want a simple way to post-process the effect of your photo, Photo HDR is definitely what you should go for. Owing to the minimalist layout and intuitive settings, it can be easily mastered by both rookies and experts.

Let's dive into the part of how to use Photo HDR to sharpen a photo.

How to sharpen a photo with Photo HDR

Step 1.

  • Drop your photo into the box "Drag and Drop Your Photo here". You can also import the photo by clicking on the "Add" button. To remove the imported photo, click on the "Remove" button next to the "Add button".

Step 2.

  • Click on "Next". Go to the right-side panel and scroll down to the "Sharpening" section". Click on the "Lab Adjustment" button to activate the function of adjusting the parameters. The parameters in this section are contrast threshold, blur radius, amount, threshold, and radius. I will give you an explanation of each parameter.

Contrast Threshold

This parameter is used to calculate a threshold to prevent sharpening noise. It determines how high the contrast at edges needs to be before edges are sharpened. As the value is increased, edges to be sharpened will have to have higher contrast. As the value is decreased, edges to be sharpened will have to have lower contrast.

Blur Radius

This parameter is used to control the strength of blurring. Increasing the value will raise the strength of blurring. Decreasing the value will lower the strength of blurring.


This parameter is used to control the strength of sharpening. As the value is increased, more contrast will be applied to edges, As the value is decreased, less contrast will be applied to edges.


This parameter is used to prevent noise amplification. If the sharpening does not create noise, keep the value at zero.


This parameter is used to control the thickness of the edges to be sharpened. Increasing the value will result in thicker edges. Decreasing the value will result in thinner edges.

  • Drag each slider to adjust the effect until it suits your needs.

The "Sharpening" section of Photo HDR

Step 3.

  • Press the "Save as" button to export the photo to a desired location.

An alternative to Photo HDR

Sharpen a photo with PineTools

Photo HDR does a great job of sharpening a digital photo. Give Photo HDR a try and you won't be disappointed. Because Photo HDR is a piece of commercial software, its free version leaves a watermark to the exported photo. To get a photo without a watermark, you have to shell out $29.95. If you want a piece of free software to do the work, PineTools is a good choice. PineTools is a free online photo editor with innumerable photo processing utilities. It is as easy as snapping your finger to sharpen your photo using PineTools. Follow the steps below to make your photo look sharper with PineTools.

  • Go to the left pane on the homepage and select "Images".
  • Scroll down to the "SHARPEN IMAGE" and click on "Sharpen an image". You will be taken to a new webpage.
  • Click on "Choose file" to upload your photo. Go to the right pane. Specify the size of the convolution mask. Convolution mask is a small matrix. It is applied to pixel values for creating a sharpening effect. Then, move the strength slider to the left or right to decrease or increase the strength of the sharpening effect.
  • Press the "SHARPEN!" button to apply the effect to the photo.
  • Click on "PNG", "JPG" or "WEBP" to select the output image format and download the changed photo.

Adjust the sharpness of the photo using PineTools


After taking pictures, you may end up with a blurry photo. The two apps mentioned in this post will help you adjust the sharpness of the photo to reveal important details. I bet with my paycheck you would love to put them into your arsenal. If you find other good apps in the future, please let me know by leaving your comment below.

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