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How to Sharpen a Photo in Lightroom Mobile

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Blurry, soft-focused pictures be gone! When your optics weren’t quite perfect enough, sharpening images in Lightroom Mobile is a great option to explore. Often just bumping up the sharpening a bit will do the trick. But there are other measures you can take, as well, to bring clarity to your image while making sure it doesn’t get that aesthetically repulsive look of over-sharpened.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to sharpen images so that the details are crisp. Check out how simple it is to fine tune your picture’s focus, and read the steps that follow. In just a few taps, your photograph will be enhanced to its optimal sharpening: a polished look of perfection.

How to Sharpen a Photo in Lightroom Mobile

The Basics

Adobe Lightroom Mobile is an intuitively designed app with an impressive array of editing tools that make post-production a breeze in the palm of your hand. This tutorial focuses on the editing capabilities Lightroom Mobile offers, but it is equally powerful at helping you organize, store, share your images—and even capture them in HDR.

Lightroom can be purchased on its own, including access to the latest updates and releases for $9.99 a month, or by purchasing a Creative Cloud Photography plan for $19.99 a month. Creative Cloud plans come packaged with other perks and apps, as well as GBs of cloud storage. Businesses, students & teachers, and schools & universities are offered special plans and pricing. You can also try it out by activating a free seven-day trial.

1. Open Lightroom Mobile

Open Lightroom Mobile.

2. Select the Image

Locate the image you would like to sharpen.

3. Locate the Detail Icon

To locate the Detail icon, scroll to the right in the edit bar at the bottom.

4. Tap on the Detail Icon

Tapping on the Detail icon reveals options for all the ways you can increase the details in your image, including Sharpening.

5. Drag the Sharpening Slider

Sharpening an image applies contrast to its edges. To increase the amount of sharpening—or edge contrast—move the Sharpening slider to the right.

Notice how the Sharpening slider gets red toward the right. This red territory on the slider signifies when you might be over-sharpening your image, creating edge halos or noise.

6. Use Additional Sharpening Tools

To get more control over the Sharpening effect, check out the additional sharpening controls: Radius, Detail, and Masking.

7. Radius Controls the Thickness of the Contrast Edge

While Sharpening an image applies edge contrast, the Radius slider controls the thickness of that edge contrast. Moving the Radius slider to the right makes the contrast edge thicker. Moving it to the left makes it thinner.

8. Detail Modifies the Sharpness of Details

The Detail slider controls which details gain sharpness. Moving the Detail slider to the right sharpens the smallest details. Moving it to the left sharpens only the larger edges.

9. Masking Determines Where Sharpening Is Applied

The Masking slider controls which parts of the image are getting sharpened. Moving the slider to the right sharpens areas only with strong edges. Moving it to the left sharpens the entire image. Masking can help decrease noise that the Detail and Radius sliders sometimes produce.

10. Pinch In To See the Effect

After you apply a Sharpening effect, place your fingers on your screen and pinch in. Sharpening involves fairly subtle changes. It's almost impossible to see the changes you're making without getting macro. Make changes if need be.

11. Save Your Changes

To save your Sharpening modification, tap the back arrow at the top left.

12. Enjoy Your Sharpened Image!

If at any time you would like to modify the sharpening again, tap the Detail icon.

Sharpening As the Final Touch

If an image’s focus is even just a little off, it’s automatically out of the “A” pile and into the garbage bin. In fact, an image’s sharpness is so important to the success of our optic instrument that each image you produce could benefit from a thorough evaluation of its visual clarity. Overdo that enhancement, however, and it’ll get ugly quick. Taking a refined approach as you put the final touches on an image’s clarity, while exploiting the sharpening features available to you, is the way to go.

Keep Learning About Lightroom Mobile and Photography

Here are a few more free tutorials and resources to help you study Lightroom Mobile and smartphone photography.

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