Landscape sharpening

Some of my images contain the level of detail that is typical of landscape photographs. It’s not an area I have focused on in the past and I’ve been struggling a little with selective sharpening in Photoshop – my default tool is the unsharp mask, but I’m not happy with the results for some of the landscape details; I see hints of haloing and then when backed off, the details are not as sharp as I’d like.

This morning I looked at the newer ‘smart sharpen’ filter and am happy with the results.

Screen grabs (unfortunately not the same size) that show the difference. I’ve learned that smart sharpen is better at detecting edges (based on lens blur) than the unsharp mask based on gaussian blur. The control over fading sharpening in shadow and highlight area helps in automatically refining the areas for sharpening.

I’ve found that using smart sharpening on a smart object layer, with a mask to hide sharpening on areas of the image (eg background) gives the selective clarity to the image I was looking for.