For those of you who don't know me, welcome! My name is Kim and I am a Las Vegas, NV family photographer specializing in custom on location portraiture.
A portrait is only as good as it's sharpness. How do you achieve sharpness though? How do you know if your images are really sharp?These are the questions that plague most new photographers. In photography forums the most common question I see is, "Can you guys check my sharpness?" Why so much focus on sharpness? Because while the concept is easy to understand, the practice of achieving perfect sharpness is a challenge. In this post you will learn how to quickly recognize whether an image is sharp so you can quickly determine if it's a keeper or one for the recycle bin.Have you ever looked at the back of your camera and thought you nailed it, then opened your images on your computer only to realize that you botched the whole set? I have. This was a fairly common occurrence in my first year learning photography and was something that was incredibly frustrating. Thankfully during that time most of my images were just of my kids and not clients because they looked a lot like this . . .
You may be wondering why images look sharp on your camera screen but aren't sharp when you open them? The simple answer, compression. The back of your camera is compressing the data so unless you zoom in all the way you might miss that they are out of focus. If you were to view the above image as a thumbnail it would look sharp.The photo above is obviously out of focus but not all images are so quick to tell. Take a look at these 3 images and see if you can tell right away which two have sharpness issues.
Hint: A subjects eyes are the number one indicator to determine if you nailed the focus and sharpness of an image.
It may not be super easy to tell at first glance unless you've really trained your eyes. If you zoom in 100% on each of these images this is what you'd see.
In the above image the eye closest to the camera is out of focus. This is because her eyes were on two separate planes of focus and my aperture was wide open.
In the image above you can clearly see the details on her dress which could make you think the image is sharp but a quick glance at her and it becomes obvious this image is not sharp.
It is clear that the above image is the sharpest. If I were to zoom in even closer you could easily see all of the details in her eyes. They are crisp and clear.I hope this visual helped! Please let me know if you have any questions or thoughts on making sure you have sharp images! Stay tuned for next week when I go over how to achieve tack sharp images!
Your Challenge for the week - go through your images and get rid of any portrait that doesn't have sharp eyes. A beautifully posed and lit image is only as good as the sharpness of the eyes.
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