I recently explored the web to discover different ways to sharpen pictures on Photoshop. Some techniques are destructive while other ways of sharpening can still be edited afterwards. In this article, I will focus on the High Pass / Gaussian Blur sharpening technique, which I will continue to use in my future portrait edits, as I liked it the most. This technique includes Smart Objects, meaning that you can easily change the values of the filters even after applying the filter. So, if you look at your edit after a long refreshing night and you are all like ‘meh’, you can still change the amount of the blur or the high pass without losing any details. If you are lazy and want to skip all this, go to the bottom of this article, I created an action and posted a download link so you can easily import it in Photoshop. The action will make all the following steps for you in just one single click automatically.
Create the Layer structure
An important thing to remember is, that you should do the sharpening step at the very end of your editing. So, put your desired color grading to your picture, do your Dodge & Burn and once you have done whatever you need to do in your edit, continue with the sharpening. For this technique, you need to create two copies of your background. Name the first copy ‘High Pass’ and the second ‘Gaussian Blur’. To do so, right click on your background and select ‘Duplicate Layer’. Alternatively, you can drag your background to the ‘Create new layer’ icon below to create a copy.