Photographers generally don’t agree on much. Sony, Nikon, or Canon? If you ask three different photographers, you’ll get three different answers. Color or black-and-white? Film or digital? The debates go on and on. But there’s one thing almost everyone can agree on, and that is that a good photo is a sharp photo. If there’s one immutable truth in the photography lexicon, that may be it. And, many of us will go through great lengths to get the sharpest photo, whether it was captured that way to begin with, or not.
The truth is, due to huge advances in autofocus technology, low-light performance, and optics, it’s pretty easy to capture a sharp image these days. Even when you do get a shot that you really like, but might be a bit on the soft side, all is not lost—by any means—and this is more true than ever in the newest versions of Lightroom Classic and Camera Raw.
But with great power comes great responsibility. As useful as the Adobe sharpening tools are, there is a fine line between using them in a way that improves the image and using them in a way that detracts from it. Something that helped me get better at using the sharpening tools in a tasteful way that helps my photo was to understand exactly what effect these tools have on the image.