Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Digital Photography Workflow

Lightroom/PS CS3 Sharpening Workflow

I’m getting a lot of inquiries regarding the optimum workflow for sharpening using Lightroom and Photoshop CS3. Here’s what I recommend:

1. When working an image in Lightroom Develop, set the sharpening controls to their default settings by double-clicking the word “Sharpening”. (In all the modules/panels, double clicking the name of the control – not the panel header – will reset them to default values). Note: to fix chromatic aberration, turn sharpening off first.

2. After processing the image for Tone and Color in Develop, TURN SHARPENING OFF IN LIGHTROOM by setting the Amount slider to 0. Then, take the image round-trip into Photoshop for sharpening (and if necessary, selective edits and soft-proofing etc.). To do this most efficiently, use the Edit in Photoshop… command under the Photo menu.

3. In Photoshop, use PhotoKit Sharpener from Pixel Genius to do up to three rounds of sharpening: 1) Capture Sharpen – very gentle, overcomes the loss of sharpness inherent in digitizing an image; 2) Creative Sharpen – can be either global or local; this is the heaviest round of sharpening and is image- and detail-specific; and 3) Output Sharpening – done after all other editing and after resizing image to final print size.

4. You can then take the image round-trip back to Lightroom for printing/presentation etc. or print from Photoshop.

Tip: when you’re done editing the file in Photoshop, make sure to use the Save… command and not Save As… This will update the file in the Lightroom database.

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