The Best Image Sharpening Trick for High-ISO PhotosYou’ve probably run into this issue at one point or another – how to sharpen an image with high-iso noise without worsening the noise artifacts.

It’s the epitome of a Catch-22 scenario. By applying noise reduction, you sacrifice detail. But by sharpening the image, worsened noise is a result.

So how does one go about resolving this?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. As first instructed by Gabriel Fontes, this image sharpening technique he invented allows you to effectively sharpen an image, leaving the noise untouched.

Try it out yourself to be amazed.

How to sharpen a high-ISO image

  1. Open your image in Photoshop and duplicate the layer (ctrl/cmd +J).
  2. Go to Filter -> Other -> High Pass… The Best Image Sharpening Trick for High-ISO Photos
  3. Decrease the pixels radius to around 3.0.
  4. Press OK.
  5. De-saturate the image (shortcut ctrl/cmd + Shift + U).
  6. Take that layer into Topaz DeNoise.
  7. Increase the Overall Strength slider until you no longer see any noise artifacts. The Best Image Sharpening Trick for High-ISO Photos
  8. Press OK.
  9. Next go to Filter -> Sharpen -> Smart Sharpen.
  10. Adjust the Amount and Radius sliders to your preferences, making sure the image looks sharper. The Best Image Sharpening Trick for High-ISO Photos
  11. Reduce the Reduce Noise slider to around 3.
  12. Press OK.
  13. Within the layers panel, change the blending mode to Linear Light.
  14. Toggle between the before and after by clicking on the eyeball within the layers panel.
  15. If the sharpening is too strong, reduce the opacity of the layer for a lightened result.

How to remove high-ISO noise

Now that you’ve successfully sharpened your image, you might be wondering, “but now how do I remove the noise?”. This is very easy to do. Simply duplicate your background layer and bring that layer into Topaz DeNoise.

Applying a preset is a good starting point, however if you want to use the parameters for a custom effect, I recommend viewing this video below for a beginner’s guide to removing noise.

Using this technique with cell phone pics

Aside from high-ISO DSLR images, this technique works really well with cell phone pics taken at night. Here are some before and after examples:

Continue your education on image sharpening and noise reduction with these tutorials:

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