The ugly truth

Last week I spent some time with a client up in Torridon on a private trip. During the evening, he wanted to show me some images by a photographer who shoots on a 1D. He was blown away by the resolution and detail in his images and he wanted to know how to achieve it.

I took a look at this particular photographers site and I'm sorry to say - my blood began to boil. These were not images with great clarity, these were images that had been greatly oversharpened at full size before resizing down.... all for vanity.

Yes the images looked superb, but the issue for me was that they don't accurately reflect the detail in the image you'd get from them if you bought a print.

Why do people do this? Putting perceived resolution into an image that isn't there, to impress the heck out of people on the web is vulgar but it's also misleading.

Here for your own benefit, are two images.... you can decide for yourself which one you prefer, but bear in mind, that they are the same image. One has been oversharpened to give the perceived idea of it being much more impressive than it actually is.

Over sharpened

normal sharpening

I guess for some folk, sharp images are everything. Perhaps they're the kind of folk that have forgotten to enjoy an image for it's smooth tones, and have to be impressed by hard edges.

Sharpening is BAD. It doesn't really make an image 'sharp', it just increases the contrast at the edges of objects in the picture. You should never apply it to your files unless you are preparing for final output on a printer, or applying a small amount of sharpening to recover what has been lost while down sizing for use on the web. Those images which have been over-sharpened to give the 'illusion' of a highly detailed image are misleading.