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Photo Processing Pet Peeves - Over-sharpening Halos

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Photo Processing Pet Peeves - Over-sharpening Halos

When browsing photography on this site, I find I have developed a pet peeve... Sorry, but I just have to mention it (not that anyone reads my blog entries).

I see a gorgeous photo, great color, great composition.... but when I click on the image to see a full resolution preview... I see a photo spoiled by over-sharpening, or sometimes even so processed the pixels themselves have disintegrated into grainy mud on close viewing. I often use a little sharpening in my photos or in areas of an image where it's needed, but I would suggest ALWAYS looking at your photo in 100% preview to see if the halo you created by sharpening was intended or if it just spoils an otherwise magnificent photo. I am posting an anonymous example of a closeup preview as an illustration of what I am talking about.

I can't claim to be an authority... BUT... I have found there is a fine line where you can get the sharpening you desire but avoid the halo effect. Again, view your photo at 100%. Use the sliders in your program to get the amount of sharpening required to enhance the photo, but when you overstep into a halo, pull back just slightly. Another option is to "fade" the sharpening you just applied to the point where the halo is minimized or starts to disappear.

I think the reason people do this is because when a large image is reduced for a smaller image to use on the web, or to use as a thumbnail, some sharpening can enhance the look when viewed on a device. But on a site like this intended for printing the artwork and photos on the site, I can't imagine anyone would be happy to get back their print in a larger full resolution size and only then find - lo and behold - there are ugly halo effects in it.

I am interested in anyone's comments on why someone might use this practice on a "for print" image. Do halo'ed images actually print well? I may be missing something, so I do welcome any further education on the subject. :)