Originally Posted by PhotoDave1
I have been spending a lot of time on G1 looking at the portfolios put up by my fellow photographers and I have come to realize I have some work to do.
One thing I am in awe of is how do so many of the photographers on this site get their photos so sharp? I am following the image guidelines as set forth by Rolando and I have looked at photos posted by other photographers like R. Frederick Smith and Bobby G. and their sizes and dimensions are similar to mine but they are definitely sharper, more vivid, and in some cases almost surrealistic in nature.
The only thing I can figure out is it has to do with the Resolution function in Photoshop. For a typical 640 x 480 image I set my Resolution to 72 dpi because that is what I have been taught to use for the Internet but I am thinking you guys are setting your Resolutions a lot higher to maybe 200 dpi or more. I am also thinking part of it has to do with the Sharp and Unsharp mask tools in Photoshop which I haven't quite mastered but I am working on it.
What gives guys? How do I make my photos pop like yours? Thanks.
DPI has nothing to do with web images. DPI is a printing construct. I save my photos out of Photoshop using Save for Web. That automatically sets the DPI to 72 if I recall. It also strips m e t a data and the preview image, etc. Sharpness is a quality of several principles. One is to have sharp focus on the critical part of the photos. For glamour, this is often the eyes. When you get the RAW file into Photoshop you've basically got a soft image. That is to say, if you did no sharpening, the image would appear soft. So I use one of several techniques to make the photo sharp. In the RAW converter I apply a light sharpening. I then bring it into Photoshop and sharpen the eyes and soften the skin if needed (because it is often too sharp). I then resize to 600x400 for portrait mode. I use a small automation tool for this process that does a stairstep reduction in size and does sharpening as it does this. I then use Save for the Web to save the image out to disk. (I use the sRGB color space, by the way - if using Adobe RGB, then I change the color space right before the Save for Web process). If you search through some of the old forum posts for my "black mask" article on sharpening you'll see the exact details of how I do the work in PS.
So that is all there is to it. Of course good lighting will also give the photos some extra punch as well as having the right color balance.
Here is an exaggerated example of the three steps: