How to Sharpen Images for the Web

Glancing at the title of this blog post you might assume this it’s a tutorial. It really isn’t. It’s too simple to be a tutorial. It comes down to this:

Buy Tony Kuyper’s Actions. There you go! You’re done!

There are more details to know of course. Tony’s actions are for Photoshop. You must have your image in Photoshop to use the actions. Tony has tutorials on how to load and use the actions. Read up, there’s no use in me repeating his quality instructions. At $25 it is a no brainier. Plus, you get many more versatile actions including luminosity masks and saturation masks.

There are many ways to accomplish sharpening for the web. While I believe Tony’s solution is the best, I will provide my second favorite method: Nik Software’s Sharpener Pro. I use the Complete Nik Collection on all my images and I use their sharpening program for all my printing needs. Sharpener Pro has an option for sharpening for the web, it’s very intuitive and effective.

To save 15 percent off Nik Software use the code JREZNICK.

What’s your favorite web sharpening technique?


8 responses to “How to Sharpen Images for the Web

  • Greg Russell

    Justin, I agree; Tony Kuyper’s actions are an invaluable part of my workflow. I use them on almost every image I edit.

    For sharpening, I have a set of actions that are based on the information at this link:

    They are my favorite, but its really based on personal preference.


  • Justin Reznick

    Another vote for Tony! Thanks for the link Greg, much appreciated!

  • David Richter

    I resize to double the size of the final outcome, use an unsharp mask twice, once for general sharpness, followed by a second time for details. The image comes out slightly oversharpened. Then, I do the resizing to the final output size. Depending on the image, one more round of detail sharpening at 120 to 170%, 0.2 radius and 4 to 12 threshold.


  • Justin Reznick


    Thanks for the response! I know other that do what you do as well… it is a decent amount of work with some variables… have you tried Tony’s action? It could save you time and works flawlessly.


  • David Richter

    Justin, I hear you but not so recently created my own actions on smart objects. I only have to adjust the amounts as each image is different and thus requires sometimes more or less sharpening than others.

    Tony’s masks are great though. I think, I just like to fool around with my own for that old school dark room feel and to be kept off certain anti-digital photography sites. lol

    His cloud sharpening action is pretty neat. It also helps a lot with the subtle detail in plants and the lush growth around the Gorge. 😉


  • Paul

    I prefer sharpening in lab, which tends to be the most color neutral I find — when compared to high pass or USM

    I find lab sharpening a lot more forgiving as well on artefacts though the luminosity / detail seperation

    Actions for sharpening on the web as great and cheers for the link, as for print still prefer to treat each image individually myself — as time consuming as that can be 🙂

  • John

    I’ll have to look into Tony’s methods. This is something I’ve struggled with for a very long time in search of the holy grail of sharpening & currently use a technique near exact as David Richter that I learned from Joe Rossbach. So does his sharpening technique work on larger images regardless of size; 1024, 1600, 2048?

    • Justin Reznick


      You bring up an excellent point about the size. In Tony’s tutorial for how the web sharpening action works, he provides a formula for entering the size values. You are prompted to enter the size twice and he explains the process. He doesn’t mention any restrictions on size whatsoever. I would definitely give it a try John!


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