Understanding Lightroom's Sharpening Sliders

Lightroom Slider Explained

Understanding Lightroom's Sharpening Sliders

Sharpening in Lightroom isn't something that's talked about very often.  It isn't one of the exciting things that makes your photo beautiful or transforms it in amazing ways.

It's one of the little things. But the little things can sometimes make a huge difference, so here is a breakdown of all the sharpening sliders in Lightroom and how to use them!

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Where to Find the Sharpening Sliders

Lightroom Sliders

The Sharpening sliders are found in the Detail Panel.  This is also the same panel where Noise Reduction is found.  Each of the sliders has a different function.

1. Amount Slider

The amount slider will adjust the intensity of the overall sharpening for the entire photo.

2. Radius Slider

Think edges when thinking about the radius slider. This slider determines how far out from the edges you will see sharpening and is best adjusted while holding down the Alt/Option key.  When you hold down the Alt/Option key, your photo will go black/gray and you should adjust it until you can see just the main edges of your photo.

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3. Detail Slider

The detail slider will help bring back details and keep the sharpening focused on those details.  This slider is also best adjusted by holding down the Alt/Option key and dragging the slider until you can start to see some detail from your image.

4. Masking Slider

The masking slider is really the magic slider in the Sharpening section. This slider will look for solid or smooth areas and try to mask off the sharpening from those areas and keep it to just the edges.  I am typically very conservative with the other sharpening sliders.  However, with this slider I am VERY generous and usually use a very high amount.

Additional Tip

If you choose to sharpen in Lightroom, you probably should NOT sharpen your images on export.  This could leave your photos over-sharpened which is generally NOT a good thing for an image.

To see the Sharpening Panel in Lightroom in action, watch our tutorial video below. We explain each of the sliders and show you how to adjust them for your image!

Understanding the Sharpening Sliders in Lightroom - Video Tutorial


Do you have any questions or comments about the Lightroom Sharpening Sliders?   Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

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