Do you sharpen RAW or after exporting?

Ryan L

TPF Noob!
Apr 20, 2010
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Shelbyville, MI
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Just curious what the general consensus is here. I typically do adjust my sliders in RAW for sharpening, but almost never do after I process the photo. How does everyone else do it, and what are the pros/cons to either way?
Last thing I do usually, and its quite often selectively sharpened, only takes a few extra seconds.
I disable sharpen in the raw editor and only sharpen once all edits are done, its the final stage, sometimes I use the sharpen to see if the edit will produce artifacts or halos and then cancel it and continue with editing. H
I do it in Canon DPP, mostly because I try to do as much as possible there and leave only the complicated stuff for PS. I don't really notice any difference from when I used to do it in PS.
I once read that sharpening should be the "last" thing you do to an image when editing it. Therefore, it is the last thing I do.

If you sharpen a full resolution image (4000 x 3000 pixel for example), then afterward, you crop it 50% you get a different result than if you crop it first, and then sharpen it the appropriate amount for the crop. I'm sure there are other reasons as well.

That's the way I learned, and the way I always do it.
I'm with tkruf.

I sharpen only after I've determined the final output target for the photo. I maintain an archived unsharpened final of the photo with all other processing completed. I can then return to that archived version for use with a different output target that would require different sharpening.

Sharpening is part of the output process.

Take Care,
The role of sharpening is to enhance edge contrast. It almost always creates some processing artifacts, so if you do it early, you'll be adding your other operations on top of whatever artifacts you've introduced during the sharpening process. Since the goal is to enhance appearance, I heed the advice of much more experienced photographers, and do this as the last step, and as tkruf said above, in the final resized crop.
I've found unmask sharpening my friend more than sharpening. I usually do this last in the sequence.
looks like I will be disabling Raw sharpening then since it seems to be the general practice. Thanks everyone
I sharpen at least twice and mostly 3 times.

I do capture sharpening in Camera RAW, local sharpening as necessary/desired, and then output sharpening.

For the local and output sharpening I choose from a variety of sharpening techniques.

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