How To Sharpen Photo Scans Using Photoshop So They Don't Look Blurry And Flat

After reading these tips, you'll learn how to do this with your photo scans...

fix blurry photo scans in photoshop so they look sharper

Sometimes your photos will look OK. But when you scan them and have a closer look, they look a bit blurry. Or maybe your dad just took a blurry photo!

In any case, this is pretty easy to fix. Here's how...


1. What Tool To Use To Sharpen Photo Scans

Open your photo scan, and find the Unsharp Mask tool. Here's where to find it...

us unsharp mask to fix blurry photo scans in photoshop

The command is: Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharp Mask


2. How To Use Unsharp Mask To Sharpen Photos

When you open the Unsharp Make, you'll see something like this...

unsharp mask in photoshop will sharpen your photo scan  

Now, see Amount, Radius, Threshold? After playing around with these setting many time, here's the best setup:

  how to use unsharp mask to fix blurry photo scans  

A. Amount: This is the one I use the most. It can range from 5% to 80%, depending how blurry your photo scan is.

B. Radius: I usually keep this around 2 - 6 pixels. You don't have to move it too much.

C. Threshold: I usually never touch this, and keep it at 0.


3 Action Step To Do RIGHT NOW...

Step 1. Open a blurry photo scan in Photoshop.

Step 2. Open the Unsharp Mask tool (Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharp Mask)

Step 3. Keep Threshold at 0; Radius 2 - 3; and only move Amount until your image looks sharp enough.

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Which of these scanning troubles do you want to overcome?

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  • Best method to digitize slides, negatives, photos using your regular flatbed or film scanner
  • How to clean your negatives, slides, and photos before you scan them -- so you don't scratch them
  • What side should you scan a slide or negative -- so they're not backwards or facing the wrong way
  • How to setup your scanner to get higher quality digital images -- 24bit JPEG? 48bit TIFF?
  • How to fix your digital images using Digital ICE, GIMP, or Photoshop and make them look new
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  • Understand the technical stuff of a digital image so you can make sideshow videos, reprints, and more!

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The reason I'm telling you this is because no matter what challenge or frustration you're having, I know exactly what you're going through. So, to help you RIGHT NOW, I've put together a super simple scanning guide to get you started.

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