Over the past six months or so I have had one fundamental post processing focus: sharpening. Although I wanted to puckishly fold Shakespeare into my title, the question is not actually whether or not to sharpen, but how much, and using which method(s).
Most of the exceptional digital photographers I have seen, read, or have spoken with, rely on some sharpening, even very accomplished impressionists will do it. The upshot seems to coalesce around two seemingly disparate requirements: One is relevant to the overall message of the image; form, light, color, and content; the story. The other is more to do with post processing technique; never to let it be seen (be detectable). The latter has to do with a general philosophy regarding post processing, applying the same admonition. If it shows, then it detracts, sometimes fatally, to the entire effort.
One of the excellent photography tutorials available is on this website called "Understanding Sharpness." This takes us through the fundamentals of sharpening; what it is and how it is done. My question is less technical, more subjective.
We all know that white (or dark) halos are one of the unpleasant artifacts of over sharpening, which can kill an image on delivery. It takes some very, very good content in the image to overcome this and other exposure and processing errors.
The impression of infinite depth of field is another, where the overall image acutance is another bane of global sharpening, lending an unnatural impression or an unbelievable quality that almost hurts your eyes to look at.
And there are more.
I wanted to throw this topic out to the CiC community for comments from one and all. I know there must be a lot of questions about this subject; and there may be some who have answers they can share with us.
So, I will cast one of my own guinea pigs into the ring for sacrifice. Is this image over sharpened? If it is to your eyes, can you say specifically why, or better yet what to do about it. Or, was it sharpened at all? How can you tell?