How to Edit a Blurry Photo

by Mallory Ferland

Unfortunately a camera can only capture what it is set to capture. If the photo is improperly focused during exposure, then a blurry photo will be captured. It is impossible to completely correct a blurry photo, however, with a photo-editing program you can make it look significantly sharper. Photos taken in RAW format rather than JPEG are easier to correct during editing. Minor blur can usually be fixed with a few tweaks, however, major blur is usually irreversible.

Open the blurry photo in a photo-editing program such as Adobe Photoshop, Paintshop Pro or Fireworks. You must have an editing program to correct a blurry photo. Image viewer programs that come free with individual cameras usually do not have the capacity to edit blur.

Correct the photo and resize it. Any editing you plan to do to the photo, such as color balance, level, channels, image resizing and spot correction must be done before you sharpen the image. Increase the contrast, that is the black versus white in the photo. Oftentimes a blurry photo can be corrected simply by upping the contrast or tweaking the levels. In Photoshop, access the "levels" and "contrast" actions by selecting "Image" from the top menu bar followed by "Adjustments" and "Levels" or "Brightness/Contrast." Toggle the slide bar until you achieve balance in the photo.

Sharpen the image. After all editing and resizing has been done, if the photo is still slightly blurry, use the image sharpening tool to add definition. On the top menu bar access "Filter" followed by "Sharpen" and then "Sharpen." The filter will add grain and definition to the photo.

Sharpen more. If you are not satisfied with the image after sharpening, perform additional sharpening. You must take care when sharpening an image more than once. Many "sharpen" filters will cause the image to severely pixelate and form visible grains. Rather than using the sharpen filter a second time, use either the "Sharpen Edges" or "Smart Sharpen" filters. The sharpen edges filter will only effect the detectable edges in the photo and the smart sharpen allows you to choose the exact degree or sharpness to apply. Access "Filter" on the top menu bar followed by "Sharpen" and "Sharpen Edges" or "Smart Sharpen."

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About the Author

Mallory Ferland has been writing professionally since her start in 2009 as an editorial assistant for Idaho-based Premier Publishing. Her writing and photography have appeared in "Idaho Cuisine" magazine, "Spokane Sizzle" and various online publications. She graduated from Gonzaga University in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and French language and now writes, photographs and teaches English in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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