3. Selectively Sharpen Specific Areas of the Photo
Lightroom’s Develop Module includes several sliders for sharpening your photos, but in some cases you may want to have fine control over the specific areas of the photo that are sharpened. If you don’t want to apply sharpening evenly over the entire photo you have a few options.
One of my favorite approaches is to use local adjustment tools like the graduated filter or the adjustment brush to control what is sharpened and what is not sharpened. For example, if you want to sharpen everything in the foreground you could use the graduated filter. But for this example, I’m going to work with the adjustment brush tool.
In the photo below I would like to sharpen the rocks along to coast, but I don’t want to sharpen the water or the sky.
To do this I can select the adjustment brush tool (keyboard shortcut “K”). I can then brush over the areas of the photo that I want to sharpen. The image below uses a red mask overlay to show the areas where I brushed over the photo.
Now I can adjust the Sharpness slider of the adjustment brush and it will only impact the areas of the photo that were brushed, so it won’t sharpen the water or the sky. You may also want to adjust the Clarity slider of the adjustment brush, which also helps to give it a sharper look.