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What Does Sharpness Mean When Talking About Photography?

When talking about photography ‘sharpness’ refers to an image’s overall clarity in terms of both focus and contrast. When the subject of an image is sharp the image appears clear and lifelike, with detail, contrast and texture rendered in high detail. Images which lack sharpness or are ‘soft’ can appear blurry and lacking in detail, although experienced photographers are able to manipulate sharpness to allow a feeling of warmth or movement within an image. Image sharpness is extremely reliant on achieving accurate focus on a desired subject, especially challenging when shooting scenes which require a narrow depth of field, or shooting in low light situations which require large apertures.

The Black Tusk rendered in sharp contrast against a mountainous background.
Shuttermuse/ Dan Carr