Many photographers are dismayed at the apparent softness in their digital captures. Not surprising: they’re used to seeing nice sharp chromes. Most digital SLRs have an antialiasing filter in front of the sensor, and this introduces a slight softness. The filter is there to reduce moirĂ© caused by aliasing: camera sensors are a grid of light receptors and that grid is very much like shooting through a screen door. Any high-frequency pattern in your subject can cause interference resulting in moirĂ©.

So, the unhappy photographer turns on sharpening in the processing software. Ahhhh, that looks much better.

Unless you’re me. I’ve got to retouch your photography, and now it has a bunch of hard edges in it, where there were nice soft gradients before. Bummer. Those are tougher to retouch.

I completely understand the desire to provide sharp photographs to your clients, and I don’t want you to stop. I would like to make a request that, when you know there will be considerable retouching, please provide the retoucher with unsharpened originals. I promise I’ll sharpen ‘em when I’m through rearranging things. The client will never know.