Image Noise Reduction By Lightroom

Image Noise reduction starts with the correct ISO setting, you want to know your camera sensor’s “native” ISO, this is before any post-amplification occurs.

Whenever I capture any image with a high IOS setting, I know I will have to deal with some noise in my photos. There are times when I just cannot get rid of the noise, so I decide to take care of it later. My personal choice for image noise reduction is Lightroom. It is a fairly easy to use platform, and it allows me to reduce noise in my photographs. As we both know, no one wants to see fashion photos full of noise. Over the years my personal experience in the field of fashion photography has taught me how to minimize noise in my images, but there are times in my profession when you do not have the time to capture a completely noise free image.

On the other hand, to make matters more complicated, there are negative ISO settings, for instance, if your native sensor ISO speed is 100, then what is ISO 80? It is a 20% de-amplified or de-tuned speed. These setting are at times necessary to combat extreme brightness when you need depth of field on the ski slopes of Tahoe or shooting at the marble fields of Acropolis (been there, done that).

I do not recommend in-camera noise reduction unless you are a journalist; then it will be best to shoot with the least interference and fix it during the post-processing.

However, ISO 80 is noisier than the native ISO 100 setting, and you will see mockbanding; in addition, due to negative amplification there will be more noise and reduced dynamic range. Keep in mind that half step ISO ranges produce more noise in images than full step ISO. For instance, an ISO set at 160 is noisier than ISO 200! So when you are shooting, keep in mind the whole multiples of your camera sensor native ISO, in this case ISO 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc.

Before we start talking about how you can use Lightroom for image noise reduction, you should be aware that noise reduction is achieved at a small cost. The noise removal process is basically smoothing pixels, so when the process is completed, it will lack fine detail. As I am in the fashion industry, I simply cannot compromise on fine details in the image. Which is why I try to keep image noise to a minimum when taking photos. Keep in mind that it requires a lot of practice, and you will soon develop a knack for it like I have.

The thing you need to remember is that crushing blacks will help get rid of apparent noise, that is if you are shooting at high ISO ranges. Furthermore, shooting with high megapixel sensors and downsizing to normal megapixels will also crush noise and blend it away. As a seasoned fashion photographer, I do not recommend in-camera noise reduction unless you are a journalist; then it will be best to shoot with the least interference and fix it during the post-process.

Fortunately, with the help of lightroom I am able to rid my images of the noise in my images without compromising the fine details. If you use Lightroom 5.0 or above you can reduce noise from a specific area, which is not offered in version before 5.0.

If you have read my post about About Image Noise – Image Quality Matters, you will know that there are two types of noise, color noise, and luminance noise. It is important to know that kind of noise you are dealing with. Keep in mind that luminance noise is grainier, and color noise as the title suggests; shows solid colors as multicolor pixels.

I can tell you that I use Lightroom 6.0 on a daily basis, and it has never let me down. I am able to play with both types of noise, and can remove it from specific areas of the image. The best part about Lightroom is, that I have complete control over the image setting, which allows me to ensure that no detail is left out. Fashion is a cutthroat world, and there is really no space for mistakes, which is why each image is thoroughly checked and processed by me. Which is why I recommend you to process your images yourself, as no one know the image better than the photographer who took it.