Have you noticed that some of the photos that you snap have lots of ‘noise’ in them? It normally presents itself as small specks of differently-colored pixels spread across photo, making it look a bit grainy.
Ideally if you find that noise is a persistent problem, you should take steps to try to fix it. In particular there are several ways that you can avoid noise when you snap photos:
- Reduce the ISO setting
The ISO setting is what controls the sensitivity of the image sensor in your digital camera. A high ISO setting will make it more sensitive, which is why people often increase it when capturing low-light photos.
Unfortunately a high ISO setting will also produce more noise in your photos – especially if your camera has a small sensor. For example a relatively new DSLR may be able to handle ISO up to 1600 with relatively little noise, whereas a mobile phone camera may struggle after 400.
That is why you should reduce your ISO setting and see if that affects the amount of noise in your photos. To compensate you can increase the aperture and snap long exposures using a tripod rather than using a high ISO setting.
- Carefully learn how your camera handles long exposures
While long exposures can be helpful and allow you to reduce the ISO setting, you should be careful that they don’t introduce noise into your photos as well. During long exposures your camera sensor could heat up and some pixels may start to display colors incorrectly – i.e. hot pixels.
Each camera is slightly different in terms of how well it can handle long exposures. As such you should experiment carefully and learn how your camera is able to cope with them.
Once you do you should be able to easily avoid exposures that are excessively long and start to add noise to your photos.
- Shoot photos in RAW
Capturing photos in RAW is always a good idea and will provide you with images that have significantly better quality. In this case they could help you to avoid yet another source of noise: Compression.
When photos are compressed into JPEGs they produce artifacts that cause noise to appear in photos. That is especially true if the photo itself already has noise due to other reasons – in which case the effect is often worse.
By shooting in RAW you will be able to ensure that noise isn’t being introduced by the compression. On top of that RAW photos are far better to edit, and so if you want to remove noise in post-production it will be much easier.
In some cases it can be really difficult to avoid snapping photos with noise, which is why having an editor that you can use to remove noise in post is important as well. Nowadays there are even software that specialize in removing noise, and for example you could try Movavi Photo DeNoise (www.movavi.com/noise-reduction-software/).
By taking what steps you can to avoid noise and reduce it as much as possible when you snap photos, you should be able to produce cleaner and better-looking images in general. After that you can tidy up whatever bits you need to during post-production, and end up with photos that look perfect and without any trace of noise at all.