How to Reduce Digital Noise

March 23

11 min. to read

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Discover how to avoid and remove digital noise in your photos.

Digital noise is a common problem for photographers of all skill levels. Noise manifests itself as light, dark, or randomly colored spots that can fill whole areas of the photo. If you take shots in low light, you have likely faced such a problem. No matter whether you have a DSLR or compact camera, high contrast spots can spoil the overall impression of the shot. How can you avoid or remove digital noise in your photos? Here are some simple ideas.

Avoid Digital Photo Noise when Shooting

We need to keep in mind that digital noise always appears due to technical limitations of camera sensors. It appears when there is a little light, no matter what type of camera you use. It mostly happens when you take photos at night or in low-light situations as in photos shot indoors. Another situation is when you are shooting with a smartphone and zoom in - the small sensor on smartphones invariably lead to noise. It’s possible to take photos with NO noise at all, but only on a bright, sunny day.

Your photos may look normal on your camera screen, but when you zoom in on the picture or print it, you will notice that noise. There are several tactics that will help to prevent noise when shooting.

Use Low ISO

One of the most common reasons for digital noise is that the ISO is too high, whether you set it manually or your camera automatically set it for the scene. When you take photos in the dark, you have to increase the sensitivity of the camera sensor to make the photo lighter. When you increase the ISO too much, the picture becomes noisy. To get around this, try lighting the scene or use wide aperture lenses when you notice you lack light. The wider you open the aperture, the quicker the shutter speed will be, resulting in less noise. These settings will help you take high-quality pictures without the need to push ISO too high.

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Use a Tripod

It is a good idea to use a tripod to prevent image noise. Because it is a stable platform, you just set the sensor sensitivity to the lowest level, put the camera on your tripod, and enjoy the moment.

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Take RAW photos

It is preferable to take RAW shots because this file format captures a lot of detail without compressing the image. Therefore, you have a high chance of taking high-quality pictures. Noise reduction software will use the detail for reducing noise when processing.

Modern digital cameras have built-in denoising features, but they are far from perfect and often prevent software from reducing noise further.Try taking shots with and without the built-in denoiser and compare the results. Do not use built-in denoiser in your camera.

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Remove Digital Noise After Shooting

Post processing can work miracles with your noisy photos. The best noise reduction software will detect digital noise and “scrub” your photo, smoothing noisy areas while preserving the important details that make up your image. Let's find ways of reducing noise with Noiseless CK. It’s a powerful application and you can see how it works in the photos below.

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Reduction Strength

Depending on the shooting situation and lighting, you’ll get varying amounts of noise in your photos. In Noiseless CK, the software will automatically analyze and select the level of noise reduction it things is need. Of course, you can also override that decision and select one of presets from “Lightest” to “Extreme.” The names of presets hint at the level of denoising.

Another option is the “Adjust” tab. The “Noise Reduction” section lets you change color amount and smoothness, luminance coarse and fine aspects, as well as smoothing area and strength. You will see how sliders move left or right after clicking on one of presets. Decide how smooth you want your photo to be.

Saving Structure and Details

One-click presets give you ready-made solutions, but you can easily sharpen the details or change some elements to ensure sharpness. The “Structure” section controls amount, radius, and protection. Structure makes all things and people in the photo look sharp, ”Radius” defines the size of the smallest details and the “Protection” slider speaks for itself - it saves the original look of every element, particularly in highlights. Note: These sliders will change if you click on any of presets, so it’s good practice to select a preset first, then fine-tune with the adjustment sliders. Make the details look sharp and clear or smooth and soft.

Adjusting Filters

You can quickly change highlights, midtones, and shadows. “Highlights” increases the overall brightness of the picture while “Shadows” recovers any detail in blacks. Noiseless gives you a lot of detail and no harsh elements. Play with highlights and shadows to sharpen or smooth the details, on both regular or HDR images.

How to Reduce Noise with Noiseless CK?

Now that you know the primary features of this application, let's move on to a step-by-step guide. There are two ways of editing your photos: batch processing and single image processing. Scroll down for more details.

Batch Processing

Usually, we take a series of shots in one place with the same camera settings and the same lighting. For quick and easy denoising of all these images, it is best to use the batch processing tool. First, you manipulate one of the photos to select the best presets and only then will you adjust the settings to all the other pictures.

  • Launch Noiseless CK
  • Launch one of your photos
  • Choose the best preset for it
  • Click “File” - “Batch Processing” - “Load Images”
  • Select the folder - “Open”
  • Click “Process”

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Edit Batch Options:

Export Location - Save to - Choose the folder or select current location;

Noise Reduction Level - Auto or Manual - Select the preset that suited that one single photo;

File Settings - Choose the format and the quality;

Image Sizing - Select the dimensions depending on where you will post your pictures. You can stop at Long Edge for sharing your masterpieces via social networks;

File Naming - Select custom string to personalize your photo file names.

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After you finish, you will see the folder with the processed pictures. Press the spacebar or double click on each photo to check the results. Remove noise from tens, hundreds, or even thousands of your photos in just a few clicks.

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Single-Image Denoise

For removing noise from one photo, launch Noiseless CK and take the following steps:

  • Click “Load Image” - You will see a processed picture
  • Click“File” - “Export to Image”
  • Type the name of the file
  • Choose the location
  • Adjust file format and the quality
  • Click “Save”

Video Guides to Remove Noise with Noiseless CK

Get started with a proprietary denoising software: out what you can do with the Pro version of Noiseless: a closer look at the Adjust panel for manual processing of your photos: you need to know about the Batch Processing:

Digital noise is a thing of the past with modern denoising software. A few seconds and you have a beautiful picture with accurate colors and sharp edges. Enjoy every moment of your life with the freedom that comes from knowing your low-light images can be saved and enhanced with Noiseless CK.

Use Aurora HDR for free for 14 days.

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