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Reducing Noise in High ISO Photos

I'm a bit of a wimp. The second it starts to get a bit cold or that white stuff starts to cover my grass, I hibernate indoors WAY more than normal. For someone who likes to take lots of photos, this means two things--high ISOs and more noise in my photos!

Today, I want to introduce you to my good friend--Noise Reduction. It is found in the Detail panel in Lightroom just under the Sharpening sliders.

Play the video or read on--whichever works best for you!

There are two types of noise in photos. Probably you have noticed them both if you have ever looked at a noisy photo at 100%. Color noise is the little bits of random color that pop up in your noisy areas--most prominently in the shadow areas of your photo.

(The following screenshots are all zoomed in to 300% to help you see the noise UP CLOSE!)

To get rid of those bits of color, I am going to move my "color" slider to +30. Where you move it will depend on your specific photo. Just move the slider to the right until you see the color noise disappearing.

The next type of noise is luminance noise. I am not sure if this is the "exact" technical term for it, but this is the type of noise that leaves lots of little dots, points, or grains in your photo. With my ISO set at 3200, I have quite a bit of this type of noise (as seen in the above screenshot.)

To eliminate this kind of noise in Lightroom, we move the Luminance slider. The slider adds a little bit of blur to blend that grain together all while preserving the edges of the objects or people in your photo. I generally move this slider somewhere between 30 and 60. If you move it to 100, it will blur your photo to the point that things start to look very soft and plastic-like. To add back some sharpness to your photo, move the detail and contrast sliders a bit. I usually take them to the right and don't move TOO far from the default settings.

Oh, what a few difference a few sliders can make to those noisy indoor shots!!

Hi!! I am Gayle. I am a wife to my handsome husband and mom to 4 beautiful kids. In my spare time, I am a photographer and blogger at Mom and Camera. I have a passion for sharing my love of photography with others. I teach local photography classes and regularly share photography tips and tricks on my blog. I hang out there a lot—I’d love you to stop by and visit! 

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