Keep Noise to a Minimum with these Tips

Noise is one of the biggest enemies of a good photo, especially when dealing with low light situations. It can not only lessen the detail in your photos but also make them look out of focus. Some of these issues can be solved with post-processing, but there is no real remedy to noise that eliminates it completely from a photo.

So before you head out to cover a drama in a theatre with tricky lighting, here are some tips to help you reduce noise in-camera.

Use a Lower ISO

The best way to tackle image noise is to use a low ISO value when taking the photo. ISO is the value that determines how bright your image is. A higher ISO means a brighter image and vice versa. But, a higher ISO also means lesser detail and more noise in images.

Today’s cameras have gotten really good at handling high ISO values. You can take images up to ISO 800 or even 1000 in some cases without seeing much visible noise. However, you should always do some tests to determine the highest ISO value your camera can handle.

Shoot RAW

If you don’t already shoot in RAW, start doing it right away. This is a format that contains all the data your camera captures for a scene, meaning that you can manipulate this data to your liking without degrading image quality. One big cause of excessive noise and grain in photos is that people try to brighten up JPEG photos artificially. A RAW file is different because you’re not adding anything new to the photo but rather choosing which aspects to highlight and which to subdue.

RAW photos also allow you to control noise levels in post processing more effectively. RAW editors like Lightroom and Aurora HDR have noise control settings that are very useful in this regard. Speaking of HDR, these images often have far more noise than normal photos because an HDR photo is a stack of multiple images, amplifying the noise in each. If you would like to reduce noise in an HDR photo, head on to and give this editor a try.

Use In-Camera Settings

Many cameras these days come with built-in noise reduction settings that you should turn on. These are geared towards the specific camera sensor and are often very effective at reducing noise right when you take the photos. The process does take a little time, but it is definitely worth a shot if you don’t want to fiddle too much with your photos in post.