How to Reduce the Noise in Your Photos When They're Captured

Noise is the enemy of photographers everywhere, and we spend a ton of time discussing different post-processing software and techniques for reducing it as much as possible. But reducing noise starts from the moment you choose your camera settings. This fantastically comprehensive video will show you what noise is, why it appears in your photos, and numerous ways you can mitigate it in camera. 

Coming to you from Will Goodlet, this excellent video discusses how camera noise works and what you can do to mitigate it in camera. One particularly good tip Goodlet makes that I think gets overlooked a lot is the importance of considering the final image you want to create (with regards to exposure), particularly when you are relying on the camera's built-in metering. As he shows, you often want to create an image that is actually relatively dark overall (his silhouette photo, for example), and if you do not anticipate your camera's metering behavior and dial in some degree of exposure compensation to account for this, you will end up with an overexposed shot or at least be forced to use a much higher ISO than necessary. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Goodlet.

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Zelph Young's picture

"This fantastically comprehensive video"?
Nope. How about some objectivity rather than cheerleading superlative fluff?

Richard Tack's picture

There is no objectivity or cheerleading when discussing facts. It is in fact very comprehensive.

Billy Paul's picture

Noise is most noticeable where the signal is small - i.e. dark areas of your image.
Pure red or blue areas show more noise because the signal only comes from 1/4 of the sensor bayer pattern.

The more light falling on the sensor the better the signal to noise ratio will be.

More light falls on the sensor when you expose to the right or average multiple exposures or merge exposure brackets. The bigger the sensor the more light can fall on it.

Down sampling an image averages noise and so improves the signal to noise ratio. Cropping has nothing to do with it.

When you simply can't get as much light as you would like on the sensor increasing ISO reduces quantization noise and probably a bit of internal signal processing noise.

Long exposures show dark or sensor leakage noise and all you can do is try to subtract a dark frame in camera or post (or cool the sensor:)).

I think that covers everything in the video and more and took a lot less than 25 minutes.

Alexander Ramos's picture

Excellent video. Will take a bit to integrate some of this info into my shooting style. Very helpful as I am into shooting primarily with micro four thirds gear.

(Then again I love some noise for certain shots... especially when I'm shooting street late at night with the Olympus body cap lenses :) gives me the old school high ISO film look with little effort.)

Thomas Escritor's picture

Great educational video. Helps me rethink my own style of shooting. It is actually a very good reminder of some basic photography rules concerning light and its important influence on image quality.