With varying degrees, all digital cameras produce electronic noise, extraneous pixels sprinkled throughout an image. Higher ISO, underexposure, long exposure, and oversharpening can increase this effect. Lightroom's Noise Reduction feature can easily reduce the effect of electronic noise, while maintaining image detail.
Lightroom's Noise Reduction controls are found under the Detail pane.
Noise isn't necessarily bad. It can give an image dimension and authenticity.
Examine Image First
Noise isn't always apparent when you examine an image at low magnification. Use Lightroom's magnifying tools to enlarge your image after applying tone and color controls (but before applying additional sharpening), and the noise will become apparent.
Pay particular attention to areas of continuous tone and shadow areas. Note the makeup of the noise. Does it look like a colored patchwork quilt? Or is the noise speckled and monochromatic?
Some images actually contain a combination of chromatic (color) and luminance (monochromatic) noise. Getting a handle on the type of noise will help determine which Lightroom control —Luminance or Color, or both—will be more effective.
Noise Reduction Procedure
To begin the process of noise reduction, follow these steps:
Making a Noise Reduction preset
Once you find an optimal setting for your camera, at a frequently used ISO, you can save specifically those settings and apply them to other similar images. To do this:
The preset will now show up in the Presets pane in one of your Users folders as well as in the Import dialog box, many contextual menus, and in the Library module's Quick Develop pane preset pop-up menu. If you are applying a preset from the filmstrip hold the Ctrl key (or right-click) and click on one of the selected thumbs. Be sure to click on the image area of the thumb, not the edges.
If you find Lightroom's Noise Reduction controls don't take you far enough, open Photoshop and use its more powerful, and feature-laden, Reduce Noise filter instead.
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