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grainy shots - how to fix?

Joe Ferris , Feb 11, 2008; 07:20 p.m.

hi

i am new to shooting people and events. i shot a friends wedding and it was in the eve in an old house. it was so dark at a low iso there was blur and at a high there was grain. with grainy shots is the a way in post to clean this up? in photoshop? and how can i avoid this problem in the future?

thanks!

Responses


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Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Feb 11, 2008; 07:28 p.m.

Response to grainy shots

Get noise reducing software, such as Neat Image. There are others. In the future, use flash wisely unless you are barred from doing so during the ceremony, and don't underexpose, which tends to bring up noise. You ARE talking about noise (digital) and not grain (film)?

Joe Ferris , Feb 11, 2008; 07:39 p.m.

Response to grainy shots

yes noise sorry, old term. i used a digital. i used a flash, i am wondering if wedding photogs set up more than one remotely...

Jon Curtis , Feb 11, 2008; 07:44 p.m.

Response to grainy shots

Just go black and white. Now its artistic and acceptable! LOL

Option B, Noise Ninja or other software. PS is terrible at noise reduction.

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Feb 11, 2008; 07:49 p.m.

Response to grainy shots

I sometimes use off camera flashes in addition to the on-camera, but that does not have anything to do with noise, unless you are talking about noise in the shadowed areas, and there are more shadowed areas if you don't light up the image with flash. Even if you used flash, if you underexposed, noise is emphasized. Some photographers say that it is better to slightly overexpose shooting RAW, and bring the highlights back in post processing.

Joe Ferris , Feb 11, 2008; 08:02 p.m.

Response to grainy shots

great thanks! they arent that bad, i just seemed to be in a bit of a pickle when i couldnt get enuff lite.

i just downloaded a demo of neat image. thanks!

George Joell , Feb 11, 2008; 08:09 p.m.

Response to grainy shots

Nadine, I use Noise Ninja but have not experienced with Neat Image. Is there a difference or are they much of the same?

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Feb 11, 2008; 08:19 p.m.

Response to grainy shots

George--I have Neat Image, but have not used Noise Ninja, so I can't say. I am sure the top software packages are good, though. I like Neat Image but I haven't used it much, because I try to take my own advice re acquiring noise to begin with. Mostly I've used it on shots where, for whatever reason, I was using high ISO and had to pull the exposure up (I hate doing it, but it does happen). So far, all of the auto settings suggested by the software seemed to work very well.

Bill Clark - Minnetonka Minnesota , Feb 11, 2008; 09:19 p.m.

Response to grainy shots

Correct exposure produces good images.

Underexposure is where there can be problems.

I use 1600 ISO a fair amount with good results.

Just a thought to help you with your images, change them to B&W.

Pete S. , Feb 11, 2008; 10:06 p.m.

Response to grainy shots

For the future, blur could be camera shake or motion blur. With camera shake you need to support the camera better, either is/vr lenses, monopod, tripod or lean on something, relax while shooting, don't jank the trigger. Focal length is magnification so a longer lens needs more support and/or a faster shutter speed.

Motion blur is when the subjects move, so try to shoot when they are not or for instance in the middle of a step (if walking). If walking the direction also matters. Flash can be used to freeze motion but it's also depending on the flash versus ambient light ratio.

Noise is a function of sensor design and the amount of photons hitting the sensor. When you underexpose it means less photons hitting the sensor = more noise. Low light levels also means less photons = more noise. That's also why noise is more visible in the darker parts of the image. Usually you are better off selecting a higher ISO and properly expose than having a lower iso and underexpose. If you are shooting at higher iso than neccessary (se above) you will also have more noise. Light temperatur can also increase noise, like tungsten, because some colors that the image are made of are amplified to make white look like white (white balance). This amplification also amplifies the noise.

As previos posters said, there is software to reduce noise. Usually when removing noise you will also loose details in the image so it's a balance. Sharpening the image is also bad because the noise is sharpened also. Best results is usually when shooting raw and careful postprocessing of the images. One major noise reduction software I didn't see mentioned above is Noiseware.

As mentioned black and white also works better for noise because one type of noise easily visible is chroma noise (different colors) and when you convert to black and white you can't see any different colors anymore. Psychologically we are also used to seing grain in black and white photos which I'm sure matters too.

Peter


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