How to Reduce Noise in Lightroom

how to reduce noise in lightroom

As a wedding photographer, it is important to know how to reduce noise in Lightroom for your images. Before the digital age, it was practically impossible to reduce noise and remove graininess from photos. Luckily, Adobe Lightroom makes it relatively easy to do both while still enhancing the quality of your images.

How to Reduce Noise in Lightroom

The biggest downside to learning how to reduce noise in Lightroom is that it could take quite some time to master this process. Reducing noise is one of the most difficult editing tasks, but is also valuable to understand.

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Image by TNK Photo

Here at ShootDotEdit, we provide wedding photo editor services for professional wedding photographers. We also know how important it is for you to have knowledge about Lightroom and its features, such as how to blur in Lightroom and how to reduce noise in Lightroom. This is why we put together this blog post to share more about reducing noise in Lightroom to create the images you desire. Keep reading to learn more about what reducing noise in your images means and how to do so.

What Does Reducing Noise Mean?

To understand how to reduce noise in Lightroom, you first need to learn the definition of digital noise. This type of flaw is a discoloration of an image. The image may appear pixelated if you zoom in very closely. Digital noise often appears in photos that have been shot in low light, which can happen quite often during a wedding shoot.

Back in the days of film photography, it was virtually impossible to reduce noise in a photo. If you have ever seen a grainy photo, you have seen what digital noise looks like. Thanks to the benefits of digital cameras, it is theoretically easy to reduce noise in photos. Though it is no longer impossible to reduce this grainy quality, the process can feel a bit labor intensive.

Types of Digital Noise

Before reducing the digital noise in your photos, you will need to determine which type of noise you are dealing with. There are two types of digital noise: color and luminance.

Color Noise

Color noise appears in a photo when the color is distorted. Instead of a color showing as solid, it shows as a variety of colors. For example, a purple may show as pixelated reds and blues. You may also see variations of purples pixelated in the photo.

Luminance Noise

Luminance noise shows up as grain on your photos. You will not see the color variations you would see with color noise. Luminance refers to the brightness of the photo instead of the colors.

Depending on your style, each of these types of digital noise can disrupt the overall consistency and style you provide within your images. It is important to understand what digital noise is and how it affects your photography, so you can ensure your images match what you promised your clients.

What Are the Downsides?

Noise can reduce the quality of a photo, so it is important to reduce as much of it as possible. Yet, there are some downsides to reducing noise that you will need to be aware of.

Reducing noise can result in the reduction of detail in a photo. It is not easy to strike a solid balance between a detailed photo and a noiseless one. You may find yourself compromising the quality of the photo while enhancing the detail, or lowering the complexity of the detail while enhancing the quality of the photo.

Tips on Reducing Noise in Lightroom

It can be helpful to utilize shortcuts while learning how to reduce noise in Lightroom. There are also a few things you can do to ensure your photos are prepped properly for noise reduction before importing them into Lightroom:

    • Shoot your photos in RAW to ensure you are working with the highest quality format.
    • Zoom to 100 on your photos before reducing noise for more control.
    • Start by fixing color noise before moving on to luminance noise.
    • Use the “Detail” slider to sharpen landscapes.


Jared Platt's Lightroom Tips

  • Keep an eye on your details while reducing noise so you do not go overboard.
  • Do not reduce the noise on every single element in your photo.

How to Reduce Noise: Step-by-Step

You can reduce noise in 2 steps. The first step is to reduce the color noise, and the second step is to reduce the luminance noise.

Reduce Color Noise

Step 1: Import or open your photo in Lightroom.

Step 2: Open the Detail panel.

Step 3: If you are working with RAW files, Lightroom has already applied a color reduction to your photo. Check your photo and move on to the next step.

Step 4: If you are not working with RAW files, adjust the color bar until you have reduced the noise without lowering the quality of the photo’s detail.

Step 5: Save your photo.

Reduce Luminance Noise

Step 1: Import or open your photo in Lightroom.

Step 2: Open the Detail panel.

Step 3: Slide the luminance bar to the right until you have removed most of the noise.

Step 4: Adjust the detail and contrast sliders to help enhance the detail on photos where the quality may have been compromised by the noise reduction.

Step 5: Save your photo.

Learning how to reduce noise in Lightroom can be a challenging concept, as you need a keen eye to determine just how much noise to reduce and how much noise you need to leave in the photo to maintain a good quality of detail. Plus, the more skills you have as a wedding photographer, the more you can offer your clients and the faster your workflow can be.

Staying on the topic of a fast workflow, find out how to maximize Lightroom and create a streamlined process for your photography business with our Online Training: Advanced Lightroom Skillsets with Jared Platt. Throughout the Online Training, Jared focuses on the Lightroom features you need to know and how to best use them to speed up your workflow. Click the banner below to access the Online Training and learn more from the industry’s Lightroom and workflow expert!

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