Noisy photos are a thing of the past. Or are they? With newer technology in photography and built in noise reduction, plus the software we use to process our photos we can do a lot to eliminate noise in our photos. Noise in our photos is generated by the electronics in the camera, and as devices like the image sensor heat up, and become more sensitive to light the more noise will be present in your photos. Which is an interesting parallel to film photography because we also had noise in our film photos, or film grain.
The source of that noise and film grain were inherent to the technology of the time because there were photosensitive particles on the film substrate that would expose and make the gradients of gray on a single layer for a black and white photo, or on each layer the gradients of Red, Green and Blue to form a color image. The grain you would see in your film photos would actually be the particles that formed the images, much like a pixel in a digital image today. And with film photography the larger the particle, the more sensitive the film which in turn meant a higher ISO. Even with technology changes the elements of our photos remain relatively the same. Something that is amazing to me on a deep nerdy level.
Sorry for the divergence with a short look back in time, but the benefit we have now versus with film photography is that we have software that helps reduce the noise that is produced by our cameras to help create cleaner images. And this is not to say that noise or film grain has no place in photography, but there are times that it can hinder the ability to tell our story with our images.
In comes AI, or Artificial Intelligence. The process of removing noise from our photos has always been a manual process of tweaking some sliders in Photoshop or other image editing applications. With the development of machine learning and AI algorithms these features can now be automated to help us eliminate unwanted noise from our photos. In the video I went over two examples of applications that use that, but there are many many more on the market and available. With more coming every day. To see the video and demonstration of how Photoshop and Topaz AI DeNoise work feel free to check out the video at the bottom of this post.
Now, I don’t pretend to understand how the software works at all, and I really find it quite intriguing on how well it works. I am a very techy person and enjoy that level of detail into the algorithms that make things work, so that might be a rabbit hole deep dive that I take at some point. But the point is that these are tools to help you improve your photos and final images without costing you time that would prevent you from making other images. I always caution against relying solely on the tool to do the job for you, but these tools are certainly worth while to help with tweaks that would have to be done manually with varying degrees of success. So, use it wisely and don’t use it as an excuse to not make a good image in the field.
Like I said, for a full demonstration of these tools, be sure to check out the video below. But also go out and look at the other software available. There are many. Of the two I reviewed I preferred the image that was cleaned up in Photoshop more than Topaz, but it took a lot longer to process than Topaz. So I suspect that might be how both pieces of software evaluate, remove and clean up the noise. If I find any other applications that remove noise that I like, I will be sure to follow this blog up with that.
Thank you very much for reading today, and following along on this journey. I really do hope that you are learning something about how I make photos, and can apply it to your own photography. Don’t forget to follow me in all the places, and I will see you all soon! Make sure to get out there and take some great photos.