Photography tips – noise vs. grain

When shooting slower speed film it produces grain, unlike shooting at a high ISO which produces noise.  A friend of mine is a photographer in Florida and she shoots black and white film, which looks very artistic with the grain.  Noise looks like this:

100% crop of a photo shot at ISO 1600, SS 1/160, f3.5


Besides baby boy’s beautiful blue eyes, the picture is pretty ugly with the noise.  This is what it looks like as a whole in a small size:

Noise 1

A way to help save a picture with lots of noise is to use a noiseware program.  The one I use is a community version (i.e. FREE) of Imagenomic Noiseware.  I have heard good things about Kodak Gem, as well.  Although this is a great tool to help save photos, don’t overuse it.  It can make skin look plasticy.  Here’s my little Ken barbie doll:

Noiseware overuse

You can change the setting to make custom settings, where you still reduce the noise but don’t make it too plasticy looking.

 Noiseware adjusted

It still looks a little plasticy, but better than the noisy origins. 

Take a look at this little program.  See what it can do to help save some of those noisy pictures you may have tossed to the side because they looked unsaveable.  It’s free…you can’t get better than FREE!

5 Replies to “Photography tips – noise vs. grain”

  1. noise is something I really struggle with. whether it’s the camera or me, I often get a lot of noise, which is frustrating. Noiseware helps, but like you said, it also makes it look kinda fake-y. But heck, your noisy example is smooth compared to some of what I get, LOL!

  2. noise and grain! these seem to be my friends whether I want them to be or not. My camera shows considerable grain at 200 ISO – is that normal? I have seen crisp beautiful pictures taken at screaming high ISO’s (1600 – 3200, my camera doesn’t even go that high) and no trace of grain. Is it because of noiseware programs? Could it be my camera? I’ve actually been meaning to email you and ask you what you know about this :). Great post – I’ll definately check into a program.

  3. i haven’t tried that noise reduction software yet. will have to chk it out. 🙂 thx for the tip.

    btw, r u going to be hosting best shot monday over here now or is that ending? i think i missed the memo. 😉

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