Now that I shoot in RAW, my photos have gotten so much cleaner because of this handy little step I can take! I reduce noise in Adobe Camera RAW (i.e. eliminate the grain).
I always wondered how photographers pulled off such clear, crisp images without a spec of grain, ever! Well, there is a reason they like to shoot in RAW. And that reason is what finally swayed me making it worth the memory space it consumes!
Since RAW images preserve every detail of the image, you can fix exposure issues and reduce the noise!
How to reduce noise in Adobe Camera RAW:
This is the image I am going to walk you through. I thought this was a very good image to have straight out of the camera. It was dark naturally and not much grain. But as I edited, it only looked worse… The image below is edited, but I didn’t do anything to quiet the noise.
As you can see, particularly across my skin, the image now contains a lot of grain! If it were a JPEG image, I would have had to go through these steps to quiet the noise, however, since I shot in RAW, I was able to do something even better! This is how you can reduce noise in Adobe Camera RAW for a RAW image file!
1. Open the RAW image in Adobe Camera RAW.
If you are opening a RAW image file in Photoshop, it opens up in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) first.
Tip: I used to use the Photos App on my Macbook computer. This automatically opened up my photos in jpeg format in Photoshop skipping ACR. To get around this, you can either export the unmodified originals so you have access to the RAW file, or you can use Adobe Bridge to open your photos! Adobe Bridge is free to download.
2. Zoom into the photo at 100%.
This way you can see the detail at which you are correcting the grain/noise. (I circled the zoom tab on the bottom left of the image below.)
3. Click over to the two triangles.
(I circled the tab on the right of the image above.)
4. Go down to the luminance setting.
Drag the luminance triangle to the right until the grain disappears. (I circled the tab on the right of the image above.) Once you begin dragging over the luminance, you will notice the luminance detail option becomes available. Adjust until you have the desired look.
5. Zoom back out to check your look and then click “open image” on the bottom right to finish editing in Photoshop!
This time, when I finished editing (adding saturation, lightening the shadows, adjusting the color balance), you can see how clear my skin is and clean of grain!
And that’s how you reduce noise in Adobe Camera RAW!
Now that I shoot in RAW, I literally apply this step to every photo. But it’s particularly useful in poorly lit photos, such as nighttime photos, indoor photos and backlit photos.
RELATED: Indoor Photography Tips
Is your image a JPEG image? Use these instructions to reduce noise in Photoshop for a JPEG image!