All photographs have noise that affects the quality of the picture. Whether you’re a beginner, amateur, or professional, knowing how to reduce noise in your photos is essential.
Even if you minimize noise when taking a shot, you may need to use the best noise reduction software to enhance your image. There are several noise reduction software options available, depending on your needs and personal preferences.
How to Remove Noise from a Picture
For our purposes, we’ll discuss how to reduce noise using Lightroom because it’s a popular noise reduction software. Understanding how noise reduction works in Lightroom can help you determine which noise reduction software is best for you.
You need to open your photo in Lightroom. Noise reduction in the photograph is easy with Lightroom’s Detail Panel. There are six noise reduction tools in the panel to adjust to reduce photo noise.
The sharpening slider adds contrast to edges, which gives an illusion of detail where there isn’t any. When you use the sharpening tool, there are three additional sliders allowing you to customize the sharpness until you’re satisfied.
Use the radius slider to adjust the thickness of the edge where you applied contrast. Sliding down the scale creates thinner edges, and moving up the scale creates thicker edges.
The detail slider manages the degree of sharpening applied to details in your photograph. Higher values sharpen the tiniest details and may create more noise in your photo. A lower number sharpens the larger edges.
Employing the masking tool gives you control over the parts of the photo where you apply the sharpening effect. If you set the slider at the lowest point (zero), the effect applies to the entire photo. .
Luminance noise is created by variations in the light effect of your camera sensor. Lightroom has three luminance sliders to help you with luminance noise reduction.
- Luminance refers to the amount of noise reduction you apply to the image.
- Luminance detail determines how much detail you retain. Sliding to a higher number may remove some of the noise reduction work you already did.
- Luminance contrast allows you to replace some of the contrast you lost in the previous steps.
Color Noise Controls
The other type of noise in photography is color noise. It mostly occurs in solid dark or low light areas due to color variances in the pixels.
- The color slider determines the amount of noise reduction you use on a photograph.
- Color detail, much like luminance detail, allows you to recover details you lost during other noise reduction steps.
- Smoothness often occurs during the noise reduction process, but you can take it a step further. The color smoothness slider allows you to increase or decrease smoothness, but it may affect the details in your photo.
Best Noise Reduction Software Alternatives
Lightroom isn’t your only option when it comes to the best noise reduction in your photographs. Depending on your skill level and personal preferences, you may want to choose a different noise reduction software.
Adobe Camera Raw
If you shoot in raw format, some noise reduction software cannot accommodate your files, but Camera Raw can. You can only work with one image at a time, but aside from noise reduction, you can manage keywords and metadata.
Affinity is another noise reduction software reminiscent of Lightroom. This software may work best for photos requiring heavy noise reduction and high ISO photos.
If price isn’t an option for you or you’re already an Adobe Photoshop fan, Noiseware may be the choice for you. This noise reduction software works as an extension of Adobe Photoshop and manages to keep your image intact while reducing noise. There are loads of advanced controls, too.
Noise Reducer Pro
Noise Reducer Pro is one of the most popular choices for removing photo noise. It’s not free, but it’s user-friendly and has some noise reduction presets, so you don’t have to play around as much to remove noise.
If your budget can’t accommodate some of the pricier options, Reshade offers a free app that’s easy to use and effective. It’s perfect for beginners because it’s simplistic. While Reshade delivers acceptable noise reduction results, it’s not quite as efficient as some of the other options.
Beginners seeking user-friendly noise reduction software could do worse than NDNoise, a Java-based program. It’s not the best at noise reduction, but it has some cool features, and it’s free.
When you want software that’s easy to use but achieves high quality noise reduction, Noiseless is near the top of the list. Not only does it support multiple formats, including RAW and PNG, it allows you to use defaults or custom settings with ease. Of course, you pay a premium for the quality and convenience, and it only works with Macs.
Topaz Labs built a reputation for quality noise reduction software, and its Topaz DeNoise program doesn’t disappoint. Topaz DeNoise is a professional-grade software that works hard to preserve finer details while removing noise. Topaz Denoise integrates itself into Lightroom and Photoshop.
Nik Collection’s Dfine 2
One of the best noise reduction programs on the market is Dfine. The software includes some of the most advanced noise reduction features available. Dfine uses algorithms to map spatial frequencies and automatically identify image noise. If you don’t believe it, try the free trial.
DxO OpticsPro 11 Elite
OpticsPro preserves more details than some other software, including Lightroom. Using a tone-mapping feature, you can recover more details, even in low light. You can reduce the noise when you’re dealing with shadows and faces. It also handles RAW images and works with Mac or PC.
If you like Lightroom, there’s a good chance you’ll appreciate Luminar 3. The software functions much like Lightroom’s, but you can apply filters to selections instead of the entire image.
Short, sweet, and to the point, Retouch Pilot allows you to easily edit noise photo or document, it doesn’t matter. It’s efficient at polishing images, but Retouch Pilot doesn’t offer as many tools and features as Neat Image, which comes in at a similar price point.
One of the major selling points for this program is its ability to edit raw files. Helicon Filter handles the most common image formats and delivers exceptional results. You can also choose between a free or paid version, which means you can try out the basic features for free before purchasing the full version.
Like Noiseware, Photo Ninja is an Adobe Photoshop extension. When you need to reduce noise Ninja delivers professional-quality results. For photographers seeking to do more extensive edits, Photo Ninja also includes dozens of additional features.
Neat Image is an affordable noise reduction software that functions as a plug-in for Photoshop or as a solo app. It works best for images shot with high ISO settings, but it’s easy to use, even for beginners.
How Do I Choose the Right Noise Reduction Software for Me?
There are several aspects to consider when comparing noise reduction software. Answering a few quick questions can help you narrow down the choices and determine which is best for you.
What is Your Skill Level?
Some noise reduction software clearly states it’s meant for professional photographers; beginners may want to steer clear of those. Other programs note they are user-friendly or include beginner-friendly features (like presets).
What Type of Files Do You Use?
Not every noise reduction software handles raw files. If you shoot raw images, you want to choose a software that works with your files. Even if a specific software has all of the noise reduction tools you desire, it does you no good if it can’t handle the type of file you use.
How Much Can You Afford?
Hobbyists and photographers working on a budget may need to start with free software or at least free trials. It’s difficult to invest in a premium noise reduction software if you can’t (or won’t) use all of the features.
Which is the Top Noise Reducing Software?
It’s difficult to nail down the best noise reduction software because a lot of the decision comes down to personal preference. However, we managed to narrow down the list to three favorites.
Best Free Noise Reduction Software
Reshade is an excellent option for photographers seeking free noise reduction software. It does an adequate job editing images, and it’s easy enough for beginners to use. Get your feet wet, practice up, and make the leap to a paid program when you’re ready.
Best Premium Noise Reduction Software
DxO OpticsPro 11 Elite edition may offer some of the best noise reduction tools available, but it’s not cheap. It’s fast, effective, and delivers stunning images by preserving details, especially in shadows.
Best Noise Reduction Software for RAW Images
Lightroom is easy to use and a popular option for photographers of all skill levels. It is quick and accurate without compromising details of your image.