How to Use Photoshop’s Reduce Noise Filter

If you’ve ever taken photos in low light, you’ve probably noticed a fair amount of noise in your photos. Luckily, there are a lot of filters out there that can help reduce it, including Photoshop’s own “Reduce Noise” filter. In the video below, photographer Aaron Nace from walks us through the basics:

Noise can happen any time our camera settings or the outside environment substantially limits the amount of light that reaches our sensors. In these situations we generally bump up our ISO, but that ends up putting in a lot of static (noise), creating a grainy-looking photo. And while the best way to avoid noise is to keep our ISO levels below down, that’s not always possible in low light level situations.

In Photoshop the Reduce Noise filter is pretty straightforward, but it rarely takes out all the noise. Nace’s solution is to start there, but finish off with the Surface Blur filter. This can make some pretty radical detail reduction to your image, so use it only if absolutely needed.

Using Surface Blur to reduce noise

Of course, any time we’re reducing noise in our photos we’re reducing the amount of detail as well—it comes with the territory. The challenge is to find a happy medium. Or better yet, devise ways to keep your ISO down.

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