Yesterday I did some long exposure shots, and it turned out to go quite well (in my opinion), just one issue is that the image is very noisy like I've never seen before. The noise looks like stars, in the sky it looks okay, however stars on the ground is ugly.

Shot in 1600 ISO (max on my camera). Image size is decreased to fit into Stackexchange, hopefully they are still visible

Any tips for fixing this?

Noise image

  • What exposure time did you use?
    – Michael C
    Apr 5, 2021 at 8:25

2 Answers 2


Point lights are "hot pixels." Many image editing programs include a tool to remove them at the click of a button. There are some related questions questions and answers here.

Long exposures are also subject to dark noise. There are some related questions and answers here.


Some cameras have a 'long exposure noise reduction' setting which should eliminate hot pixels and reduce digital noise. Two exposures are taken in immediate succession, the first with the shutter open with your image in view, the second with the shutter closed. The latter will consist only of black, hot pixels and noise. This second exposure is 'subtracted', so-to-speak, from the actual image removing some of the excess noise and hot pixels.

As you will have probably already figured out, this setting means that it will take twice as long to take the photo: X seconds for the first exposure with the shutter open and X seconds for the subsequent exposure with the shutter closed. Whether waiting double the time is something you want to do will obviously be a function of the results so if you have the setting, try it out.

Opinions vary as to the effectiveness. Personally I always use it and don't mind the extra wait time (although I went through a phase of taking ~15-30 min exposures and that was a real pain!). Scroll to the bottom of my post here and you'll see an example: https://photo.stackexchange.com/a/114106/88874

This was a 10 minute exposure (i.e. 20 minutes with long exposure noise reduction activated) at 2am and there is no noise in the dark areas. FYI the red sky was light pollution from a nearby town that was invisible to the eye. I was stumbling about in a pitch black field.

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