I'm seeing that Lightroom 3 has noise reduction capability, but I'm looking for a good tutorial or other in how to use it practically. Can anyone out there point me to a good tutorial, or provide one here, on how to reduce noise in an image using Lightroom's noise reduction tools? Thanks!
The usual recommendation is to start with removing the color noise.
- So you would move the color slider until you remove any visible color noise, and not cause any color shift to the photo.
- Once you are happy with that step you can move to the luminance slider and again adjust it to remove the luminance noise, - you need to remember that when the luminance noise is being removed the image becomes softer, so you need to find a balance between the noise and the image softness/sharpness
Many people use mostly the color noise removal as it removes the noise that is the most typical to digital photography. The noise that is left after that step can be somehow considered as an equivalent of film grain, and it is more acceptable for people used to shot analog
When comparing noise in images, make sure you're comparing your final output format. If you're exporting for the web, the reduction in resolution generally eliminates all noise. You'd have to shoot at ISO values beyond those that your camera auto-selects to see noise in screen-sized pictures. If you'll be making prints, make a few test prints. A picture that shows some noise when viewed at 100% on screen may very well look clean when printed on a large desktop printer.
I have the auto-ISO on my D7000 limited to 1600. I never change the noise settings in Lightroom. When viewed at 100%, pictures shot at ISO 1600 have obvious noise. When scaled to fit my full HD monitor or printed on A3 paper, those same ISO 1600 images show no noise.
If your final output does have too much noise, adjusting for color noise and then for luminance noise as kristof explained is the way to go.
In addition to Lightroom's luminance and color noise reduction tools, you can sometimes achieve additional color noise reduction by manually desaturating the color that is specific to the noise in your image. For example: Some image sensors produce a magenta grain under certain conditions. If color noise reduction isn't effective at targeting this grain, you can reduce it by desaturating magenta in your image using the "Saturation" slider under the HSL panel.