A Simple Trick to Kill Image Noise in Your Photos

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma dp and 50mm f1.4 product images first impressions (6 of 12)ISO 64001-40 sec at f - 4.0

We’re going to start this post off by saying that at this point in the year 2015 and this stage in digital photography, image noise isn’t a major problem unless you’re printing. But for most folks who shoot and upload to the web, image noise isn’t a major issue. It can easily be fixed in post-production with the push or a slider, you can get back incredible amounts of image details, preserve your colors, and you can also choose to shoot at a lower ISO and push the files because shadow detail recovery is that damned good.

If you’re a pixel peeper that lives and dies by looking at your images at 100%, you’re living in an archaic age that doesn’t really exist anymore. For Pete’s sake, folks are shooting ad campaigns with an iPhone.

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Useful Photography Tip #105: Shoot Portraits During the Day by Using the Shadows

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Shooting during the middle of the day can be tough sometimes. One option is to backlight your subject, but another option to give you better control over the exposure of your images and the evenness of light is to shoot in the shadows. Taking your subject into the shadows (such as the shadows provided by a building) allows them to have even light all over by cutting it down in the first place. In contrast, bringing them into the light provided by the sun on the other hand will create shadows under their nose, eyes, and chin–and depending on the situation that can look flattering or not; and it’s usually the latter. To be fair, during an overcast day, the clouds will fix this problems for you.

By keeping your ISO low, your shutter speed high, and your subject in the shadows you can also shoot with a wider aperture to therefore send the background into a bokehlicious haze. Considering the fact that you’re also shooting in the shadows, it is also usually a great idea to expose for the shadows or even spot meter. In general, you may want to be anywhere from 1/3rd to 1 full stop overexposed to compensate for the shadows’ darkness and to also even out the lighting on the subject. That’s how we shot the image above and were able to get the look above.

And always remember: not every single image needs to be an HDR.

Useful Photography Tip #63: How to Deal with Back Lighting

Mary and Tommy Sutor's Wedding Batch 2 (44 of 149)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 5.6

Back lighting is one of the toughest situations to expose for unless you really learn to study your camera’s metering. By definition, back lighting is when your primary light source is behind your subject. For example, in the above photo the sun is behind the little girl. If you went along with what your camera’s metering system says, it would render her and the other main details of the image as way too dark. And if you underexposed, then it would be extremely dark but you would get details in the sky.

So the answer is amazingly simple: overexpose by a stop. When you overexpose an image, you’re doing what we call, “Exposing for the shadows.” While your eyes can see the subject clearly, your camera can’t. Afraid of losing the sky detail? You can pull the highlights back in Adobe Lightroom quite easily.

When would this be useful? Let’s say you’re trying to shoot a cityscape with the sun behind it but your camera isn’t giving you the details in the city. Instead, it is turning the city into a silhouette. First off, take your camera off of auto mode and put it in either P, S, or A. Then crank up your exposure compensation by one stop. And voila you’ll have the photo. Shooting in manual? Expose your image to one stop brighter than what your camera is telling you is perfectly balanced.

Try it, and remember this for next time.

For more Useful Photography Tips, check out our entire list right here.