Month: November 2016

5 Steps to Achieve the Look of Black and White Film Using Lightroom

As a hobbyist, amateur, or professional photographer, you may be interested in achieving the look and feel of black and white film without the hassle and investment in equipment and gear. You can edit a digital image using Lightroom with this goal without having your hands smell like rotten eggs (developing chemicals). If you shoot black and white film often, as I do, then you might actually love that smell. If not, then you might want to read on.

Look feel black white film Lightroom01

The feel of black and white film – research first

The objective here is to provide you with a few basic steps to get you started on the path to edit your digital images to look like they were shot on black and white film, without the mess. If you are not familiar with the qualities of film images or have not examined them closely, it would be a good idea to do so. Try to pick up and look closely at some actual prints on photographic paper. You might find these in your grandmother’s attic or your local museum. Photography books or online searches will yield many reprinted or scanned examples as well.

First, consider the subject of style as it relates to film photography. Film photographs generally have a certain nostalgic or vintage look and quality to them that distinguish them from the clarity and realistic look of a well-composed digital image. Film tends to render subjects and scenes in a more abstract manner. Although you can make tack sharp and very realistic looking images using today’s film and gear, that’s not really the role of film photography.

Look feel black white film Lightroom02

If you want clean, shoot digital. Film should look old, slightly out of focus, and definitely grainy. All film has some or a lot of grain and it is basically the equivalent of digital noise. While you may prefer some of your images to look super sharp and smooth, you may also find it pleasing to add a little (or a lot) of grain from time to time.

Film adds an air of mystery

You might want to experiment with this more abstract style or look of film that comes with a distinctive aesthetic. One advantage of presenting this style of image is that the viewer is given the task of filling in the blanks, so to speak. Subjects in your image that are not entirely in focus or even blurry can be representative of anything or anyone. Your image can be more open to interpretation by the viewer as compared to an image that was sharply composed with a subject that is obvious. In other words, you might want to leave some room for mystery in your images. Film photography, or working towards the look and feel of film, can do that for your images.

Look feel black white film Lightroom03

Like digital, film is really just another medium in which we can express ourselves as artists and photographers. I love many things about both film and digital and each has a place in my professional and personal photography life.

5 steps to getting the look and feel of film using Lightroom

If you shoot digital and are looking to achieve the look and feel of film, below are five easy steps using Lightroom.

1. Set your ISO high

ISO should be set to somewhere between 1600 and 6400. Digital noise is the modern day equivalent of the grain in film. The grain or digital noise creates atmosphere and the look or aesthetic that you are trying to emulate.

2. Make an image of something interesting

Look feel black white film Lightroom04

Choose a subject. Framing and composition should be pleasing, and be careful to avoid too many distractions. Emotion is usually a good idea to include if there are people or animals in your photo. Any additional compositional techniques can be applied to the image. The subject could be in focus or blurry. This is completely up to you and your vision.

3. Convert the image to black and white

To convert your image to black and white, press V or use another method for black and white conversion in Lightroom. You can stay in color, but the look and feel of color film is more difficult to achieve and will require some additional steps.

4. Open the Develop module in Lightroom

Look feel black white film Lightroom11In the bottom panel of the Develop module called Effects, make the following adjustments:

  • Using the sliders, set the Post-Crop Vignetting to -10. Older camera lenses tended to impart some vignetting onto the image. This will give the image an authentic older film quality to it. Ansel Adams famously burned (darkened) the edges to all of his prints.
  • Set the Grain Amount slider to 50.
  • Adjust the Grain Size to 50.
  • Set the Grain Roughness to 25.

5. Review your image and make the finishing touches

Adjust the sliders to increase or decrease the three Grain options to achieve your vision for the given image. You can also dial in or out the vignette as well. All images are different and all digital image files will respond differently to these adjustments based on the sharpness and ISO settings.

Look feel black white film Lightroom05

You may want to consider the following questions to evaluate your adjustments at this point. Do these edits help the image? Does it assist in the presentation of the image as more abstract so that it might connect better with the viewer? Did the adjustments achieve the look at feel of film that you were gong for? You can decide on the answers to these questions and make editing decisions as you see fit or recruit a friend to provide a critique.

If you like your results and would like to explore this topic further, there are free online software programs such as Analog Efex Pro that are part of Google’s Nik Collection. Presets are also available that will aid you in this process and even help you to achieve the look and feel of color film. You might want to consider making your own presets and applying them en masse to a given photo shoot or batch of images as well.

Look feel black white film Lightroom06

Below are a few images representing multiple genres that I made with a digital camera then edited to achieve the look I was going for using the settings in the Effects panel above.

Look feel black white film Lightroom07

Look feel black white film Lightroom08

Look feel black white film Lightroom09

Look feel black white film Lightroom10

Do you enjoy shooting film or reproducing the look of it using digital methods? Do you have a favorite way to achieve it? Please share in the comments below.

The post 5 Steps to Achieve the Look of Black and White Film Using Lightroom by Jeremy H. Greenberg appeared first on Digital Photography School.

5 Steps to Achieve the Look of Black and White Film Using Lightroom 1 5 Steps to Achieve the Look of Black and White Film Using Lightroom 2 5 Steps to Achieve the Look of Black and White Film Using Lightroom 3 5 Steps to Achieve the Look of Black and White Film Using Lightroom 4

5 Steps to Achieve the Look of Black and White Film Using Lightroom 5

Categories: Digital

How to Give Your Landscape Photos Extra Punch in One Easy Step

Have you ever felt that your landscape photography is missing a little punch? You look at other photographers’ images and their colours have a very appealing amount of contrast. But no matter how much you play around with HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance), Contrast, Vibrance or Saturation, your colours just don’t get the same depth and contrast and end up looking fake and oversaturated.

The quality of the lens being used affects color greatly (more expensive lenses generally give a much better colour contrast than entry-level lenses). But there is a step that you can do when post-processing your recent landscape photos to give the colours an extra little bit of punch and contrast and more importantly, keep them from looking overcooked.


Color space

You may be aware of a term Colour space which essentially determines how devices represent colour. The two most common colour spaces are Adobe RGB and sRGB. Adobe sRGB is used on the web and for many smart devices. Adobe RGB is a little bigger than sRGB and can show more colors. However, these are not the only colour spaces around. Lightroom, for example, uses one of the largest (able to produce a larger amount of colours) called ProPhoto RGB.

But enough about colour spaces! I can already see your eyes glazing over, mine are already as I type this. But knowing that there are different colour spaces can be helpful. Knowing exactly how they work isn’t necessarily all that important.

Convert to Lab Color

The colour space that you’ll want to recognize is LAB Color. How does it work? Doesn’t really matter. But how can you use it give your images that extra punch? In this article, I’ll explain how a very simple step (and I mean simple!) that will help give your images that extra punch using the LAB colour space in Photoshop.

Okay, so first up you’re going to want to bring your image into Photoshop. Before you do this, you may need to develop the image a little in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom. Fix up any exposure issues, correct the white balance, etc.

This is the image that I’ll use as an example.


This image has had very little done to it prior to Photoshop. A simple crop, general contrast and exposure correction were all that was applied.

Now that your images is open in Photoshop, the very first thing you need to do is convert it from Adobe RGB or sRGB (depending on what you have set as the working colour space in Photoshop) to LAB Color.

To do this, go to: Image > Mode > Lab Color.

The tick next to RGB Color means that Adobe RGB is currently being used.

The tick next to RGB Color means that Adobe RGB is currently being used.

Now Photoshop is using LAB instead. You won’t notice a change at all at this step because nothing has changed on your end. All you have simply done is tell Photoshop which method to use to display colours.

Add a Curves Adjustment Layer

With your image in LAB Color, the next step is to create a Curves Adjustment Layer. Once this layer has been created, you should see something like this:


Generally, this doesn’t look any different to any other Curves Adjustment Layer except for one thing. Instead of having RGB in the drop down menu, you will see Lightness.

With this adjustment layer created, the next step is to click on the Lightness drop down menu. This brings up Lightness, A, B; which is what LAB is short for!


Adjust Channel A

Now, you need to select the A-channel. With the A-channel selected, bring in the shadows anchor point at the bottom-left corner toward the bottom-centre. You will notice the Input numbers increasing from -128. As a starting point, I like to bring this value to -100. Now, find the highlight anchor point (top-right) and bring that toward the top-centre by the same value; for -100 set it to 100.

Notice the anchor points have moved toward the centre equally?

Notice the anchor points have moved toward the centre equally?

You’ll notice strange things happening to your colours as you slide the anchor points along. Don’t panic – this is supposed to happen.

Adjust Channel B

Now do the same steps by the same values for both shadows and highlights for the B-channel.

Same steps have been done for Channel B

Same steps have been done for Channel B

NOTE: make sure your Output value remains at -128 for the shadows and 127 for the highlights. If these numbers are altered it means that the anchor point is being lifted from the bottom for shadows and dropped from the top for highlights. You just want to drag the sliders along horizontally (not move them up or down).

With both A and B channels having been done now, the colour and colour contrast of your image should look different from the original. This is how my original image looks after these steps.

This is after setting A/B shadows to -100 and highlights to 100.

This is after setting A/B shadows to -100 and highlights to 100.

Fine tuning

For me, that is looking a little overdone. But no problem! To change this, all you have to do is reduce the amount you moved the anchor points in both A and B channels. I generally find going by increments of 10 is most helpful.
If you feel your image needs more punch, then you will want to bring the anchor points closer to the centre. Just remember to keep each value across the shadow/highlight, A/B channels the same.

After increasing the numbers in my images, I felt that -110/110 in A/B worked the best (see below).


Convert back to RBG

Once you are happy with how your image looks, it’s time to change it back to RGB. To change your image from LAB to RGB, go to: Image > Mode > RGB color.


You’ll be alerted that changing modes will discard adjustment layers, but that is fine. Select OK and you’ll be brought back into RGB. You’ll notice that the Curves Adjustment layer is now gone and that your image is now the background layer. However, the effect on the colours should remain. Now you’re free to go about editing the photo as much as you like.

So that’s a very simple technique to add more colour punch in your images. Just remember these two points:

  • This is something that you should do at the beginning of editing your image in Photoshop and not the end as you will lose all your adjustment layers when changing modes.
  • Remember to alter the anchors points from A/B b by the same value to eliminate strange things happening to your colours.

The post How to Give Your Landscape Photos Extra Punch in One Easy Step by Daniel Smith appeared first on Digital Photography School.

How to Give Your Landscape Photos Extra Punch in One Easy Step 6 How to Give Your Landscape Photos Extra Punch in One Easy Step 7 How to Give Your Landscape Photos Extra Punch in One Easy Step 8 How to Give Your Landscape Photos Extra Punch in One Easy Step 9

How to Give Your Landscape Photos Extra Punch in One Easy Step 10

Categories: Digital

Some Tips to Help You Figure Which Camera is Best for You

As far as absolute requirements go, there aren’t many which are needed in order to make a photograph. There is, however, one certain necessity that cannot be dispensed with if you set yourself onto the maddening path of a photographer. You need a camera. Now, it doesn’t really matter which camera you have. A camera is after all just a box with an opening that allows light to pass onto some kind of receptor.

This simplistic technology is the facilitator of every photograph that has ever been made. A camera is indeed just a tool. That being said, there are virtually limitless cameras to choose from in this world. If there’s one question I receive more than any other it is this . . .

Which camera should I buy?

Cameras sony canon which camera is best for you

On its own that is an unanswerable question. You see, as it relates to cameras and photography, the camera you use is utterly dependent on you. This is not a guide for how to choose the right camera from a technical standpoint, nor is it a commentary on what gear is better than any other. This is an article to help you to understand yourself and to that end, the type of camera that will allow you to fulfill whatever needs you have right now, and maybe even beyond.

which camera is best for you - destination journey

There are so many cameras to choose from (remember we’ve said this) that it can quite literally become overwhelming to make a choice. There are point and shoot cameras, cropped sensor digital SLRs, mirrorless cameras, full-frame mirrorless, and so on.

Of those cameras, there are also countless models and variations which muddy the waters even more. Each one essentially performs the same function, which is to make a photograph. Still, each type of camera offers many variables that work for a wide variety of different situations and for different people. But you have to decide which camera fits YOU best.

The biggest hurdle to conquer when choosing a camera is to understand exactly what you want and need. That is not always as easy as it sounds. However, here are some tips to assist in making your decision.

Where do you shoot?

The location where you will be doing most of your shooting takes up a big chunk of the pie when it comes to deciding on a camera.

which camera is best for you - Sony a7r camera

Will you be outdoors most of the time or will you be inside in more of a studio-type setting? Do you need weather sealing? How about wireless flash capability? Having an idea of the environment in which you will most often find yourself will help you to better understand the features you may or may not need in a camera.

What will you shoot?

The “what” you will be shooting goes hand-in-hand with the “where.” While it’s not possible to completely predict every subject you will ever photograph it’s still very possible to know what kind of photography you enjoy.

which camera is best for you - Canon 7d camera

If you understand what you like to shoot, then you can move forward in a more educated and deliberate fashion when deciding what camera to buy. If you love street photography then a smaller, more compact system, may be better to carry around for hours on end. Need a lot of resolution for landscapes? Ask yourself what you will use the camera for the most and the choice will become much clearer.

Where are you now in your photographic journey?

It’s a good idea to be constantly self-aware of where you stand in your journey as a photographer. The benefits of constant self-evaluation helps you to grow your skills and refine your craft. It also allows you to know when and if you have surpassed the capabilities of your equipment and need to upgrade. When it comes to finding a camera that fits your current position within the photography world, you must look at the realities of your situation and proceed accordingly.

which camera is best for you

Are you just starting out and need a learning tool? Are you a hobbyist who only shoots occasionally, or have you pushed yourself everyday and now feel like you need a more advanced camera body to facilitate your growing ability? Take stock of yourself and be honest (even brutally) so that you can find the best camera to fit your needs.

Where do you want to take your photography?

Perhaps even more important than learning where you stand in terms of your photography is knowing where you want to take your work. It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway, that your camera is the link between you and whatever vision you want to express with your images.

which camera is best for you Canon 7d camera

This expression can be personal, commercial, or something in between. Realizing where you want to go and setting goals is paramount in your development as a photographer. Naturally, your choice of camera should reflect this.

I remember when I was starting out on my own journey making photos. I realized that this was something I wanted to pursue seriously. So I invested in a camera that not only fit my needs at the time, but would also grow with me as I moved towards making photography a career. I still have that camera (Canon 7D Mk1) and it still sees a fair amount of use today. It was quite an investment for a lowly college student at the time but it has paid for itself time and time again, not just from a monetary standpoint.


which camera is best for you - Journey photography

The internet is chock full of more reviews and tech write-ups than I can count. So I hope you didn’t come here looking for advice on the latest and greatest advancements in the camera industry. Instead, hopefully you got something much more meaningful from this article; the understanding of how important it is to truly know yourself and what you intend to do with your photography.

Are you a beginner? Are you a hobbyist set on taking your passion to the next level? Or are you still trying to decide if that shiny new dSLR is worth the money just to take pictures of your pet?

Whatever your current situation may be, before you buy a camera be sure you know why, how, and to what end you intend to use it. Take it from me, you can save yourself a lot of regret by simply understanding your own intentions on the front end before making the jump.

The post Some Tips to Help You Figure Which Camera is Best for You by Adam Welch appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Some Tips to Help You Figure Which Camera is Best for You 11 Some Tips to Help You Figure Which Camera is Best for You 12 Some Tips to Help You Figure Which Camera is Best for You 13 Some Tips to Help You Figure Which Camera is Best for You 14

Some Tips to Help You Figure Which Camera is Best for You 15

Categories: Digital

Top 6 Considerations to Help You Decide on Color or Black and White for Your Image

As soon as humans discovered that it was possible to capture black and white tones in a photographic image, a practical means of color photography was sought by those who dreamed of harnessing the full spectrum of visible light. Some of the very first photographic color experiments began in the mid-19th century with scientists trying to discover a material that could capture the color properties of the light that fell upon it.

In 1886, physicist and inventor Gabriel Lippmann created what was to be the first color photograph without the aid of any pigments or dyes. By 1906, Lippmann exhibited his process along with color images of a parrot, a bowl of oranges, a group of flags, and a stained glass window. His discovery earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics.


But Lippmann was onto something else in his experiments. Selecting subjects for his photographs that are not only inherently colorful but are also strongly associated with color within the human brain. Perhaps without realizing it, Lippmann was one of the first photographers to draw a line between color and black and white photography. Deliberately selecting subject matter that was exemplified by radiant colors to reproduce in a color medium.

Nowadays, digital photography grants photographers with both the blessing and the burden of being able to choose between color or black and white in post-production. It can often be a painstaking process deciding between the two. Although making a deliberate decision between a color or a black and white image is a skill that requires practice and trial-and-error, ultimately the choice is down to you, the individual.


However, there are a few points to consider if you find yourself stuck between the two. Here are the top six tips for deciding whether to go with color or black and white.

#1 Color Relationships

The first thing to consider when choosing between color or black and white is in fact, color itself! Ask yourself; what is it that draws you to the image? If you find that the relationship between distinct hues in your image are important, color is your best bet. Color doesn’t always translate to a black and white image successfully. An image with contrasting hues such as red and green often appears similar in tone in a black and white conversion, making for a less striking or muddy image.



#2 Mood

Just as artists have used color in paintings to denote mood for centuries, the colors in a photograph can also create the emotional atmosphere of an image. Color is a powerful messenger. It can impact a viewer’s emotions, draw associations between ideas, and guide the eye around an image.

While black and white images generally evoke a sense of sensuality or seriousness due to its association with documentary photography, color can emphasize a feeling of joy or sadness depending on the color scheme. Just as we associate warm colors like red and orange with comfort and warmth, so do we relate to the colors in a photograph, giving the viewer clues about the image and creating a more immersive experience.

The tone or color balance of a photograph can point to a time of day or season which conveys a particular emotion or experience within the image. Black and white photographs appear to be more timeless than color images because they are free from color schemes associated with particular types of film, processes, or trends in digital processing. Black and white photojournalism is often hard to date with a cursory glance, so the subject matter remains relevant to the present day.



See how the color version has a completely different mood?

#3 Attention

We see it all around us in marketing, architecture, and print. Color is used to grab a viewer’s eye and draw them in. But it is a fine balance and can often become complicated or convoluted if too much is happening with the picture. Look for a dominant color or color combination in your work. The most visual impact is often created by either isolating a particular color or having two colors from

The most visual impact is often created by either isolating a particular color or having two colors from well-separated areas of the color spectrum included in the one image. Colors such as red and green, or orange and purple (complementary colors) play off each other when they reach the human eye and create a sense of movement and action.

If your image has these combinations it might be better to stay with color and spend time emphasizing the colorful components of the image rather than converting it to black and white. A lack of color accentuates the light and shadows rather than eye-catching color combinations. Emphasis on particular colors can also be useful in forming a cohesive body of work, using color to contrast different imagery in a series, or uniting each piece with harmonious trends in color schemes.


#4 Viewing time

Many photographers prefer black and white images for their tendency to distance the subject matter from reality. In documentary photography, the reverse is also true as humans see the world in color, and a rendition of the world in monochrome gives us pause to investigate. In both cases, removing color from a picture helps the viewer to focus on what is happening in an image. Due to the lack of cues that we naturally look for in color imagery, the viewer tends to look at a photograph more closely to ‘read’ what is happening in the image. A slower viewing time means that there is more time for the image to communicate with the viewer, impart emotion to a greater extent and perhaps stay with the viewer even after they have stopped looking at the work physically.

Due to the lack of cues that we naturally look for in color imagery, the viewer tends to look at a photograph more closely to read what is happening in the image. A slower viewing means that there is more time for the image to communicate with the viewer, impart emotion to a greater extent, and perhaps stay with the viewer even after they have stopped looking at the work physically.


#5 Content

To put it simply, black and white images create an emphasis on light, form, or texture. If the content of the photograph is more important than the color of the subject, or you feel that the color in a photo serves only as a distraction from the message you want the image to convey – then black and white is probably a good choice.

The focus shifts from colors to tones in black and white. So subjects like smoke, shadows, subtle changes in light and dust become more obvious in a black and white image. Because of our associations with these subjects and their otherworldly appearance, a sense of drama can become more apparent in a black and white image than that of a color image.


#6 Simplicity

Often a color photograph looks too busy or convoluted if it has too many colors going on at once. Sometimes converting the image to black and white is a way of separating those tones out into an image that is easier on the eye. Images with a wide range of tonal values tend to work well for black and white imagery. As well, most black and white images work best when there is a definite range from the blackest black through to the whitest white, with varying gray tones in between.

A few words of advice…

Beware the quick fix! Inexperienced photographers can sometimes fall into the trap of converting a sub-par image to black and white in order to quote, “save it”. Photographs that are out of focus, blurry, or poorly exposed may or may not be saved with a black and white conversion. But they do look suspiciously obvious when they are presented within a series of images that is mainly in color.

The problem with relying on black and white as a crutch is that you aren’t investigating what you did wrong in the first place. While a black and white conversion may or may not save a photograph, relying on converting images will not help you develop your own technical practice.


Digital photography is amazing, in that we have the option of shooting in color and switching to black and white in post-production. With film, this was at least a pain in the neck and at most, impossible. If you are unsure about an image, play around with it in Photoshop! Tools in Photoshop like the premade settings for black and white conversion are designed to give you a good set of variations to experiment with. If an image looks busy and over saturated, but you don’t want a full black and white conversion, try desaturating the image with the Vibrance adjustment layer or the Curves tool which are located in the Adjustment Layers panel.


Experimenting with color and black and white is fun, but no matter what option you do go with, be certain that you know why you chose that particular color scheme and make sure it adds to the sum of the image rather than detracting from it!

The post Top 6 Considerations to Help You Decide on Color or Black and White for Your Image by Megan Kennedy appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Top 6 Considerations to Help You Decide on Color or Black and White for Your Image 16 Top 6 Considerations to Help You Decide on Color or Black and White for Your Image 17 Top 6 Considerations to Help You Decide on Color or Black and White for Your Image 18 Top 6 Considerations to Help You Decide on Color or Black and White for Your Image 19

Top 6 Considerations to Help You Decide on Color or Black and White for Your Image 20

Categories: Digital

Review: Neat Image 8 Noise Reduction Software

In the early days of digital cameras, noise was a much bigger problem than it is these days. DSLRs routinely top out at high ISO ratings that film shooters and early DSLR users could only dream of. In those early days (the early 2000s), when ISO 800 was typically the upper usable limit of high ISO, noise reduction software became a must-have for those of us who were post-processing our files and wanted them to look less like sandpaper and more like something we’d be willing to display. Neat Image was one of the first noise reduction applications I used at that time.

Neat Image 8 Review

While it did a nice job, at that time, all noise reduction software was problematic in that it tended to give images an overly smooth, almost plastic or painted look that did a lot of damage in the fine details of an image. Neat Image was no exception in this regard, so I used it sparingly. Over the years, I found myself gravitating to other noise reduction plugins and applications, such as Nik DFine, Topaz DeNoise, and more recently, Macphun’s Noiseless. When I saw that Neat Image had recently been updated to version 8, I was excited to give it a try and see how it stacked up against the others. While Neat Image 8 is available as a standalone app or a Photoshop and Lightroom plugin, I will be focusing on the plugin version, as that suits my workflow better.

Overview of Neat Image 8

Neat Image Profile Screen

Upon opening Neat Image 8, the Device Noise Profile screen is the first thing you see.

Neat Image 8 is a fairly simple software to use, although upon first opening the plugin it can appear a bit confusing. You will be presented with multiple views of the image you are working on; a full-color preview, and the R, G, and B components of the image. There are four buttons at the top left of the screen; Auto Profile, Load Profile, Auto Match, and Auto Fine Tune. In the center are two tabs, Device Noise Profile, which is the tab the plugin starts in, and Noise Filter Settings.

Analyze image

Once the plugin is open, you’ll see the four different versions of your image. The easiest way to get started is to simply click “Auto Profile” and let Neat Image analyze the image. Once complete, a box will highlight the area that Neat Image has selected to use for noise analysis. Neat Image looks for an area with minimal detail for best results. If you select your own area to analyze, make sure it’s an area that contains minimal detail.

Neat Image 8 Adjustment Sliders

These sliders allow you to tweak the noise reduction to your liking after Neat Image has applied the noise profile to the image.

Filter settings in Neat Image

Now that you’ve analyzed the noise levels in the image, you’ll want to click on the Noise Filter Settings Tab. The preview will switch to the full-color image in the center and the R, G, and B channels will disappear. At the bottom left is a zoom toggle to zoom in or out of the image as desired. You’ll also have the ability to change the preview to various other options, including the RGB preview, a Luminance and Chrominance preview, as well as individual channels. Neat Image will then apply the noise filter settings based on the analysis as done above.

You can tweak the settings using the sliders at the right side of the app window. You’ll have the ability to adjust quality, the noise reduction amount, recover detail, smooth edges, sharpen, and fine tune the filter itself. In addition to the sliders, Neat Image comes with some presets, such as Recover Fine Details, Apply Less Noise Reduction, Apply More Noise Reduction, Reduce Noise and Sharpen, and more. You can also create your own presets for future use. These settings put Neat Image among the most customizable noise reduction applications I’ve used.



For me, noise reduction has always been a love-hate relationship, always battling with a balance between preserving detail and reducing unsightly noise. One of my favorite things about Neat Image is the software’s auto profiling ability, customizing the noise reduction to each image as needed. While Nik Collection’s Dfine 2 also does its own image analysis, it doesn’t offer the customizability that Neat Image does. And Neither Topaz’s Denoise 5, nor Macphun’s Noiseless offer any kind of image profiling, with both requiring you to simply select a preset on your own and go from there.

Neat Image 8 does an excellent job of maintaining detail while reducing noise in an area with little or no fine detail, such as skies.



With all the customizability, of course, comes a bit of a learning curve in terms of use. Neat Image does offer tutorial videos on their website to help get you started, but for those of us who are less patient and just want to dive in, it can be frustrating. I had one or two false starts when I first downloaded Neat Image 8, before finally going to their video tutorial to give me a jumpstart.

Neat Image 8 side-by-side comparison.

Side by side comparison of an image shot at ISO 2500, before and after Neat Image 8.


Ultimately, the ability to auto profile an image, adjust settings to personal taste, and use presets for repeatability of noise reduction, makes Neat Image an excellent choice for photographers who battle noisy images for any reason, including shooting long exposures, low light photography, or high iso photography such as indoor sports, events, or weddings. Neat Image is available starting at $39.90 per license.





The post Review: Neat Image 8 Noise Reduction Software by Rick Berk appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Review: Neat Image 8 Noise Reduction Software 21 Review: Neat Image 8 Noise Reduction Software 22 Review: Neat Image 8 Noise Reduction Software 23 Review: Neat Image 8 Noise Reduction Software 24

Review: Neat Image 8 Noise Reduction Software 25

Categories: Digital

Subscribe to get this amazing Photo EBOOK FREE


By subscribing to this newsletter you agree to our Privacy Policy