The Best Ways to Reduce Noise in your Real Estate Photos
The way our modern world works, devices that have a receiving apparatus work to deliver their goal. Radio frequencies are received by antennas to bring you music and listen to talk shows. Command centers receive satellite images from beyond the atmosphere through satellite reception towers. Cameras work in a similar fashion as they use the lens as a conduit to receive the image and store it within the device. The only problem with devices like these are their inability to perfectly filter the intended information going into the receptors. As such, there are excess and unwanted appendages that travel along this receiving tunnel, and these are called noises. For radios, they are the constant sound similar to paper being crumpled. For real estate photos, they are the imperfections and textures we see in an image. They appear to be all over the image and may or may not follow a pattern.
So, what happens now? Enter photographers. In the process of producing real estate photos, these guys are the alpha and omega. This means that photographers capture the image and churn them out in order to remove the noise and imperfections, thereby creating a work of art through real estate photo editing. The process begins and ends with them.
Defining Noise in Real Estate Photography
In real estate photos, noise is generally produced by two sources: color and light. If you notice cameras and real estate photo editing software having a lot of adjustment options, this is because there is a balance that needs to be found. Real estate photos do not get captured perfectly. In fact, none of the photos ever do. The photo shoot will always pose different working conditions which the photographer must learn to navigate and control on his end to be able to produce an image that is laudable to his client. Having said this, learning the concept prior to working the gears to remove noise is essential to learn the entire phenomenon.
Noise Caused by Light
The common nomenclature of this phenomenon in real estate photos is called Luminance Noise. It is described as the grainy texture seen on the photo which stems from the imbalance in light. Light particles are scattered by bouncing off every object in the image. Science states that the color we see is the result of light reflecting on it and transmitting the information to our eyes. However, our cameras are not built to be as robust as our ability to see, hence, the scattered light is captured unprocessed by the camera resulting into these unwanted grains all around.
Noise Caused by Color
While this kind of noise is rarer relative to the Luminance Noise, it is still a pain to deal with. Otherwise known as Chromatic Noise, this phenomenon occurs when there is the presence of higher temperatures especially on your camera. Long days on the shoot can contribute to such discoloration on the images and you might find these to be discolored pixels on certain areas of the real estate photo.
Reducing Noise on and off the Camera
Noise reduction can be done during the shoot, and during real estate photo editing. Attempting to already minimize the noise at the camera level helps the post-processing phase to carry a lighter load.
At the Point of Shooting
- Manage the exposure: avoid shooting at high ISO settings and complement with minimal shutter speed and larger aperture.
Raising ISO to higher levels will risk causing luminance noise. This is because ISO is the ability of your camera to capture light. It might be tempting to do it especially in low light situations but be aware that any adjustments in ISO must be augmented with adjustments from shutter speed and aperture. In the case where ISO is already set to a low threshold, shutter speed must be quick to make the image clearer and the aperture should be set to its largest opening. This combination reduces the grains in the photo but it will not eliminate it (as nothing can at 100%, at this point)
- Do not compress your image by choosing not to reformat them.
RAW file formats are the best ones you could maintain prior to real estate photo editing. Compressing the photos to a .jpg or .png format will render the image grainier as the process of compression will bring out these flaws. Therefore, keep your camera settings to capturing the RAW type format and you will see the impact to noise reduction.
During Real Estate Photo Editing
- Toggle the luminance and color adjustments.
In real estate photo editing, using software such as Photoshop and Lightroom will be your best bet at removing noise in real estate photos for good. The keyboard shortcuts of control and the number five should bring up the toggles you need. Under noise reduction, adjust the luminance, color, and detail. These three will be enough to remove grains and scattered color spots on the image. Simple? Well just do not overdo it. Going over the adjustment limit for a particular photo will render it too crisp making it painful to see.
- Sharpen the image, controlling itusing layers.
While the same panel that adjusts luminance, color, and details have a sharpen option, you can also do this task safer through layers. This implies a way for you to remove anything that does not sit well with the photo as an entire layer. Begin by setting the blending mode to luminosity, this will keep the color integrity of the image. Use the unsharp mask found in the menu Filter – Sharpen – Unsharp Mask to gain better control over your progress. Remember, perform step 1 which is toggling the luminance, color, and details prior to sharpening or else you will just end up making the noise a lot more visible.
Always keep in mind that noise will not go away in images. Real estate photo editing can remedy that however it is it not the sole job of the software to do so. Being the cautious photographer, you must be conscious of the choices you make when shooting real estate photos. This will help you have an easier task later on during post-processing. Lastly, understand why this phenomenon occurs as getting a good grasp is always the first step in solving the problem, especially in a profession where you must excel.