By Andrew Hudson Published: June 7, 2011 Updated: July 17, 2014

Noise is the bain of photography. You can see it on photos taken at a high ISO, indoors, with dark backgrounds, and in poor light. It is that pixel discoloration where little squares that should be (often) dark gray somehow appear like a multi-colored disco ball.

“Noise is one of the most common — and frustrating — rejections submitters encounter.”

Designers hate noise as it is distracting, so microstocks agencies routinely reject images with even the slightest appearance of noise. How can you reduce noise?

  • Use DSLR with large sensor
  • Lowest ISO as possible. ISO 400 or lower.
  • Avoid long exposure
  • Consider additional lighting
  • Get correct exposure, underexposure and post-processing will introduce noise
  • Shoot in RAW and use conversion programs

“Noise tends to become more problematic in an image as pixel sizes decrease on a sensor, so try to choose the best camera that you can afford with the best sensor available to minimize noise.”

Noise Reduction Software

Noise can be used in post-processing with software. However, use this carefully and sparingly as noise-reduction software can make images look soft, smudgy, and plastic looking, with no proper definition.

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