Commack High School Spring Concert III
Commack's ICA groups performed at this concert and it was one I would have paid to see; they were that good. For this post I thought I'd discuss strategies for noise reduction. The high-ISO kind, not the noisy audience kind. Our high school's stage lighting is not bad as far as high schools go but sometimes some of the groups perform in front of the stage simply because of the logistics involved in moving entire ensembles and their instruments on and off the stage between sets. The problem is the light in front of the stage is not as bright as the light on the stage so you have to bump up your ISO to compensate. You can also lower your shutter speed but you can only go so far before motion blur becomes excessive. In any camera, increasing your ISO past a certain point leads to excessive noise. The point at which the noise becomes excessive varies by camera and also your tolerance for noise in the photo, but at some point you'll want to resort to some amount of noise reduction.
Programs such as Lightroom have noise reduction tools that allow you to reduce noise but it's always a balancing act between eliminating noise and not trashing the detail. Noise reduction will always reduce detail so you have to try to achieve a happy medium between reduced noise and acceptable detail. But what happens when you need to add more noise reduction but can't afford to lose more detail? The answer is local noise reduction.
Chances are you don't need to reduce noise in the entire photo. Many times what you really want to do is reduce the noise on your subject's skin, which is usually the first place your viewer will look. The way to do this, in Lightroom, is to use your adjustment brush set to "Noise" and brush in the noise reduction on the skin being careful to avoid areas of contrast such as eyes, lips, nose, etc. You want to brush it in the areas without detail and as long as you avoid areas with detail you can use a fairly high setting (I'm up around 60). If you'd like you can also brush it in the areas of shadows without details, where noise is usually excessive.
This is a simple way to further reduce noise and still retain details and sharpness in your photos. Have fun.