You have got to learn how to fix grainy photos, if you have done any kind of photo shooting sessions in poor lighting conditions, accidentally mistuned your camera settings to be too sensitive, or have taken long exposures that haven’t quite worked out. Grainy photos will lack vibrancy, will have muted colors, and will clearly look pixelated as the visual distortion is manifested as pixels, flecks, or dotted specks on the photograph.
While the term grain and noise are used interchangeably to describe the pixelated look, these are two different terms. Grain appears in the highlights of the photograph, while digital noise (which is like sound distortion) will impact the luminance, brightness, and color of your photos. However, both attribute to an uneven, unappealing look. Let’s take a look at how to fix grainy photos and why grain & noise appear in photographs in the first place.
Why Does Grain & Noise Appear in Photographs?
While small visual distortion may look evenly scattered across the photo and may even go unseen in some photographs, it still seriously impacts the quality of the image. If you were ever to try to size the photo up, print it for a photograph frame, or try and retouch it, you would end up with a photograph that has poor color balance and low-quality visual detail. Here are a few reasons why your photographs come out grainy.
- A small photosite on your camera. The smaller the sensor is, the noisier your photograph is going to be. The larger your sensor is, the more light it can take in, and the more data it can record. Therefore, a lot of smartphones come out with grainy photos since the sensor is bad quality or way too small.
- You are using high ISO settings. If you increase your camera’s sensor settings, it’s going to produce more noise automatically. If you want to maintain proper exposure on your images, keep your ISO setting at its lowest. In case you are capturing in low light conditions and your ISO settings are higher, overexpose during shooting.
- If you have bad exposure, you are going to get a lot of unwanted noise. Always adjust your exposure settings when you lack natural light.
Top 3 Ways to Fix Grainy Photos Easily
If you still have grainy photos after addressing the above points, you can always fix grainy photos in post-production by using editing software like PhotoWorks, Photoshop, or Lightroom.
Get Rid of Digital Noise in PhotoWorks
If you are not an expert with photo retouching software or are entirely new to how grain works within photographs, it is best to use editing software that is intuitive and requires little prior knowledge. For novice photographers, PhotoWorks allows you to jump right into its content-aware modules and make the corrections seamlessly.
- Step 1. Download and launch PhotoWorks from the official website. You will want to download this to the hard drive with the most space. During the install process, create a desktop shortcut for easy access.
- Step 2. Open the PhotoWorks program and switch to the Tools tab at the top of the window. Then choose the Noise Reduction tool from the side panel on the right.
- Step 3. The software will automatically zoom in a section of your photograph. Simply relocate the Amount slider to the right to smooth out the noise. Make sure to hit Apply when you are happy with the result. If the image looks too blurry, adjust its Clarity, a setting under the Enhancement tab.
This helps to fix grainy photos that you want to look spectacular.
Use Sliders in Photoshop to Decrease Noise
If you have invested a lot of your time and are skillful at using the tools within Photoshop, then the process to fix grainy photos will be a breeze.
- Step 1. Open your image in Photoshop and click on the magnifying lens icon in the top left-hand corner of the software. The magnifying lens will have a “plus” sign on it. This allows you to find the grainy areas of the photo more easily.
- Step 2. Once you have identified where the grainy areas are, click on the filter button, which is found in the toolbar at the top of the program. Select noise and then reduce noise to get a window to pop up. Adjust the settings by either using the sliders or changing the numbers.
- Step 3. If your image is still grainy after the above step, head back to the filter button but click on Blur this time and choose Smart Blur. This will smooth out any bumpy surfaces on the image.
This way you can fix grainy photos using Photoshop.
Adjust Colors to Remove Noise in Lightroom.
If you are a proud owner of Lightroom and would instead use this software than Photoshop, you can either import in RAW images to have it automatically apply noise reduction, or you can follow the steps below.
- Step 1. Open your grainy photo in Lightroom and click on the Develop button in the top right-hand corner.
- Step 2. On the right-hand side, you will notice the Histogram of your photo and a panel with Noise Reduction written on it. Move the Luminance slider or Color slider to the right to remove noise. You may also desire to adjust the Contrast and Detail sliders as well.
- Step 3. Once done, click on the before/after button and compare it to make sure you like the changes made.
By far, we found Lightroom to be the easiest of all to fix grainy photos.
See Also: Top 10 Tools to Unblur Photos Online
Wrapping It All Up
While there are plenty of ways to adjust grainy photos so that they no longer appear pixelated, these ways greatly range in difficulty. If you are new to grainy photos in general or do not have the time to sit down and learn the complicated tools of Photoshop, PhotoWorks tends to work best from this list. Not only does it have an automatic photo editing and content-aware modules, but once you’re done removing the grain, you can also change the background around, color correct, or even change the photo’s flair with filters and effects.