When To Add Noise To A Photograph

grainy black and white photo of boat

Noise can be described as unwanted random detail in an image, usually a reflection from the camera sensor, bright pixels from the infrared channel on your digital camera or a compression artifact. Noise is sometimes referred to as grain and typically appears as speckles or large blocks of color.

Why Would I Want to Add Noise to My Photograph?

You may want to add noise if you are photographing something intricate without any texture such as floral arrangements and the details are lost.

Adding noise will give your image a texture which brings out the finer details and expands the color range. Noise also softens images, giving them an overall smoother appearance.

You can create an abstract design by adding noise to an image and then removing it selectively from areas of the photograph to reveal a distinct pattern or focal point.

An alternative to adding noise to your image is using an application, such as Topaz Impression or Nik Color Efex Pro. Noise filters are included to add texture, graininess and random color details to photos.

Types Of Photography For Adding Noise To An Image

Texturing – Adding noise to an image is a great way to texturize details in the subject. For example, if you are photographing a brick wall, adding noise will allow you to enhance the detail of the structure and making it look more realistic.

Expanding Range – In an image with a lot of solid color, adding some noise can increase the range of colors and produce a more striking photograph. The noise can be controlled by using the global settings and then adjusting the amount of noise by adjusting the local settings.

Softening – Adding noise to an image can soften it, making it look more realistic. In order to soften an image, you will have to reduce the contrast too much. The point is that you want your final image to look natural and not stylized.

Adding Noise To An Image In Photoshop

The first step is to open your image in Photoshop. To add noise, go to Filter> Noise> Add Noise.

In the dialog box, you can adjust the amount of noise by changing the %. The higher the %, the more noise you will add. The color and distribution of noise can be changed using the next two drop-down menus.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, adding noise to photos is a great way to add texture and random color detail. In the end, you can have a much more visually appealing photograph.

Just be cautious and use noise judiciously. A little goes a long way.