Is there such thing as a photo that is too noisy? The only people who will complain about a photo being “too noisy” is another photographer, or if you submit your images to a photo competition, the competition’s judges. In the real world noise doesn’t matter and I have never had a client come back to me and return a print, refuse to buy one or have a whinge because the photos are too noisy. It just doesn’t happy.
Photographers are over critical and will rip a photo apart for no good reason, therefore you have to make sure you don’t beat yourself up over any negative comments and remember that photography is subjective, What one person likes another person will not. What one person considers perfect exposure another will say it is over or under exposed. What one person considers is the perfect composition another person will totally disagree. There is no right or wrong answer in photography and everything we create is down to personal preference and taste. Unless you are taking photos for a paying client (in which case you follow their remit and do exactly what they want) you should shoot for yourself (i.e. do what you want and do it the way you like) and not for anyone else.
One of the most popular subjects arising on the photography forums I actively follow and comment on is digital noise, and I have to say it drives me mad. When I look at the “rate my photo” parts I see loads of “it’s too noisy”, “you should use “noise Ninja”, “you should have used a lower ISO” etc. comments. What is the fascination about digital noise?
There are times when some noise or grain can enhance the photo, such as when shooting in black and white, and in these circumstances it is a good idea to bump the ISO for a raw and gritty image. Conversely, there are times when you want to minimise any potential noise/grain, and these are times when you want to use the lowest ISO you can get away with for the conditions and the type of shot you are aiming to get.
Photographers do make a meal out of noise and there are times when it really bothers me. I have come to appreciate that noise is not an issue, and as long as I am happy with it (or the client when I am on a commercial shoot) that’s all that matters. When I submit photos for critique, something I don’t do so much nowadays, although I do submit the odd one or two, if the only comments I get are concerning noise then I know I have done a good job and captured a good photo.
What are your thoughts about digital noise? Are you noise obsessed or are you not bothered about a little grain in your images? I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.