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How to Fix Grainy Photos in Photoshop

Noise in photos is caused by factors such as low-light or long exposures. In some cases, a cheap camera can also cause this, however, noise remains an annoyance even in high-end cameras. Fortunately, we can easily learn how to fix grainy photos in Photoshop. 

Understanding Grainy Photos

Before digital cameras, when anyone talked about grain in photos, they meant it literally. It is because it was caused by the amount of silver present in the photographic films. However, to learn how to fix grainy photos in Photoshop, we must understand how it is caused in digital cameras. The main cause of this effect is how the sensor amplifies the light signals it is capturing through the lens. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that contribute to grain in the images. 

As we said, grain is affected by how the sensor is amplifying the light signal. So, if you are shooting in a low-light condition, you make those signals stronger. In other words, you increase the ISO values and when you do that, grain is produced in the image. Just so you know, grain is also referred to as digital noise nowadays.

How to Fix Grainy Photos in Photoshop

Now, let us come to the main highlight of the article. Adobe Photoshop is an extremely powerful tool and it also lets you remove grain from photos in a very easy and efficient manner. We use the reduce noise filter in Photoshop for this. 

The first step is to open the grainy image in Photoshop and make a copy of it. Perform the editing on the copy so that you always have the original if you ever need it. Then, head into the Filter Menu and then into the Noise submenu. There, you need to select Photoshop Reduce Noise

When you select Reduce Noise, a pop-up window will open. This window will have several sliders in it which will be Strength, Preserve Details, Reduce Color Noise, and Sharpen Details.

The second step is to adjust these sliders. However, remember that you do not need to adjust Preserve Details slider, leave it as it is and only focus on the other three. Another important point to realize here is that there are no specific values for these sliders. The adjustment will depend on the amount of grain in your images. Keep changing them until you remove grain from the photo and get a good quality image. 

That’s all with the main part of the process, see how simple it was. Moreover, if you want to Preview how the image will look once you save it, simply click on the Remove JPEG Artifact box under the sliders. Once the results look satisfying, just click on OK to save the changes.

Fixing noise in Photoshop - How to fix grainy photos

Remove Grain from Photos using Smudge and Blur Tools

For most images, you would not need these tools. However, if in some cases, the Reduce Noise filter isn’t doing the job, it’s time to move onto these tools. You should only use these tools if there is still some grain in the photos or you want to make the images even sharper. 

The first step is to head into the Photoshop Toolbox and select Smudge Tool. You should know that, unlike Reduce Noise filter, this is an area-specific tool. Therefore, you have to zoom in on a portion where you think there is grain or is not sharp enough. After zooming in, just click and hold the mouse and move it over the area that you want to select. Doing this will not only remove grain from photos but also improve the sharpness of that area. 

Again, in the majority of the cases, you will see great results by using the above-mentioned tools. However, there is another tool that you should know how to use when learning how to fix grainy photos in Photoshop. 

For this purpose, we are going to use the Blur Tool. To use this tool, first head into the Filter menu and then into the Blur submenu. There you need to select Smart Blur. Just like the Reduce Noise method, a pop-up window containing some sliders will open after you select Smart Blur. And just like before, adjust the sliders until the outcome looks good.

After adjustment, click OK to save the changes.

Conclusion - How to Fix Grainy Photos in Photoshop

Now, you know how to fix grainy photos in Photoshop. However, if you want to reduce the noise even in the shooting process, try to set your camera to a low ISO. This will only be helpful if you are working with plenty of light. Most modern cameras have an in-built Noise Reduction feature that can also be helpful. However, sometimes a grainy look can enhance the look of your image, just be creatively open for different styles.

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