Reduce Noise in the Camera for Better Wildlife & Nature Photos Without Editing (VIDEO)

Photographers tend to be very serious about eliminating (or at least reducing) noise in their photographs. These ugly digital artifacts tend to show up as distracting specs of grain, or random variations in color and brightness in areas of an image than should appear clean. 

Noise is typically most apparent when shooting at high ISO settings under low-light conditions, and the common remedy involves image processing—either with noise-reduction techniques in Lightroom or Photoshop, or through the use of dedicated noise-reduction software. Today we’re going to show you a different approach.

The topic of today’s episode from British pro Paul Miguel is reducing noise in the camera, without any image editing at all. If this sounds too good to be true, check out Miguel’s six easy tips before making up your mind.

Miguel specializes in wildlife photography, with an emphasis on birds, and the beautiful images he uses to illustrate his advice reflect this passion. You’ll quickly realize, however, that his straightforward methods will be equally beneficial for all sorts of outdoor photography.

It should almost go without saying that your best bet for avoiding noise is to shoot at lower ISO settings. That’s easier said than done for wildlife photographers who often have to crank up the ISO to obtain sufficiently fast shutter speeds for capturing fast-moving subjects.

One effective way to keep noise under control, regardless of ISO, is to avoid underexposing your images. Miguel clearly explains how this works without delving too deep into the subject of “signal-to-noise ratio.” You’ll also learn what is meant by “exposing to the right,” and why you’ll obtain cleaner results by shooting in Raw.

Miguel discusses the value of brightening shadows, why dark backgrounds can be particularly problematic, and the importance of paying attention to the textures in a scene.

You can find more helpful tips on Miguel’s YouTube channel and in another outdoor photography tutorial we shared recently, explaining how to obtain maximum sharpness in every image you shoot.