5 Quick Steps to better HDRs – Step 2

5 Quick Steps to Better HDRs – Step 2


  1. Straighten, Crop, Clean-up
  2. Decrease Noise
  3. Set a Black & White point
  4. Balance your Tone
  5. Sharpen Your Image

Decrease Noise

As photographers we battle noise in our images on a regular basis. Whether that noise comes from under-exposure or from using a high ISO, we find noise in many of our images. HDR compounds that problem in a couple ways, one by multiplying the noise in each single image as it combines to one and also in the tone-mapping process. As we map tones to a different value we may bring up noise along with making something dark a lighter value.

We can try some of the simple tools in Lightroom to take down noise. They have gotten much better over the years and editions. But really I have found to tame noise as good as it can be but yet not loose a lot of detail and sharpness to our images it is best handled by using a dedicated Noise Reduction Program/Plug-in. Some of the best ones are

  • Nik Dfine 2.0
  • Topaz Labs Denoise 5
  • Neat Image

You will see noise mostly in areas of little texture such as skies or smooth water. What I like to do sometimes to keep detail in highly detailed areas, I will use a layer mask to just keep the noise reduction on the areas it is most visible and off of textured areas where noise is not readily seen

Before Noise Reduction


After Noise reduction

After Noise Reduction

For further reading on Noise




Edit: Set a Black & White Point