Presets – Noise Removal

I’ve been using Lightroom 2’s noise removal sliders more and more lately and getting some decent results. I won’t lie. Personally, I still go to Nik’s Dfine for my heavy lifting when it comes to noise removal but LR does do a good job when the noise isn’t quite that bad. One of the issues I’ve had is that tiny little preview in the Detail panel in LR. Normally, it should be easy enough to adjust the sliders without presets. But that detail panel is just too small and I usually wind up zooming to 100% view in the main window. I found that having a few presets to just click on became more useful to me so now, you have ‘em too. On a side note, I also noticed that the low/medium settings worked well for most photos. I also threw in just a bit of sharpening to each one so keep that in mind as well. Have a great day!

? Click here to see a sample of the preset.
? Click here to download Matt’s Noise Removal Presets
? Click here to see a video on how to install presets.

Author: Matt Kloskowski

Matt is the full-time Director of Education for Kelby Media Group and a Tampa-based photographer. He's the Editor-in-Chief of Lightroom Magazine, the lead instructor on the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom LIVE Seminar Tour and author of several best-selling Photoshop books. Matt also hosts the world's top Lightroom blog,, where he's built up a massive library of Lightroom videos, presets and tips. In addition to teaching Photoshop, Lightroom and photography seminars around the world, he's an instructor at Photoshop World and one of the full-time staff writers for Photoshop User Magazine.

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  1. This week I had a night shoot for a magazine and needed to shoot as high as 8000 ISO on a Nikon D3. You can imagine what the results are like before post prod. well alot better than my Canon 1Ds which its noise is like golf balls.
    I find Lightroom doesn’t deal with noise very well. Capture One is a little better. Canon’s PhotoPro and NX2 are excellent for noise reduction.

    Exporting original tif’s into photoshop then using a mixture of noise reduction and sharpening filter technics then as a last step after all your post, use Noise Ninja. The auto profile feature is pretty good. I often will fade the NNinja reduction by 50% to 70% using the edit—> fade feature immediately after NNinja.
    These steps also work well with HDR technics. (Ramelli nice HDR shots)

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  2. This is an interesting area to create presets for, because I feel the noise reduction sliders in LR2.1 hardly do anything at all, even with both at 100. I wonder if this is another bug in Lightroom (like post-crop vignette looking so poorly).

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  3. I always LIKE the noise. Noise is a friend, noise give a life to pictures. I always give this as example -one of the best films Ilford Pan 400 (white, magenta, pink letters):
    check NOISE – visible, nice and gives life….

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  4. Chiming in on this again – on the other hand, with a low ISO image (200 or 400) that is nice and sharp, a NR setting of 20 or 25 makes skin look really smooth and nice without reducing apparent detail (like in Matt’s example pics). I tried this last night and was pleased, so I guess I am switching to a “in certain circumstances this is cool” position. Gotta keep an open mind and not get stuck, right?

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  5. Hey Matt,
    I do a lot of HDR, and if I dont use the noise reduction in LR before exporting I get a lot of noise with photomatix, so yes LR noise reduction works well for me and it is the only one I use, you can see some exemples:

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  6. I’m with Captain Spin on this one. I use NR only to reduce the really big noise of shooting at 3200 (and sometimes 1600) because it takes some of the punch, or edge, from the image. In my opinion, Matt, you went waaay too far with your sample image. The NR’d version has lost quite a bit of detail?look at the eyebrows and lashes.

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  7. Thanks for the presets, Matt!

    Regarding sharpening/not sharpening… The anti-aliasing filter that covers the sensor in digital cameras is what causes soft images (excluding inferior lenses). It isn’t a matter of being “trendy” to sharpen an image. When you sharpen, you are restoring the sharpness that was basically removed by the AA filter in the camera. Remove the AA filter and your images will be sharper out of the camera, but there will be some aliasing as well.


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  8. @captain spin: i agree about noise reduction…and i usually even refrain of sharpening – in any stage of the process…actually, there is no such thing possible as making an image sharper after it has been recorded by the camera…the only thing that “sharpening” (in any app) actually does, is increasing the contrast between adjacent pixels…it’s all a matter of taste and trends, i guess.

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  9. mmm, as on ‘old’ TriX user I am a little cautious about using too much NR as it robs the image of its punch, or something. This is a hard one to justify but everything is just so smooooooth these days that I sort of back off a bit. What do you guys think?

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  10. Thanks so much for another great set of presets. I love the day in day out workflow related ones. I’m always looking for ways to speed up the everyday processes. I love the creative ones too, but seeing what you’re doing in this area really is helpful. Thanks!

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  11. I agree with you Matt about the teensy size of the Detail preview.
    I get around this by using my Macbook as a second screen (to my main screen, an Eizo CG241W) and leave it on 1:1 as I narrow my editing choice for the ‘Send to Client’ selects.That way I can use Survey mode with three to four up at a time and have a live and large preview to help weed out the ‘not quites’.

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  12. Matt, Yes, thanks for the tops. I find this LR features works nicely on RAW with my ultrazoom (Pany FZ8). But for jpeg processing it basically does nothing (even though my in-camera setting is fully minimized.) That is not really a surprise as jpegs are already “baked”. So, with the very noisy jpegs I get from this small-sensor camera I unfortunately have to export from LR2 to PSE5.0 where I use a Noiseware plug-in. Other than noise reducetion, I find LR2 works very nicely with JPEGS.

    Peter F.

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  13. I like having LR’s noise removal. It’s nice to add a mild noise reduction before export. Presets are great for it since you can just apply them to your edited images before export and not effect anything else.

    Then like you said, do the heavy lifting with a plugin. I like Noise Ninja and neat image the best myself.


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  14. is it a mistake that the three luminance presets are only different in their sharpening?
    luminance-noise-removal is always 35….

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