Image Averaging - How to Increase Detail and Remove Noise from Images

Shooting with low light means that you need to use high ISO, resulting in a lot of noise. I found two articles that improve the quality of photos taken at a high ISO level. The first method is to stack underexposed photos to create a proper exposure. The other method is to stack a few high-iso photos removing the noise and increasing the detail.
Single Image ISO 3200
9 images averaged at ISO 3200

The image averaging methods allows you to shoot at high iso. It will keep details and cut noise. Below are the steps for image averaging.

1. Set your camera at the highest iso to prevent blur on your pictures.

2. Shoot using burst mode and take at least 4 photos to have good image quality.

3. Open all your images in Photoshop and Stack all images. For those who aren't familiar with Photoshop. You can find the image stack command on (File-Scripts-Load File into stack). Check attempt to automatically align source images.

4. Adjust the fill of each image layer on your stack. The first layer or the most bottom layer will be 100% fill/opacity. The next layer will be 100/(what number of layers). The second layer would be 100/2 which is equal to 50% fill/opacity. The third will be 100/3 which is 33% and so on.

Cropped single image at ISO 3200
Cropped 9 images averaged at ISO 3200

After testing this method in a few subjects. I realized this technique had its limitations. This method can not be applied to low-light moving subjects. It's not going to be useful if you can't reach a shutter speed that can be shot by hand on a high iso. Shots at slow shutter speed will still be blurred.

This approach can be useful when taking pictures of inanimate objects under low light conditions. I'm going to use this to take food shots at the dim restaurants I'm taking for my food blog. You can also use this for low light city shots or indoor shots. Take note that you 're not going to be able to capture light streaks with this method.

These methods are not going to replace a good tripod. It's a solution in those cases where you need to shoot a subject in low light without a tripod.

No comments:

Post a Comment