Why ISO Matters And How Noise Reduction Can Improve The Quality of Your Images

If you’ve ever picked up a DSLR or dabbled in a photographic editing program, then you’ve probably come across ISO. Ranging from 100 to well over 6400, ISO is essentially the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor to light. The acronym stands for ‘international standards organisation’ which may seem unrelated to photography, but is in fact the governing body that regulates your camera’s sensor and ensures different manufacturers adhere to specific standards.

Let’s simplify ISO. If you’re a hobbyist, holiday happy-snapper, or an amateur photographer you’ve seen the effects different lighting can have on your photographs. Images shot in full sunlight look great, as do those shot in the hours of dawn and dusk despite the fact that they may be slightly affected by ISO.

However, when you try to shoot at night you’ll notice that your images are incredibly ‘noisy.’ I don’t mean loud; I mean that your image is covered with thousands of tiny dots, which can range from orange to grey in colour. In order for your camera to better ‘see’ in darkness, it automatically pushes its ISO up, which is what you’re seeing on your images. When you’re shooting in sunlight, your camera does not need to work harder to find light particles, capture them, and transfer them into colours. In the darkness- as with human eyes- it is harder to see.

ISO is both a good and a bad thing; while it helps to capture images that you would otherwise struggle with, it also depletes the quality of your images the higher it goes. If you’re using a cell phone, compact camera, or DSLR on automatic mode, you do not have control over your ISO.

Professional photographers often spend hours on single photographs, painstakingly editing to ensure that they completely clear their image of noise. Not only is this a massive use of time, it also requires exceptional knowledge of advanced photo-editing programs to ensure that, in the end, the photographs do not look over-edited. A bride does not want to gaze back on her wedding photos to see that her images are so hazy it’s hard to notice the details of her makeup. You may not be a professional photographer, but that’s not to say that you don’t want your images to be of a high quality and look fantastic.

With the development of software that incorporates artificial intelligence, you now rarely have to worry about taking photos than cannot be saved. Essentially, you’re free to shoot from before dawn until after dusk. While there are many programs that offer ‘A.I. editing,’ very few get it right.

For non-destructive editing, software requires an abundance of coding, and also the ability to learn. “Learn,” I hear you ask? Yes, because that is what artificial intelligence is about. If you’ve noticed your software program has made an edit that you don’t like, and you undo that edit, you probably don’t want to do this for hundreds of photos.

photo enhancements

Photolemur, an incredible app, possesses this quality. Its A.I. software learns from you and your editing habits, not that you’ll need to correct it often. It automatically edits and improves your photographs, in one go. A simple upload and its software will analyse each of your photographs and correct colour, contrast, and- best of all– overly noisy photographs. Hours of editing and ISO corrections will be the least of your worries.