5 Tips to Avoid Grainy Photos

by | Light, Technical, Top Tips


Are you ready for 5 tips to avoid grainy photos? We’ve all had it…the dreaded grainy photo. Whether you call it grain, noise or pixelation, we’ve all been there, and it is no fun! It can make a great photo go bad quickly. But I have some good news. It is avoidable! I am going to share 5 tips on how to avoid grainy photos, and all you need to do is implement them and practice them to start avoiding grainy photos.

Before I dive into how to avoid grainy photos, let’s first talk about what causes the grain in your pictures.

There are a few factors that could be causing the grain in your images…your camera, not understanding how to shoot in certain light, but the number one cause of grain is ISO. Remember your ISO settings control the sensitivity of light coming into your camera. If you need a little refresher on ISO, just head over to the article I wrote about it, but simply put, the higher the ISO, the more light, and the lower the number, the less light. One downside to more light is the dreaded grainy photo.

You may be asking, “how high is too high?” Well, that depends on your camera, and finding your “max” ISO is essential in learning to take great photos, but the following tips will help you as well.

5 Tips to avoid grain in your photos

5 Tips to Avoid Grainy Photos

1. Keep Your ISO Low

Tip number one in my 5 tips avoid grainy photos is obvious. Keep your ISO as low as possible to guarantee a good quality photo. Never use auto ISO, never allow your camera to choose the ISO and always keep the ISO as low as possible while maintaining a perfectly exposed image. Remember, there are other ways to achieve perfect exposure, such as shutter speed or aperture, and using those instead of upping your ISO will help avoid grain.

2. Activate Noise Reduction

My second tip for you is to make sure you activate noise reduction on your camera if it has it. Remember, not every camera has this ability, but it is a great tool to use if your camera does and will absolutely reduce the grain.

3. Meter for the Brightest Spot

You know I love metering. Well, tip number 3 to avoid grainy photos is to remember that if you are shooting in a situation where you see your ISO climbing, try metering on the brightest spot in the viewfinder. Change your metering spot to the brightest location in the viewfinder and then meter from there. This simple change can help improve the grain.

4. Find More Light

I am a natural light photographer. I always say, “shoot for the light, and not the location.” Well, tip number 4 is to find more light. Now, I don’t want you rushing out and buying a zoom light or any other off-camera lighting set-up. I simply want you to pay attention and if you are taking a picture and you see the ISO climbing, move your subject to where you have more light or use a reflector to bounce light onto your subject so that you can lower your ISO.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice

And my final tip for you to avoid grainy photos is to practice! Mastering low light photography takes practice, patience, more practice and time. It does not come immediately, so don’t get frustrated. Grab your camera, find some low light and practice shooting all different subjects; stationary and moving.

5 Tips to avoid grainy photos

I would love to see your low-light shots and know if these 5 Tips to Avoid Grainy Photos have helped with your photography, so head over to the Learn Photography with Dena Facebook Group and share them with me!

And, if you want to learn more about ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed and how to get amazing photos today, check out the Beginners Photography Essentials Class today!

Lifestyle Photographer & Mentor

Hi, I’m Dena, a natural light lifestyle photographer with 20+ years of experience capturing other people’s memories and teaching photographers how to understand and easily use their cameras.

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