Noise Reduction Workflow


Today’s Question: I saw your video on Noiseless Pro. I’ve started using it as a plug-in to Lightroom on RAW images When you finish editing the image in Noiseless Pro, it returns you to Lightroom and saves the changes as a TIFF or PSD. Since you are no longer working on a RAW file, is it better to make your adjustments (blacks, highlights, exposure, white balance, etc) before editing in Noiseless Pro instead of after when your adjusting the TIFF or PSD?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When a plug-in is being employed in this way, I do recommend applying most of your adjustments in Lightroom before sending the image to the plug-in for further processing.

More Detail: I generally prefer to apply noise reduction as early in my workflow as possible. However, I also prefer to leverage the various adjustments within Lightroom for my RAW captures before working with an external editor (such as a plug-in) beyond Lightroom. Therefore, in this case my preference to process the RAW capture within Lightroom as completely as possible will win out.

By optimizing the image in Lightroom first, not only are you leveraging the various adjustments for the original RAW capture, but you are also getting closer to the final result for the image. This will in turn have an impact on how you process the image with other software, such as a noise reduction plug-in.

Naturally you may decide later that additional adjustments are necessary after you’ve created the derivative TIFF or PSD file using a plug-in, and that is perfectly fine. I recommend optimizing the image in Lightroom’s Develop module to achieve a result that is as close to final as possible. Then send the image to the plug-in you wish to use, and process the image accordingly. Later, if you want to apply additional Lightroom adjustments, you can most certainly do so. Provided those final adjustments are relatively modest, they won’t have a significant impact on the overall quality of the final image.