Basic Editing

Noise reduction software

Written by Gail Bjork

Removing digital “noise” can improve photos. Noise removal does not have to be a complicated process.

noise-reduction-filteredNoise reduction software is designed to reduce visible noise when present in a digital photo. There are several programs available and each does a surprisingly effective job.

This tutorial is illustrated using the freeware version (Demo edition) of Neat Image.

Neat Image offers a variety of noise removal options for advanced users; however, it is set up so novices can easily and effectively use the program, too. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Open Neat Image; then click on the input image icon and navigate to and open your photo.
  2. Click the device noise profile tab. Select auto profile (or use a custom profile for your camera available at the Neat Image device noise profiles page). A section of your image is analyzed.
  3. If desired, select the noise filter settings tab to make adjustments.
  4. Select the output image tab and click apply. When the process is complete, save the output image.


Some full-featured image editing programs often have noise removal/despeckle filters, though they may not be as effective as stand alone noise removal software.

TopTip: When editing an image that contains noise, reduce the noise first before sharpening so as not to sharpen the noise.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.


  • Yup, we mean the “grainy-mess” that comes at higher ISO settings, particularly for images taken with compact digital cameras with small sensors. Photoshop CS does have a tool for noise reduction: Filter menu > Noise > Reduce Noise. I personally use it but many people prefer to use stand-alone programs. Some very fine noise removal programs are free for non-commercial use such as Neat Image. We have a link to it here, along with a listing of other free software and utilities useful to digital photographers.

  • Hi, Thanks for sharing the info about noise removal software. Can I do the same with adobe photoshop CS4 ? Also, by noise you mean the grainy-ness that comes up at higher ISO settings, right ?