Help me post-process this image (high ISO > noise)

ernie

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Hey,

I'm doing a workshop on rock photography, was out shooting a small performance of some band yesterday. Took some ok photos, only problem is I'm not quite sure how to post-process them. Settings on most of my photos were ISO 1000, f/2.8 and shutter 1/100 (due to the poor lighting conditions on concerts).

Anyway, because of the high ISO I tend to get a lot of noise. The first photo is my best attempt at post-processing, but I feel there's a lot more into the picture than this. My post-processing so far:
1. mess around in raw to create a lighter image
2. place over original dark image, create mask and erase the parts that were too light
3. some selective burning/dodging (this last one seems to bring out a big deal of noise)
4. unsharp mask (via lab modus)
5. selective noise reduction (pants, face)
Everything is done in Photoshop CS2. I have the Noise Ninja plugin, just don't know how to get good results from it yet so I didn't use it.

So question is: can anyone do better and if yes, how'd you do it?

1. My post-processed image:
marien-band-02.jpg


2. Original jpg-image:
DSC_0139.jpg


3. Original RAW (NEF) file can be downloaded here (10 Mb). Seems to download as a .tiff file, don't ask me why. I uploaded the .NEF file.


Thanks alot!
 

coreyward

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Well for starters, you might have better luck with a better body. Not sure what you shot that with, but until the most recent round (D300 and D3) of Nikons, they've been less than fantastic with noise (own a D70 and D80 from them). Now I shoot with a 5D and the low-light noise is much better...even at an astounding 1600 ISO.

Aside from that, when you tried to brighten up the shot you inadvertently shifted the color and it came out oversaturated. In all honesty, I'd probably leave the shot darker and just dodge some of the highlights on his head and face.
 

Garbz

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Well for starters, you might have better luck with a better body. Not sure what you shot that with, but until the most recent round (D300 and D3) of Nikons, they've been less than fantastic with noise (own a D70 and D80 from them).

"Help me process this photo", "buy a new camera"

I'm sorry for sounding bitchy but this was the most pointless thing I've read on the net. If the OP had the spare money don't you think he'd have a D300? And how does buying a D300 or a 5D help him reduce the noise in this picture? The picture is good too. Why would the OP need a D300?

At least you somewhat redeemed yourself by posting something useful right after. :thumbsup:

Ernie there is nothing wrong with the noise level of this picture the way you processed it. You would see no noise on a print, and I can bearly see any on the screen. If you're zooming to 100% and counting the number of pixels which are not the colour you want them to be you've totally missed the point of photography. Aside from a slight pink tinge it looks great, but even that wouldn't be noticeable if the original wasn't beside it.
 

Mike_E

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Forget the noise and print it!

Unless you are going to 16x20, who cares? No one that actually prints these. OK, if it were a Stratovarius being played at the Met I could see spending 2 hours with the clone stamp tool at 1600% for a cover of -you pick the Mag- (those little specks of noise are not all you loose with a noise reduction program) but really, rock and roll is supposed to have some grit. Why do you think that it only has 3 rules and knowing how to Pony is the only one that counts?

Here it is by the way and the only thing I really did was to use Alien Skin Exposures/ color film/ Kodak Ektachrome mid-70s (blue).

DSC_0139blue.jpg
 
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ernie

ernie

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Ernie there is nothing wrong with the noise level of this picture the way you processed it. You would see no noise on a print, and I can bearly see any on the screen. If you're zooming to 100% and counting the number of pixels which are not the colour you want them to be you've totally missed the point of photography. Aside from a slight pink tinge it looks great, but even that wouldn't be noticeable if the original wasn't beside it.
Well thanks but I do see some noise in his face and left lower arm, so I asked for tips on noise removal. It's cool you find this a good picture but I think it can be made better. I don't see that as missing the point of photography, I see it as just trying to get the perfect photo. But thanks :)
 

DadOf2

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Hey Ernie,
Darn shame about the ISO. I've been reading up on that a bit and most articles say don't be afraid to bump it up some. I've had the same problems as you though. I decided to have a little fun w/ your shot.

Actually I think the grain adds to this shot. He's play a Gibson Flying V...quite a retro ax by any standards but an awesome classic. I think the high ISO grain makes the whole thing look more retro. Adds something. I might have gotten a little carried away with the dodge tool on this but you get the idea of where I'm heading with this. Bring out the detail in the background.

Cheers!

rockDude.jpg
 

DadOf2

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Oh...and the file came through on my end as an NEF no problem.
 

DadOf2

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I think you hit the middle ground Osirus. I can see a little detail in the background and you didn't go so far as to bring out the grain...
 

Garbz

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I see it as just trying to get the perfect photo. But thanks :)

Ahh you just missunderstood what I said about missing the point. The point is to make a good picture, this is irrespective of the noise / grain on it. A noise free picture does not make a good picture, and visa versa of course. Mind you if the noise becomes a distraction then it is a problem. Photography is art, noise free perfection is for the rich and indeed you'd need to follow coreyward's advice and spend $7000 on a camera body for that).

Here's my take on it. I get the feeling already you won't like it in the least. Sideburns might. My goal was to make the scene more dramatic and give it some character by emulating a Kodak TMax 400 film pushed a stop for lovely contrast and grainy effects.

DSC_0139.jpg


/EDIT: The result in retrospect is not contrasty enough and the gain was ruined when I uploaded to photobucket. Damn compression artefacts. :grumpy:
 

DadOf2

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Hey Garbz,
Your monitor must be better than mine. I'm not seeing any problems w/ compression on your try at it. Looks pretty tight.
 

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