About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Use Layers to Apply Noise Reduction to the Shadows in Capture One

Use Layers to Apply Noise Reduction to the Shadows in Capture One

No matter how good your camera is, or how good your technique is, there are times when you will want to reduce the noise in an image. In many cases the noise reduction in your chosen raw processing software will be enough, but using noise reduction is often a trade off between maintaining detail and suppressing noise in an image.

It is sometimes the case that the shadow areas of an image contain the most noise, and the highlights are relatively noise free. This can happen for a variety of reasons. For a start, digital images are inherently more noisy in the darker parts of the image. Some cameras are worse than others in this regard, especially older cameras. Recovering shadows or boosting exposure in post production can also increase the noise in the shadow part of the image. Rather than just cranking up the overall noise reduction, an alternative technique is to just reduce the noise in the shadows. In Capture One Pro, we can achieve this quite simply by using the Layers function.

Here’s what to do (Remember to zoom into 1:1 when adjusting the noise reduction):

  1. Go to the Details tool tab.
  2. From the Layers tool click on the + button and choose “New Filled Layer”
  3. With the new layer selected, click on the Luma Range… button on the top of the layers panel.
  4. Adjust the controls till it looks like the screenshot below. You can experiment with this further later to make sure you’re getting enough of the luminance range in. Click Apply when you’re finished adjusting.
  5. You can now apply luminance noise reduction from the Noise Reduction tool. You can apply more than you normally would as you are limiting it to the shadows of the image, and so it’s less likely to soften important detail.
Luma mask option in Capture One for reducing Shadow Noise

Once you have applied the noise reduction, you can always go back and adjust the luminance mask to tweak how much of the image is being noise reduced.

It’s up to you to try this and see if it’s worth the extra time to implement on your own images. You won’t need to do this on every image, but if you did have a photo that has more noise in the shadows, especially if you had increase the exposure or increased the shadow detail a lot, this tip will help you resolve fix it without loosing too much detail.

Just a reminder, but If you’re a Fuji shooter, don’t forget too check out my recently released Capture One Fuji guide which is now out and is on sale. You can learn more over on my Digital Download store.

If you don’t already have Capture One, at the time of writing this they are having a sale on the Fuji and Sony versions of the software, with up to 50% off. There’s reductions on some of the bundles too on the non camera specific version. This is ending at the end of August 2019 so if you are considering getting the software, now might be a good chance to take advantage of this deal.


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Summer sale still on - and other special offers!

Summer sale still on - and other special offers!

Why You Should Use a Histogram with an EVF on a Mirrorless Camera

Why You Should Use a Histogram with an EVF on a Mirrorless Camera