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Great way to deal with noise at high ISO: Expose to the Right (ETTR) technique explained

Simple and Easy in-camera noise reduction.

Exposing to the Right (or ETTR) is a simple and great technique that you can use for dramatic noise reduction in your photographs. All you need to do is to increase the exposure (“Expose to the Right” of the histogram) in order to let camera collect as much light information as possible and later correct overexposure in Capture One, Lightroom, Photoshop or any other program that processes raw files.

This method will work best with images taken in RAW formats.

You will learn to:
• Reduce amount of noise
• Get better pictures in general

With and without ETTR technique, ISO 25600, Canon 5D MKIII

Expose to the Right (ETTR) for Easy Noise Reduction


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This is a tutorial from Photigy Studio Basics program

7 responses on "Great way to deal with noise at high ISO: Expose to the Right (ETTR) technique explained"

  1. Very, very useful method, thanks a lot !

  2. Impressive result. Thanks.
    The question is, how would the noise level compare if you would have reduced the ISO 1 2/3 stops after increasing the shutter speed instead of using the ETTR method? So ETTR and decreasing Exposure by 1,75 in post vs. Shutter 1/25 and ISO 8000 in camera alone?

    • Depending on the subject, environment and desired end result, there’s probably always another way to achieving the result your after. This is just another solution in an ever growing bag of tricks. The idea is to pick the best “trick” for the specific situation. And that will of course vary.

    • It not only work on high ISO. Let’s say you shoot at night and ISO is already 100. It still would be better to use ETTR and overexpose.

      • Okay, cool. Thanks.
        I actually tried ETTR a while back for a night shot to get the stars to show up through light pollution. Noise wasn’t what I was focused on in this case, but it is definitely good to know.

  3. Thanks Ilya,
    The logic behind this is so simple, yet it is counter intuitive to most of us. Now that you revealed it, I will be far more likely to add this to my bag of tricks for the future.

  4. Absolutely brilliant, i never knew. thank you

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