This photograph, by Anthony Jackson, was taken using a Ricoh Caplio GX100 at 15secs, f/2.7 and 100 ISO.



Because the photograph was underexposed by 2 stops, it required a lot of lightening in post-production, which exaggerated the native noise signature. Under the circumstances, it might have been better to set the ISO setting to 400 and shoot using the same exposure.



The main thing I wanted to show here was how changing white balance settings for a raw image can dramatically affect the appearance of the photograph.

1. Apply Basic panel tone corrections


The first step was to lighten the image. I opened the photo in Camera Raw and lightened the Exposure, setting this to +2.45. I set the Highlights slider to -100 to preserve highlight detail, then fine tuned the remaining tone adjustment slider settings.

2. Adjust the white balance


The original white balance setting created a warm-looking image. This emphasised the warmth of the city lights in the distance. In situations such as this, there is not necessarily a right or wrong setting. In this step, I applied a Tungsten preset setting to make the image appear cooler.

3. Reduce the noise


Finally, I added +100 Clarity to add definition, and reduced the Vibrance slightly. In the Detail panel, I set the Luminance noise slider to +40 and the Color noise slider to +62. These were the optimum settings to reduce the noise. I set the Color Smoothness slider to +100 to help remove the larger colour artefacts.