Authentic Grain

 

I want to add grain to my black and white photos. How do I make it look realistic and not something that is overdone digitally?
Akshar Agnihotri, Pune, via email

It’s an irony of our digital lives, wherein we look for cameras that produce clean images and then go on to make these clean images grainy in post. The Grain tab available in Adobe Camera Raw/Lightroom looks realistic enough. Just remember to downsize/upsize the photo to the required print size first.

Software like Alien Skin Exposure do a great job of simulating film grain as they give you further control after applying the preset as well. Photograph/ Raj Lalwani

Software like Alien Skin Exposure do a great job of simulating film grain as they give you further control after applying the preset as well. Photograph/ Raj Lalwani

If you want further control, you may want to invest in a film simulation plugin like Alien Skin Exposure or VSCO Cam. These try to simulate different kinds of film in terms of grain size, structure and intensity, and also allow you the option of controlling the amount of grain in shadows, highlights and midtones.

Tags: Adobe Camera RAW, alien skin exposure, ask the expert, black and white, grain, LIGHTROOM, presets, Question of the Day, VSCO Cam