Should I Add Grain?

 

This story was originally published in July 2014.

I have been experimenting with adding grain to my images. But now I am wondering, how much is too much?
Ryan Nazareth, Hyderabad, via email

This comes down to choice. Every camera performs differently and every person’s aesthetic sense is different.

Certain images look great with additional grain. But it is very easy to go overboard. For example, certain contrasty B&W images look great with plenty of grain.

On the other hand, you need to be more economical with the amount of grain you add to colour photos, as they might end up suffering from splotches of colour noise. A good rule to follow would be to err on the side of subtlety.

It is always better to add grain to an image while postprocessing, rather than shooting at a higher ISO. Photograph/Ambarin Afsar

It is always better to add grain to an image while postprocessing, rather than shooting at a higher ISO. Photograph/Ambarin Afsar

 

Tags: experimenting with adding grain, How much grain should I add?, Q and A