Improving the quality of photos from a mobile phone

This lesson is about improving photos taken from mobile phones.

Currently, almost all phones, smartphones and communicators are necessarily equipped with a camera. And if, a year or two ago, the quality of the shooting was very low, now some models allow you to get a photo comparable in quality to the image obtained by the budget “digital camera”. One way or another, the opportunity has arisen if not to initially receive a high-quality image, then at least material for further processing. How to improve photos from mobile phones, smartphones and other mobile devices and will be discussed in this lesson.

The main problems of photographs from camera phones are noise, low resolution, low sharpness, and inaccuracy in color reproduction. With good lighting, photos are known to come out better. With poor lighting, a flash is indispensable, but not all models have it, and it does not always save the situation. For example, I specifically took a photo of poor quality, made in low light conditions.

So let’s get started.

Step 1

Open our photo.

We analyze it. The first thing to do is to lighten the image.

Secondly, after lightening, noises will appear strongly, you need to get rid of them, trying not to lose the clarity of the details too much. The task, I must say, is difficult even for experienced users!

The third is to adjust color and saturation.
We will work in this direction.

Step 2

Create a duplicate layer by clicking CTRL +J and call the command Levels (Levels). You can do this by clicking CTRL +L, either through the menu Image – Correction – Levels (Image – Adjustment – Levels).

Adjust the sliders to lighten the image.

This operation can also be performed using Curves (Levels)

Step 3

The image has become brighter, the girl’s face looks better, but the noise … they literally filled the whole image! We will get rid of them.

First, let’s see all the color channels: red, green and blue. Go to the Channels palette, which is located in the same place as the palette. Layers (Layers).

We click the mouse on the channel icons and carefully look. The red and green channels look relatively good, but the blue one is just awful! We can say that all the noise gathered there.

If you try to remove them in the traditional way, loss of detail is inevitable, because you will have to apply the filter more than once. But we will try another way.

Step 4

Replace the blue channel by overlaying the green channel in mode Overlap (Overlay). To do this, click on the icon of the blue channel, then on the eye in the composite channel RGB to see the image in color.

Next, go to the menu Image – External Channel (Image – Apply image). We select the green channel as the source, set the blend mode to Overlap and apply the command.

Step 5

Let’s see now what happened.

The image began to look better, the noise in the blue channel decreased significantly, but we will not dwell on it. Blur the red and green channels with a filter “Reduce noise “ (Reduce noise) is undesirable, as this will also lead to loss of detail.

We will get rid of other noises in the color space. Lab. One of its remarkable properties is that the brightness channel, which is responsible for the details, exists in it separately from the channels that are responsible for the colors.

So, go to the menu Image – Mode – Lab (Image – Mode – Lab). We do not answer the question about merging layers.

Step 6

Go to the palette Channels and select the channel, and then click on the Lab composite channel’s eye to see the image in color. Apply Filter – Noise – Dust and Scratches (Filter – Noise – Dust and scratch).

Filter parameters are selected individually in each case.
Do the same channel manipulationb, also selecting filter options.

Step 7

As you can see, we practically got rid of the most unpleasant color noise.

Now select the channel Brightness (Lightness). Apply to it Filter – Noise – Reduce Noise (Filter – Noise – Reduce noise). Do not overdo it too! Let it be better to have a small grain, but the details will remain.

Step 8

Now we will try to further improve our image. The main thing in the portrait shot is the face and skin. As you can see, the left side of the face in the shadow does not look very good because of the large grain. Let’s try to eliminate this drawback, and at the same time blur the background of the image to create the illusion of depth of field.

Go to the palette Story (History). You can do this by entering the menu. Window – History (Window – History). Take a picture of our image by clicking on the camera icon at the bottom of the History palette.

Step 9

Now apply to the image Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur). The radius is set large enough to completely blur the grain.

Let’s take another shot.

Step 10

In the history palette, select the source for the archival brush our blurred image. Then click on the non-blurry snapshot. Next, select the tool Archive brush (History Brush).

Set the opacity to within 15 to 20%. Next, gently, slowly, brush over the areas with the grain, avoiding the area of ​​eyes and lips. When working on the background brush opacity can be increased (if you want to blur the background). The result should be something like this.
We got a good basis for further manipulations.

Step 11

?Adjust the color balance and make a more subtle retouching, editing, applying effects and so on. I will not dwell on this in detail, since the site contains quite a few lessons on this subject.

I wish you all creative success!

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