Sometimes you have to turn up the ISO in low light situations. Unfortunately at high ISOs, noise often becomes a problem. Commercial photography-editing software packages, such as Adobe’s Lightroom or Apple’s iPhoto, are capable of reducing noise. But if you can’t afford commercial software, consider downloading Neat Image. Neat Image is a plug-in for Photoshop, but a stand-alone application is also available. The demo version of the stand-alone application is free to use but has some limitations (e.g. save in JPG only).
I used Neat Image to reduce the high ISO noise on the following picture of our dinner at Quince Restaurant. As with many restaurants, the mood lighting made it hard to take a decent photo with with my wife’s Canon S95. The resulting image after noise reduction is still flawed. As one might expect, reducing noise also reduces detail. Nonetheless, the photo is still a little better than without noise reduction. Neat Image is relatively easy and quick to use and you can’t beat the price.