How To Fix Banding In Lightroom

By | 11/08/2022

Even equally a seasoned photographer, you lot may not have heard of the term “Color banding”. It is a common issue that you may encounter and occurs when you push the boundaries of colors in your file. Don’t worry if yous oasis’t heard of the term. In this short article, we’ll hash out what it is, ideally how you can avoid it and how you lot tin fix it if it does occur.


What is color banding?

Colour banding is the unpleasant, stark lines of color that appear in your moving-picture show. This issue usually occurs in photos with sizeable mono-colored sections similar for example the sky, where the transitions between different colors become precipitous, harsh, and blatant enough to be easily noticeable.

On a typical photograph, this transition is smooth, gradual, and unnoticeable. But sometimes this graduation in tones can be pushed besides far to a point where the colors can not be displayed. So rather than a smoothen transition from say a light blue to a darker blueish, the colour jumps and give a harsh line betwixt the tones.


An case of how an prototype can be over-candy to suffer from color banding.

How to avert colour banding?

The biggest culprit for color banding occurring is over-processing an image in editing software. Things similar too much saturation, vibrancy and dehaze (in Lightroom) can push the limits of colors beyond what is mathematically possible.

So the best fashion to avoid banding all together is to capture your shots as best as y’all can in-camera. This will negate having to push sliders to 100%. In scenarios where you take a scene with loftier dynamic range, either utilise things like filters to even out the contrast in the scene or bracket your shots. This will give yous multiple exposures that you tin merge together for a better-exposed shot overall.

You should also shoot in RAW and make your adjustments before converting to JPEG files. RAW files are much more forgiving due to the amount of data they contain. So always edit in RAW and then save in other file formats at the very stop.


How to set colour banding?

This quickest and easiest manner to fix color banding is to first see if yous take over-candy your prototype. Bank check your sliders and pull them dorsum and encounter if that makes a difference. If you lot have added a gradient make sure that you oasis’t added besides much saturation or dehaze.

If these settings are all OK and yous are seeing banding in your shot, the only solution to disguise information technology. In that location are a few methods of doing this (annotation that you will need editing software like Adobe Photoshop). Below are two that I utilise effectively.


Adding noise to the area

What is noise? In photography terms, noise is virtually many, many multi-colored dots that announced in your photos. It can take the form of random splotches of colour or precipitous changes in brightness in some cases. Usually, photographic dissonance is the blight of every photographer’s existence. It is a constant obstacle and nuisance that many photographers must overcome through editing or adjustments.

However, photographic noise can exist your friend when dealing with the issue of banding. The “randomness” that photographic dissonance creates can counteract the appearance of banding. In but a few simple steps, yous can eliminate banding from your photos by adding noise.

1. Add a new layer to your photo.
In photoshop this will announced as a bare, grey layer; this is where you lot will add noise to your epitome.

On the new blank layer, press Ctrl + Shift + N (Apple+Shift+Due north on a Mac). A box should appear. Select “Overlay” under “Fashion.” Ensure that the box for “Fill with Overlay-neutral color (fifty% gray)” is ticked. Finish by selecting “OK.”


2. Add noise to your photo.

Select “Filter,” then “Noise,” and then “Add Noise.” This step volition apply the “Add Racket” filter to your overlay. A box should besides announced. Select the percent of noise you would like to apply to your photo. Information technology is recommended that you begin past selecting somewhere in the range of iii% – five%. There should besides be a spot for you lot to choose a distribution at the lesser of the window. Select “Gaussian.”


3. Apply a mask.
The previous step adds noise to your unabridged photo, rather than just your spot with banding. This step fixes this issue, which can be done by applying a mask that blocks off the unnecessary noise throughout your photo.


Select “Layer,” then “Layer Mask,” then “Hide All.” Now, the added noise should non exist visible anywhere on your photo. Select your “Castor” tool past pushing ‘B’ on your keyboard. Change the brush’due south color to white past pressing ‘D’ on your keyboard; this sets the color to default. Using the castor tool, brush the parts of your photo that contain banding. This footstep should add noise to the specified surface area. You should be left with an image without whatever banding!


Apply blur

The effect with banding is the harsh lines that appear in your area of colour. So another solution is to blur that surface area if possible. This would only work in some scenarios as for example if you lot accept bold clouds in the sky, it would wait strange if they are blurred. Simply for example, this technique works really well if you lot accept a articulate blue sky. The other bang-up matter about this technique is that you can exercise information technology directly in Lightroom.


  1. On the “Develop” module in Lightroom select the aligning brush (Grand).
  2. Select “Sharpness” in the “Effect” dropdown carte
  3. Press “O” on your keyboard. This will make things easier to see when y’all brush over the selected area every bit you’ll be able to see where you lot are “painting”.
  4. Move the “Clarity” and “Sharpness” sliders to the left so they are at 0
  5. If you find it’due south not enough you can too reduce the amount of saturation which will also help.
  6. Have a wait at your image and make farther adjustments


Banding is a common side event of over-processing. Just usually, information technology can be easily fixed or even ameliorate avoided altogether. If you lot do detect it on your images follow the tips above and y’all should be able to set them.

Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission.

Kav Dadfar