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Post Production Tips

Photoshop Tips | Does Your Photo Actually Have Banding, Or Is Photoshop Fooling You?

By Wendell Weithers on October 9th 2017

The world around us is a vibrant setting; displaying a palette of colors that compels us to try and capture its wonder. However, the tools we use often fail to do it justice. Nature’s subtle transitions of light and tone are wonderfully observed by our naked eye but, our cameras often fail to reproduce what we see. This inadequacy in representation can show itself as banding, but, there is a chance that the banding you see in your images is a product of your software and not your monitor or camera’s shortcomings. Here is Klaus Herrmann sharing some tips on how to diagnose your banding woes.

[REWIND: How To Remove Banding In Photoshop]

There may be times when Photoshop doesn’t display the image you captured as it really is. This false preview may be a result of your computer prioritizing performance over quality or a graphics card that can’t handle the information in your file.

To check if the banding is a software or display issue, you can zoom into your image to see if the banding disappears upon closer inspection or export the file to see if the high-resolution version still has it.

But how do you prevent banding?

Change your settings to work on your images in the 16-bit/channel. If the bit-depth setting in Lightroom or Photoshop is too low, it won’t have enough information to display the image faithfully, giving you harsh transitions across the tonal ranges of the image.

In Photoshop…
Image > Mode > 16-bit/ channel

In Lightroom…
Edit > Preferences > External Editing

In Adobe Camera RAW, upon import, you can update your Workflow Options via a link at the bottom of the display.


This is a good way to troubleshoot the banding issues you encounter before you try to salvage an image that doesn’t need it. However, if you do have real banding, check out our links below for a solution.

How To Upload Images To Facebook At Higher Quality With Less Banding & Artifacts

An Effective Way To Remove Banding That’s Not Adding Noise

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

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