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Tips & Tricks

What Causes Moiré, How To Avoid It & How To Remove It

By Hanssie on November 20th 2015

When odd stripes and patterns appear in your images, this is called a moiré effect. This visual perception occurs when a fine pattern on your subject meshes with the pattern on the imaging chip of your camera, and you see a third separate pattern. (This happens to me a lot when I take  a photo of my laptop screen). 

Because fewer cameras are now equipped with an anti-aliasing filter (they slightly blurred the photo and who wants a blurry photo?), you’ll see the moiré effect occurring more often these days, especially as a portrait or architectural photographer. 



So, what causes the moiré effect, how can you spot it while you are shooting, and how can you avoid it? How do you fix it in post? In the following 11 minute video from Adorama TV, Gavin Hoey answers these questions about moiré as part of his Take and Make Great Photography series. As Gavin explains the moiré effect, when you combine the patterns in just the “right way, you’ll see a rainbowing or circular pattern” in your image. 

To avoid it altogether, Gavin recommends you take a test shot, then zoom in to make sure you aren’t getting the effect. Gavin then gives three solutions to get rid of moiré if you happen to spot it in your image. But what happens if you miss it until you sit down in post? Gavin has a simple Photoshop/Lightroom fix. Watch the video below get his tips so you never have to deal with moiré in your images again.

[Via ISO1200]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Algis Kaupas

    Good tip. How about reducing moire in video? Adobe Premiere Pro?

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  2. Josiah Dewey

    Good tip.

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  3. Vuyo Madikizela

    This has been very helpful for me,

    Thank You :D

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  4. Dave Haynie

    Pretty interesting. The moiré pattern is caused by the subject pattern riffing against the camera’s Bayer sensor pattern. An anti-aliasing filter can help, but to completely eliminate moiré, you basically need a low pass filter that’s delivers 1/3 the effective resolution of the sensor… which is why real world anti-aliasing filters don’t eliminate moiré, they just help.

    His trick of stopping down helps for the same reason — he’s shooting on an Olympus OM-D E-M5II, a 16Mpixel micro four-thirds camera with a sensor pixel size of 3.7µm. So stopping down to f/11 delivers an Airy disc large enough to basically do the same thing. He’s intentionally diffraction-limiting the resolution.

    Curiously, on that camera, there’s another option that solves the problem 100%: Hires mode. If he put the camera on a tripod and got the subject to remain perfectly still, hires mode shoots eight shots — each subsequent shot offset by 1 pixel, then 1/2 pixel, from the first shot, delivering essentially two full RGB (no Bayer effect) images overlapping each other by 1/2 pixel, which the camera resolves as a 64Mpixel raw image or 40Mpixel JPEG. Of course, any camera or subject motion messes that up.

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