Sometimes, especially in animal photography, there is no way to avoid high ISO settings. This does not mean that you cannot use your photos for stock.
Important is to remove as much of the noise as possible while retaining focus and details in the subject.
I use Adobe Lightroom combined with Adobe Photoshop to post process my high ISO photos. Most photos get accepted on the first submission attempt. Some however, are trial and error to find the proper noise reduction settings.
Here is how I do it:
This photo has and ISO of 25,600. As seen below, a considerable amount of noise can be seen at a magnification of 200%.
The eyes, which must be sharp, also show a lot of noise. The noise reduction Luminance slider is still at 0.
Moving the slider to 100% clearly shows loss of details in the subject. The sharpness is lost and the areas appear to be soft. The noise in the background is removed. However, the loss of details cannot be accepted.
I readjust the Luminance slider to remove ass much noise as possible from the subject while still showing details. At this point, I am not worried about the background. I then slightly sharpen the subject.
As you can see, there is still noise in the background.
When viewing the subjects eyes, there is still plenty of sharpness and details. Considerable noise has also been removed from the subject.
I then replace the background in Photoshop. This removes all background noise without affecting the subject. After closing the file, I can continue in Lightroom. Notice that the Detail sliders are now automatically set to 0.
If you look again at 200%, you can see the results.
The Detail sliders should not be adjusted after returning from Photoshop. If you need to make further corrections in the subject, you should use the local brush.
I continue the post processing session to create the following photo.
[Topic edited by moderator for clarity.]
Thanks for posting your editing tips. Have you sold any such images?