photography

Are digital cameras still relevant for everyone? Huawei P20 & P30 Pro discussion.

Over the last few years most of my work was done with some variant of the Canon 5D full frame DSLR. Whilst this is a heavy hulking beast of a camera - it’s also a workhorse that provides beautiful imagery. The ample body has a very ergonomic layout - with plenty of customisation that can be done to the controls, which makes it very easy and fast to work with.

A common theme for me was that this camera was my default choice for any work, however for travel photography and social events - it was way to bulky for me to comfortably carry around. This prompted my decision to invest in mirrorless cameras: which were smaller and fit in your pocket (mostly.. maybe with cargo pants..) but even then there were many times where I had not brought it along due to it’s size.

Fast forward to the last few weeks - my wife and I had an adventure planned in Japan. Now this is not the kind of holiday we do every month, and Japan is a VERY interesting and pretty place, so I agonised over my equipment choices: Should I take the 5D? compromise with the A6000?

Ultimately i decided to go with the Huawei P20 Pro. But that’s not a camera! you might be saying, and you are arguably correct. However if i think about it: I had a 27mm f1.8 camera, and an 80mm f2.4 camera with optical image stablisation. The B/W camera is not mentioned since it’s way to buried in menus to be useful, and realistically most times shooting using the main sensor (and converting to monochrome) does a better job.

By far the most useful range in a camera is the 24-70mm space and I was pretty covered. Throw in all the HDR, image stacking and other digital wizardry that the phone is capable of and here are some results. All the photos are shot using the Huawei P20 pro and edited using Snapseed on the phone itself. I was able to take most shots i had in mind and had a decent keeper rate in even challenging light and autofocus conditions.

To wrap up - to cherry on the cake is that most of these images will only ever be seen on social media on mobile devices. The quality is way high than what is necessary for that, so much so i’d be pretty confident in having any of these shots printed in A2 or higher size.. So why bother with anything else?

What do you guys think? Leave a comment below.

So what’s next?

Huawei have just announced the new P30 family of phones and to be quite honest many of the features which reviewers are praising (battery, low light performance, overall performance, etc) are already top notch with the P20 pro and (in my humble opinion) not worth the upgrade. I would hazard and even say that the much vaunted 5x periscope camera (125mm) is going to be less useful than a native 80mm on the P20. Time will tell.

However there are 2 killer new features which I am really looking forward to:

  1. Optical Image Stabilisation on the Main sensor. This will make it much easier to use Light Painting and Night modes, or any other in camera images stacking which have become so powerful

  2. Ultra wide angle lens. This was something that I really missed in japan and it’s not something you can recreate digitally like lens blur or zoom (just crop! :))

Elevate - An editorial with Rosemarie Abela & a drone

Lets’s start with the good stuff, and put the text at the bottom this time.

Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)

Check out some drone footage in this behind-the-scenes video. All drone footage was shot at Bahar ic caghaq, Malta using a Dji Mavic 2 Pro

And now here are some shots using the ‘traditional’ camera in your hands method :) - A Canon 5D Mk4 if anyone is keeping track

Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)



Random Ramblings

One of the first hard decisions DJI forced me to make when buying the drone was - do I get the Mavic 2 Zoom? which would allow all sorts of interesting shots when shooting fashion, or do i go for the larger sensor of the Mavic 2 Pro.

As should be obvious by now, i went for the pro since 1” sensors are pretty much the baseline of what i consider to be acceptable in terms of photo quality (Turns out there might be an issue in video for the Mavic 2 pro but hey lets’s not get into that - the photos are pretty great)

The first thing that you face when using a drone for this kind of thing is that composition becomes much harder - purely because 1. you are fixed at 24 mm, 2. elevated shots are naturally shortening which doesn’t play well with fashion and 3. It’s not a scenario you’re used to and it takes time to adjust

Having said that, the possibilities it opens up are impressive - This was just a little dive to see what is possible and it's going to really open up some locations which would have been impossible to photograph ahem “on foot”

Another BigThing (tm) was the mix of photo and video. Once you’re flying the drone, it becomes a crime not to take some shots (as Andrew Randon once told me - motion = emotion, not sure if they are his words or not but they are definitely true) - and this brings about a new set of skills, a new workflow.. the list goes on.

I don’t feel I am ready to truly explore video yet - i’ll stick with Fashion & Portrait photography for now, but it’s nice to see where the road leads. Hope you like it! If anything crosses your mind please leave a comment below



Credits:

Designer: Rosemarie Abela

Model: Justina Vai

Photography: Kurt Paris

Makeup: Rodianne Caruana

Hair: Dominic Bartolo @ Dreaaaaaaaaaaaaaads

Fabric (1st Dress): Ivory & co





Fierce! - Sunday Circle Magazine Shoot

Released with the Sunday circle magazine on sunday, here is how we shot Fierce! - the fashion editorial which featured a current fashion trend - animal prints.


The Team:

Model: Giulia @ Supernova Model Management

Make-up was done by Jean Zammit at Inglot Malta

Hair by Toni & Guy Malta

Styling by Caroline Paris

Photography by Kurt Paris

Shot at the Meridiana Wine Estate

Here are some of the shots from the shoot, we used a single Bowens 500w strobe in many of the shots, and then a YongNuo ring LED when the space got a little more restricted. LEDs have become incredibly useful and versatile since they allow you to remain quite portable but also light up pretty tight spaces. The quality of their light is still not as high or accurate as with good studio strobes, however it does produce a punchy/contrasty image that works really well with particular editing or especially in Black and White

Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)

A day around Malta by drone

If you’re Maltese you can probably skip this section :) If you’re not from Malta there’s a slim chance you’ve never heard of our little country. Malta is a small independent nation that looks like a little fish on the map, just below Sicily

This little fishy is richer in history than many countries much larger in size and we are lucky that some parts of it boast a natural beauty that you only find in the mediterranean. Yes, I must admit that I am biased :) I am both Maltese and a photographer and since i bought my first drone - a DJI Mavic 2 Pro, i am taking the time to visit all the beautiful places we have that we take for granted. It’s funny that around the world, people will cross the globe to see something in your own country - that you might not have even seen yourself.

Even though i specialise in fashion photography, i find the coastline fascinating (so much so that i have already release a series of coastal drone prints) and here is a tour around Malta - mostly our coastline. Hop on the drone, we’ll be visiting a tiny bit of Gozo, Valletta, Fort Manoel, St Agatha's Tower (the red tower), Xwejni Salt pans, Bahar ic Caghaq, Mellieha, Xaqqa Cliffs, Dingli and Zonqor point

Hope you enjoy it, and if you are interested in drones - check out DJI’s Products here - they are really easy to use and enjoy


Shooting Portraits in Harsh lighting

One of the things we have an abundance of in Malta is bright bright sunlight. This post unfortunately does not apply to our harsh sun when it’s at it’s peak. This is because the overhead positioning and bright light will result in a white studio background with the added haze that will lose a lot of fine detail.

In these conditions, moving to the shade will produce much better results. However! if you are in harsh sunlight in the morning or afternoon hours before golden hour. Simply place the subject with their back to the sun and use them to shield your camera from the glare. This will produce a lovely blown out background and a golden halo for your subject. To achieve this make sure you expose for our subject’s face, otherwise the camera will try and average out the light in the scene and leave you with a dull background and dark underexposed face

This will not work well for all subjects but for kids, and young beautiful people this fits quite nicely.

Here are some example of this technique show during Milan Fashion Week

portrait-model-streetstyle-milan-fashion-week
In this photo of Birgit Kos, a bit of toning was applied to the highlights

In this photo of Birgit Kos, a bit of toning was applied to the highlights

Inspired in Valletta - Ritienne Zammit

Last week as part of my wife's general craziness, we spent a few days living in Valletta. We stayed at the lovely Cumberland Boutique Hotel, used the Ferry to get to work, and ate pretty much EVERYTHING. You can check out the article by The Wife(tm) about living in Valletta on her blog

Apart from the sights, smells (food, oh so much different interesting food) and sounds (you can literally walk around Valletta at night and bounce from one live music act to another without hearing any silence - it's lovely) - there is a huge sense of drama to the place that just makes my creative side wake up.

So we had to do a fashion shoot - and since the light in Valletta is perfect very early in the morning, I passed on the amazing breakfast (food :() and convinced everyone to wake up early (I got coffee and fresh croissants to make up... yes more food)

So without further ado here's a shoot inspired by Ritienne Zammit's Past & Present collections

  • Model: Rebecca @ Supernova Model Managment
  • Photography: Kurt Paris
  • Make-up: Jean Zammit using Inglot
  • Styling: Caroline Paris
  • Designer: Ritienne Zammit
  • Hair Styling: Christian Galea @ Michael & Guy
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)
Photo: Kurt Paris (http://www.kurtparis.com)

Editing Mobile Phone photos

Even though i am a professional photographer, there are times where i don't have (or don't want to have) my camera with me - both when i'm in Malta and abroad. Like anyone else who has made their merry way into the 21st century, i do however have a mobile phone pretty much always in my pocket.

One of the main benefits a professional camera brings to a photoshoot, is the ability to work fast and in difficult conditions without losing quality. However, if you're prepared to sacrifice image quality a little bit, pushing your photos during editing will make a big difference in the impact.

This article is based on the Snapseed mobile application. This was built on an excellent software suite by a company called Nik (which was then taken over by Google). I use the android version which you can download here and there is also a version for iPhone here

Disclaimer: Is editing going to make my Oneplus 5 images look like they were taken with my Canon 5D mk4? No way! but it will add perceived detail and impact

Basic Corrections

The first step in our editing is to correct any mistakes that the camera may have made. Remember that the amount of light the phone captures and the colour which it sets to be "white" are guesses and it can get these wrong. (For example you might take a picture of a white plate in a room lit up in warm white light and get a yellow colour cast.)

1. White Balance (ie - is everything yellow-ish?) - The White balance tool has a selection tool that allows you to click on a spot on the photo and set it as white. If you're shooting food, this could be the table cloth or plate. Neutral greys work just as well (or better) than white too. Once you fix this you will see new colours appear in the photo

2. Exposure (ie is the photo too dark or too white?) - For these two questions we'll be using two different tools. Unfortunately, if the photo is too white, it is much harder to fix since the detail is lost and the colours may have become skewed. Your best bet is to use the Tune Image tool and reduce the brightness and highlights settings. Be careful because whites might become greys which are possibly uglier than the white you are trying to fix.

To add light we can either use the Tune Image tool and add brightness but i find that using the Curves tool and selecting "Brighten" from the palette produces a more pleasing effect. You can then adjust the curve to increase/decrease this - or you can just run the Curves tool multiple times (i find this produces the most natural result)

At this point out photo is well exposed and is showing the correct colours. Since these are things mobile phones often make mistakes in, we've already improved the image substantially

Case Study: Dinner

Food in particular needs correct colours and good lighting, additional detail and contrast are an added bonus (if you like that effect)

Food in particular needs correct colours and good lighting, additional detail and contrast are an added bonus (if you like that effect)

 

Adding Detail

1. The aptly named Details tool is an easy way to bring out the structure in the image. I personally like adding a lot of this since it adds sharpness and contrast across the board. You can then go into the layer mask (View Edits -> select the layer -> select the brush) and then brush away the areas where it might have added too much structure

2. Focus on your subject. This is much harder to do with a phone than with a professional slr since depth of field (blur/bokeh) is linked to the size of the camera sensor (which is tiny on a phone) so we can turn to software to help us out. Disclaimer: This can look fake if misused. This effect is very obvious and i tend to reduce the amount of blur that is set by default. I also adjust the shape of the circle to go around the object i want to keep in focus.

3. HDR. Yes, HDR Scape is a great editing tool for mobile phones - especially since the dynamic range of the sensor is much smaller than you get in a good camera. Disclaimer: This can look fake if misused. I use HDR typically for food shots and landscapes. Like lens blur i reduce the amount of filter strength that is set by default (be particularly careful for whites becoming "dusty" and reds becoming highlighted and over bright). From the palette i typically select the "Nature" or "People" setting

4. Tone the image. The Vintage tool is a great way to tone the colours in your image - again this is an effect that should be used sparingly and with caution. I tend to reduce/almost remove the default vignette setting and i reduce the overall effect by at least 50% - otherwise it will just take over all the colours of your photo. Remember that you want to add some spice, not overwhelm it

Case Study 3: Architecture in Valletta

photo-editing-food-before-after-3.jpg

5. Selective editing using the healing tool can help fix mistakes or dirt in the photo. Click on the affected areas will draw information for the surroundings to remove the offending debris. It's also very good when someone attacks the food before the photo was taken! :) In the next case study i had wanted a photo of the dish but absent-mindedly broke it with my fork. 

photo-editing-food-before-after-2.jpg

 

Questions? Anything Not Clear?

Just leave a comment below and i'll do my best to reach out and help you out or edit the article and explain better :)

Backstage over the years

Just a quick trip down memory lane: i present to you photos taken backstage at various fashion shows around the world by a photographer from Malta (who used to be fat) including Milan Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Serbia Fashion Week and Malta Fashion Week

2015

Fashion Scout Backstage - London Fashion Week

Fashion Scout Backstage - London Fashion Week

Giles Deacon Backstage - London Fashion Week

Giles Deacon Backstage - London Fashion Week

Ritienne Zammit Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Ritienne Zammit Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Caroline Hili Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Caroline Hili Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

2016

Moschino Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Moschino Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Etro Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Etro Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Stella Jean Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Stella Jean Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Wedding Bells Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Wedding Bells Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Gaetano Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Gaetano Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Parascandalo Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Parascandalo Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Ritienne Zammit Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Ritienne Zammit Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

2017

Annakiki Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Annakiki Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Parascandalo Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Parascandalo Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Eymeric Francois Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Eymeric Francois Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Ritienne Zammit Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Ritienne Zammit Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Stella Jean Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Stella Jean Backstage - Milan Fashion Week

Marija Sabic Backstage - Mad Mood Milan Fashion Week

Marija Sabic Backstage - Mad Mood Milan Fashion Week

Charles & Ron Backstage

Charles & Ron Backstage

Backstage Serbia Fashion Week

Backstage Serbia Fashion Week

Mirat Cyril Backstage - Serbia Fashion Week

Mirat Cyril Backstage - Serbia Fashion Week

Backstage Serbia Fashion Week

Backstage Serbia Fashion Week

2018

Eymeric Francois Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Eymeric Francois Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Jasongrech Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Jasongrech Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Ritienne Zammit Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Ritienne Zammit Backstage - Malta Fashion Week

Malta Fashion Week - Rosemarie Abela Al-Magrib

Another in the series of fashion editorial photo-shoots done as part of Malta Fashion Week - Rosemarie Abela's Al Magrib collection. Valletta's older areas which are still a bit raw provided us with some great backdrops. The maltese limestone tends to really throw a yellow hue on the outfit, thanks to all the sunlight light that bounces off it and onto the clothes. So to add a bit of drama and also to bring out the lovely colours and texture in the clothes - you guessed it - one Bowens 500w strobe with a beauty dish. The main difference this time is that we kept it off angle to give some nice shadows on the models

MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)

The team behind the shoot:

  • Model: Venla from Models M and Francesca from Supernova Model Management
  • Makeup: Elaine Galea
  • Designer: Rosemarie Abela
  • Hair-styling: Flavia @ dcolorpallet
  • Photography: Kurt Paris

Malta Fashion Week - Marco Parascandalo

The third in the series of Malta fashion week editorial fashion shoots was the one we did with Parascandalo for their 2018 collection: Star.

In this shoot we decided to use an urban setting, specifically a car-park which had a monotonous, grungy look & feel (kudos to Marco for this great idea for a location). This almost boring setting is a mix of empty space and clutter, a place where there is actually a lot of stuff lying around but it's the kind of stuff that our sub conscious has gotten used to tuning out. In this setting the outfits felt at home, but their vibrant colours & designs shone brightly

Without further ado:

MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)

Photographer's Talk

Since we were in an urban setting, one of the ways to make the subject stand out (and bring out all the detail in the clothes & make-up) is to overpower the sun as we did in the shoot for Ritienne Zammit's _Atronymic collection. Only this time, since we had more depth behind the model, it allows us darken the whole scene and increase the lighting on the model. One 500w Bowens studio light provided the lighting for the scene, coupled with the Bowens beauty dish. As you might have noticed by now, this is really my favourite lighting setup since it provides a good mix of soft and hard light.

The team behind the shoot:

  • Model: Julia from Models M
  • Makeup: Jennifer Dimech
  • Designer & Stylist: Marco Parascandalo
  • Photography: Kurt Paris

 

Malta Fashion Week - Ritienne Zammit

The second in the series of post-show Malta fashion week shoots was the one we did with Ritienne Zammit. Ritienne is one of my favourite designers and every year I look forward to her new collections. The fact that she is also a fun, humble and generally awesome human being simply adds to the fun :)

This shoot caused a bit of a stir since we did it right in front of the new parliment building in Valletta. We set up, started shooting and promptly a crowd gathered behind us - and started shooting us, the models, Ritienne, everything. Fun times.

Without further ado:

MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)

I'm not a big fan of shooting under our scorching Maltese sun. In general the makeup is lost and the harsh shadows destroy or distort the lines of the clothes as well as their texture. Since the clothes are quite bright and distinctive, i wanted a simple plain background to let the outfit speak for itself. Thank you Mr Piano for the great outdoor studio you provided us :). The only caveat is the aforementioned sun... and this was fixed by overpowering the sun using a Bowens 500w strobe. If you've never used this technique before check out this really easy video from fstoppers.

The team behind the shoot:

  • Model: Beatrice from Models M and Francesca from Supernova Model Management
  • Makeup: Elaine Galea
  • Designer: Ritienne Zammit
  • Hair-styling: Chris Galea @ Michael & Guy
  • Photography: Kurt Paris

 

Malta Fashion Week - Yana's Jewellery

This year, to add to the events and general fashion-craziness happening during Malta Fashion Week, designers (with the help of photographers, models, make-up artists, hairstylists, model agencies, venues) got together to do shoots with the collections showcased during the week. 

Here is the shoot we did for Yana's Jewellery:

MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)
MFWA 2018 - Kurt Paris (https://www.kurtparis.com)

Since we were shooting in natural light heaven (under the arches in front of the National Library) we had super soft but directional light. By changing the direction the model was facing I could adjust the angle at which the light hit her face - from fully frontal in the first image, to slightly off centre in the later images. A Bowens 500W strobe was used for a bit of fill and to even things out. 

The team behind the shoot:

  • Model: Katrina from Models M
  • Makeup: Jennifer Dimech
  • Designer: Yana's Jewellery
  • Photography: Kurt Paris

 

Taking a good photo with any camera

One of the big changes we've seen in the last few years is that at any given time, most people will have a camera on them. This may be 'just' a mobile phone but we are at a stage where mobiles have become good enough in many situations to create a photo that you can even print and enlarge. Another exciting advancement this month was the release of the Huawei P20 Pro that has a triple camera, 40 megapixel camera (more info on the Huawei P20 here) 

Valletta, Shot on a OnePlus 5

Valletta, Shot on a OnePlus 5

Previous Articles

On this blog i have already talked about some simple tricks in the following articles: 

but lets focus on the device we all have with us everyday: Our phone.

 

Mobile Photography Workflow

Mobile phones like the OnePlus 5, The Samsung S8/S9 have great cameras that are able to capture great images in many conditions. As we try to take pictures in more challenging scenarios then things can get ugly. If we understand the limitations we have and work our way around them then we can help our phone's camera produce better results.

1. Buy the right phone

In the words of 'The sound of music' - "Let's start from the very beginning, a very good place to start". When you are making the choice on which mobile phone to buy, steer clear of the many marketing gimmicks manufacturers will use to tempt you. The laws of physics apply to any camera - bigger sensors (all other things being equal) will produce better photos. They will allow in more light, which leads to better colours, less noise at night and happiness. A lot of happiness. This is something you can easily check since most review sites list the sensor size of the phone's cameras. The Google Pixel, the Samsung Galaxy S9 or upcoming Huawei P20 have a larger physical sensor and this can be seen directly affecting the good scores they receive on DXO Mark (Check out DXOMark mobile for camera reviews)

For landscape lovers: optical image stabilisation, Samsung's new variable aperture system provides high detail in good light

For people & low light Look out for bigger sensors, lenses that will let in lots of light (the smaller the 'f' number, the more light you get), Phase detection autofocus. Dual camera setups with a zoom lens and good bokeh simulation can work nicely here

For everything: Look out for bigger sensors, good scores on review sites like dxomark. Watch out for dual-camera setups - some may bring advantages but more cameras is not always better

2. Shoot first, ask questions later

One of the biggest arguments among photographers, especially ones who have come from the days of film is the "spray & pray" attitude that digital allows. Whilst it is very important to think about what you are shooting and to time the shot correctly... taking multiple shots will increase your chances of getting the perfect one. In mobiles this is particularly effective since the device is more fiddly than an SLR and also has more lag between pressing the shutter button and the shot being taken. This can cause the photo to be blurred due to camera shake, or a subject having his/her eyes closed.

3. Look around you first

Are you shooting in the sun? Is there something really bright/reflective behind you? Are you on something moving? Are you in a very dark area? If you've answered yes to any of those questions then you're putting your phone's camera in a hard place. Look around you - if you are in the sun try and find a spot of shade. The main source of light should ideally be behind you (this will provide the best lighting for your subject). If you are in the dark, is there a bright shop window nearby? or can you turn on some more lighting? These will help the camera choose a setting which will result in better image quality.

4. Know your lens

The main camera on most phones is a 24mm-27mm (ie wide angle) lens. This means that it is quite susceptible to the way you position it towards your subject. For example if you are taking a photo of a person (full body outfit shot for example) - if the camera is held at head height, then this is going to cause the person to look shorter than they are. Moving the camera down to chest or waist height will make them look taller. Taking the photo from near the ground will make them look much taller and also provides an interesting perspective - perfect for showing off those new Gucci Loafers

5. Editing is part of the workflow

Snapseed or VSCO are simple tools that can be used to greatly enhance photos taken by phones. One of the main areas of weakness for mobile phone cameras in my opinion are - White Balance and Noise. Snapseed has a colour picker tool that allows you to click on an area of the image that is neutral (white/gray) and this will automatically adjust the colours of the image accordingly. This will really improve the way the image looks since some lighting systems (like tungsten) can give a yellow/orange colour cast to everything in the photo. 

Noise can be tackled by using contrast and darkening the darker areas of the photo, combined with noise reduction filters. If an image is particularly noisy, converting it to Black and White can help.