Banding after export from Lightroom to JPEG

Is there a solution to prevent banding in an image after export from LR?

Someone in my camera club recommended to set JPG quality for export to 95-100%. Also suggested to look for You Tube tutorials about how to fix banding.

I remember seeing a tip about reducing color noise to address that.

The article in this link contains a lot of good information.

Are you 100% sure there is no banding in the original TIFF file? Because if there is banding in the original, it may be due to using an 8 bit instead of 16 bit workflow, and you should switch to a 16 bit workflow.

Sometimes aggressive contrast adjustments in post-processing can exacerbate banding issues. You do a lot of high contrast B&W work, and may need to be careful with strong contrast adjustments to skies.

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Thank you @Ed_McGuirk @BrettOssman @Chris_Baird . Ed, the article was particularly helpful.

Mario, did you figure out if the issue with your posted image was due to using 8 bit processing, or was it just pushing sky contrast too hard? I’m just curious…


I reposted a few images with noted changes with exporting. My understanding is LR processes raw files, which is what I shoot and bring into LR, in 16 bit mode. I export jpegs for posting on NPN. Shoould I be doing something differently?

Your process is the same as mine. RAW files come into Lr, get worked and exported as sRGB jpegs. Quality at 100%. Pixel size varies from 2000-3000 on the long edge depending on my whim. Sharpen for web set at low. So far I haven’t had issues. The rest of your images don’t seem to have this problem, so maybe it’s something specific to the way you’ve processed this one. ?? :woman_shrugging:t3:

Thanks Kristen

I think now that it is the processing on this image and another image with large sky component to the shot. Wondering if changing to shooting in adobe RGB from sRGB will make a difference or is necessary.

I’ve heard or read to always shoot in Adobe RGB to capture everything you can. Then process for output as required. So, might be worth try.

My workflow is in-camera capture in Adobe RGB, set Lightroom and Photoshop to the Pro Photo RGB color spaces, and process all PS TIFFS in 16 bit. This preserves the most amount of tones, since banding is due to not having enough tones to get smooth gradations in skies. If the original capture/raw conversion was done in sRGB, then thats the likely culprit of the banding.

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The in camera setting of either Adobe RGB or sRGB only matters if you are capturing images a JPEGS. It has zero effect on the RAW file if you are shooting in RAW.

That said, I set my cameras to Adobe RGB since it allows the preview jpeg that you see on the back of the camera to come closer to showing the range of colors and tonal values to what the RAW file data actually contains. It is important to import RAW files using the widest color gamut available (Pro Photo) to allow the most flexibility with the data. Pro Photo is the default color space if you are using LightRoom. It is also important to set up your workflow in Photoshop and/or Adobe Camera RAW to also use the widest color gamut available. Eventually creating output to sRGB for web output is needed, but obviously the original RAW file is left untouched in that process.

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I just saw this and was about to reply when I saw @Keith_Bauer pretty well covered it. The article cited above is a bit more complicated than it needs to be, although the after-the-problem fix using LAB color space is worth trying.

If I may, let me summarize and add a bit:

Keith is quite right about the camera color space – it only applies to a JPEG capture.
Shoot in RAW.
Do your raw conversion in LR or ACR – it works in an equivalent of ProPhoto space, to preserve all the tonal range your camera can capture. (Other high-end converters should be the same.)
If you make drastic tonal changes to an area with a limited tonal range, such as darkening a sky, you will eventually cause posterization (often called banding) but you can go farther in a raw converter than you can after you have opened an image in PS, even if you open it in 16 bits.
If you export a file to PS be certain you open it in 16 bits.

In PS, the choice between ProPhoto, Adobe RGB or sRGB color space is about the range of colors available, but does not change the range of tones. That is set by the bit depth – 8 or 16 bits. I’m not certain that a wider color range could “conceal” posterization to any extent, but anyone is free to point out if I’m wrong.

One caveat to using ProPhoto is that it is possible to bring out colors that can’t be displayed on any current monitor (the best ones today are basically AdobeRGB gamut) or printed. In printing, or conversion to JPEG, a conversion process will need to move colors into the gamut of sRGB or the printer. That will be done automatically, or the user can intervene with custom choices. For web display I doubt the choices would make a noticeable difference, but for high-end printing it is worth jumping through the hoops.

Thnak you @Keith_Bauer @Ed_McGuirk and @Diane_Miller for your additional input.