Well, it isn't perfect but is probably the best option if you want to avoid Photoshop and keep your workflow within Apple's Photos for macOS.
If you've been reading my blog, you know that I shoot everything on my iPhone (currently an iPhone XS Max). This means that, for now, dark sections of photos often end up with noise. This is something that the latest Google Pixel apparently handles much better, so we can expect that the issue will be solved to some degree either in a future software update (if feasible) or in the next iPhone to be released in late 2019.
In the meantime, there are several ways to deal with noise if you're not a Photoshop guru:
- Apple's Photos for macOS has some de-noising capability, but it applies it to the entire image and isn't intelligent.
- BeFunky has a great "DeNoise DLX" filter which you can paint on to a section of an image selectively and adjust its intensity and opacity. Problem is, it's web-based, so you can't use it from Apple Photos and keep the original version of the photo. You'll have to export your image, upload it to BeFunky, do the edits, download/save, and then re-import to Apple Photos.
- Topaz Labs' DeNoise AI tool does its best to only de-noise the parts that need it, restore detail, and add sharpness where required. It's just had a significant update a few days ago.
Denoise AI isn't perfect but is the best option I have right now, and so I've been using it on most photos lately. It worked quite well on the darker sections of this quick snap I took in Tokyo's Ueno Station.
Then, as has been my habit lately, I made some artsy versions using Prisma AI: