Photons (particles of light) are famously noise-free. Unlike matter (atoms, molecules) photons do not interact with their environment without either absorption or great effort via optical non-linearity. This is traditionally celebrated for the clear benefits for quantum technology. However, controlled noise in quantum photonics is much sought after as a tool for simulating natural systems and characterizing noisy environments. We have developed the theory and experimental schemes for controlled noise implementation and characterization. This will impact on fundamental science and information and communication technology, including environment noise evaluation, error correction trials, and testing quantum-enhanced information security.