The formation of holographic gratings in silver halide emulsions is limited by scattering from photosensitive grains embedded in these materials. The most serious consequence of this effect is a sharp reduction in the diffraction efficiency of a volume hologram reconstructed at the formation angle. This has been attributed to a noise grating, resulting from the interference between a beam illuminating the emulsion and scattered light. Although the presence of these gratings has previously been reported, their dependence on the relative orientation of the polarization of the construction and reconstruction beams has not been discussed. This report shows that the correct relative polarization orientation reduces the detrimental effects of these gratings and improves the efficiency of holograms formed in silver halide emulsions. © 1988, Optical Society of America.