Jul 8, 2014

Mob Street Tuesday - My Favorite Black and White Conversion Apps

I was hoping to have another artist feature ready for Mob Street Tuesday, but it's still in the works so instead, I'm going to devote this post to recommending some of my favorite black and white conversion apps. Much of our street photography is either shot in or converted to black and white, so I am hoping these recommendations come in handy.

If you're not up for buying any more apps, a number of the ones listed below are free so you can give them a try to see if you like them. Also, if I've left off your favorite black and white conversion app, please mention it in the comments. I'd love to know what you prefer!

Below is the original image. This is actually not an iPhone shot, but captured with my Samsung NX300. 

© Geri Centonze
Original Photo © Geri Centonze

Snapseed
My first choice is almost always Snapseed because I begin most of my edits here. Snapseed's black and white module allows you to apply a color filter (Neutral, Red, Orange, Yellow or Green). You can also choose between Presets (Neutral, Contrast, Bright, Dark, Film, Darken Sky). Within this module you can also adjust Brightness, Contrast and Grain by sliding your finger up and down over the image). In Snapseed you also have access to all of the other tools, so it can definitely be a one-stop app. Snapseed FREE on the App Store.

© Geri Centonze
Snapseed 



Monokrom B&W Photo Editor
Up next is Monokrom. It has a unique interface and you can read more about my experience with it here. Monokrom allows you to save presets in Memory so you can apply your favorite settings. Monokrom $0.99 on the App Store.

© Geri Centonze
Monokrom

Below are the position of the disks I used for the Monokrom edit.


VSCO Cam
VSCO Cam has a number of black and white presets and I often use it especially when I want a faded black and white result. You can adjust the intensity of a filter and also crop within the app and make adjustments to exposure, contrast, skin tone, shadows, highlights, temperature, tint, saturation, fade, highlight tint, shadow tint. VSCO Cam FREE on the App Store with in-app purchases available.

© Geri Centonze
VSCO Cam

Stackables
An app you may not think of when you consider black and white conversion is Stackables. The reason I like Stackables is that in addition to the black and white presets, you can create custom formulas and save them. When applied to several photos, this makes a series more cohesive. Here's the image edited with one of my custom B&W formulas. When creating this formula I used one of the colored textures which gives it just a hint of color. Stackables $0.99 on the App Store with in-app purchases available. 

© Geri Centonze
Stackables

Dramatic Black & White
For dramatic effect, you can choose Dramatic Black & White. There are dozens of presets in three different styles to choose from - Black & White, Dramatic B&W and Infrared. You can also save customized formulas. Once you select your preset, you can fine tune the softness, contrast, tint B&W strength, and grain. Try your luck by hitting the randomizer button (two dice at the top right). Dramatic Black & White $1.99 on the App Store. 

© Geri Centonze
Dramatic Black & White 

SimplyB&W
Another app worth investigating for black and white is SimplyB&W which is one of the apps I've had on my iPad the longest. You can select a color filter using the circle on the lower left (none, red, green, blue, yellow, orange - there are even details on what each filter will do when applied). In the center of the control panel at the bottom you'll find the Vignette and Border settings. And on the right using the film icon you can adjust brightness, contrast and grain. SimplyB&W Free on the App Store. 

© Geri Centonze
SimplyB&W
Analog Film
Analog Film has a whopping 72 black and white presets. After a while you can get confused, but if it's choice you want, you'll find them here. After selecting a preset you have a full toolbox available to do everything from crop to adjust highlights and add light leaks and dust & scratches! Analog Film $2.99 on the App Store.

© Geri Centonze
Analog Film
Black & White Master
Black & White Master has twenty-two presets and once selected just slide your finger up and down to adjust the contrast and left to right to adjust brightness. Black & White Master Free on the App Store with in-app purchase.

© Geri Centonze
Black & White Master - Pure Preset

The Cool Cam
Cool Cam isn't really a black and white conversion app but it does have one preset, Remix, that gives consistently good results. After selecting it you can then adjust the Brightness, Contrast and Saturation. The Cool Cam Free on the App Store.

© Geri Centonze
The Cool Cam

So, what is your favorite black and white app?

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

10 comments:

  1. Hi Geri,


    I use most of these apps. One additional I want to mention is Leonardo. Leonardo has Channel Mixer, which allows you to selectively decide how much of each basic color you want to mix to achieve B&W conversion.


    But my secret sauce is Image Blender. I would usually do two B&W conversions using different color filters, and blend them together using Blender. Eg. use red filter for skin and the sky and neutral filter for the rest. Try it! You'll be surprised!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's such a great secret tip! I'll have to try it! I also need to take another look at Leonardo. I don't think i have given it a fair chance

    ReplyDelete
  3. A very useful article for all !!! Thank you also for featuring our The Cool Cam.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You're welcome Marcia. I love the tones of your black and white Remix preset!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My fav. was Alt photo. Always liked snapseed, monokrom is awesome. I love Oggl too, I recently discovered the combo Watts and US1776 . I like to combine too, for example infinicam (grain a greenish filter) then make it bnw in swankolab or in combination with monokrom.. But it is my taste I am not a bnw expert. But what i do know it has to be black bnw and not purple kinda bnw, that happens sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. now that I have my new camera I want to take more portraits. Thanks for all your app recommendations

    ReplyDelete
  7. Alt Photo almost made the cut - I still use it but not as often as I used to. Oggl I like but I find it tedious to scroll through filters and wait for them to load. I wish it happened faster. I guess I'm spoiled with other apps that have a speedier interface.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're welcome - As you know I'm an app junkie!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Another that almost made the cut is Perfect B&W - I do use it too and it's in my BW Folder on my iPad. Good recommendation!

    ReplyDelete


 photo copyright.jpg
envye template.