Magical Single Hues

 
With Snapseed, I first put this image through a black and white filter. Then, I used the Retrolux option which created light leaks and allowed me to add a frame. Photograph/Natasha Desai

With Snapseed, I first put this image through a black and white filter. Then, I used the Retrolux option which created light leaks and allowed me to add a frame. Photograph/Natasha Desai

Black and white cellphone photographs can be processed with just as much control as DSLR photos. Using three popular free photo editing apps, Natasha Desai tells you everything you can do to carve your niche in the genre.

There are several ways of creating exceptional black and white imagery on your cellphone today. If you think that only the paid apps are able to provide the kind of stunning results you yearn for, think again. VSCOCam, Snapseed and Instagram are three of the most popular free photo editing apps available today and are more than adept to help you realise your vision.

What I like the most about VSCO is its Fade option. This gives the image a slightly more flat and dreamy feel. Photograph/Natasha Desai

What I like the most about VSCO is its Fade option. This gives the image a slightly more flat and dreamy feel. Photograph/Natasha Desai

Filled to the Brim
All three apps come with pre-loaded black and white filters. Instagram lets you choose between two filters–Inkwell, which has a slightly darker feel to it than Willow. Snapseed comes with six filters that are incredibly good. They include a basic monochrome look, a dark noir feel and everything in between. Additionally, it offers add-on frames and an insane amount of additional filters to make your images look anything from grungy to vintage. On the other hand, VSCOCam originally comes with three, but you have the option of buying more black and white filter packs.

Exercise Control
Furthermore, all three apps offer you a great amount of control over the basics like exposure and contrast. In Instagram, you can take the Inkwell and Willow filters to a whole new level with inbuilt editing tools. VSCOCam and Snapseed even offer excellent highlight and shadow recovery, and VSCO also gives you option of adding in a fade effect. Snapseed wins in this respect with the option of selective adjustment and a host of other options like HDR, Drama, Center Focus and Tilt Shift.

With Instagram’s Inkwell, you are able to produce a classic black and white image, without any additional distractions to it. Photograph/Natasha Desai

With Instagram’s Inkwell, you are able to produce a classic black and white image, without any additional distractions to it. Photograph/Natasha Desai

Let it Grain
One of the most utilised features when creating black and white images is the addition of grain. Snapseed and VSCOCam both give you the option of adding in as much as you want. However, one man’s grain may be another’s noise.

I personally prefer the aesthetic of VSCOCam’s filters, but, there is an undeniable flexibility in functions that comes with Snapseed. However, if you like simplicity then Instagram is the way to go. It is ultimately, a matter of preference.

This was the original colour photograph that was processed through the three apps. Photograph/Natasha Desai

This was the original colour photograph that was processed through the three apps. Photograph/Natasha Desai

Tags: Black and White photography, cellphone black and white, control, filters, grain, instagram, Snapseed, VSCO Cam