I donwloaded Noir Photo, and the next thing I knew an hour had passed, and I had missed my lunch date. This is one of the coolest, most valuable photo apps I have used. At $2.99, it is pricey, relatively speaking, but I paid it happily, because it not only helps you create fabulous light effects, it’s fun to use.
Noir is not a full editing tool. When you open a photo in Noir, it renders it B&W, and then you can tune where the light in the photo should be by masking an area, and then using spin controls for setting exactly what levels you want for foreground, background, contrast, and brightness. The controls are unique and fun to use, letting you use explicit micro-adjustments. There are also 6 pre-sets, and 4 tint options. If you want to crop, add a vignette, get a scratch effect, etc., you’ll have to save the pic and open in another editor. But that’s really a quibble, because the kind of images you create with Noir (the publisher calls it “telling a story”) are NOT the kind of images you need to grunge up.
As a lifetime B&W photographer, I am thrilled to be able to get the dodge-and-burn effects of a darkroom on an iPhone. And as my editing skills improve, I must say: I no longer mind opening an image in 2 or sometimes even 3 different apps to get slightly different tweaks or effects. As you get faster with these, and really learn the different tools, you come to appreciate the uniqueness of what each app offers. Who wants a one-size solution? I can easily save an image in one app and in a few taps, open it in another, do a few effects there, save it, and switch back to the first.
Here are some images I have presented in previous posts, all reworked in Noir. These are my first attempts with Noir, but as you can see, it is easy to get good results quickly if you know what you are going after. For each of these, I wanted to emphasize faces to maximize the expressions. Noir makes it easy to draw the viewer’s eye to exactly where you want it.