Noir Photo Review

Monochrome With Feeling

by Pu on May 2, 2011

Film noir is a denomination associated with crime films from the 40’s and 50’s. Although the term is commonly identified with Hollywood’s production, examples of film noir can be found before and after the aforementioned two decades and outside Hollywood. As a matter of fact, many of the most renown film noir directors were émigrés, especially from Austria, Germany and Eastern Europe, who arrived in America in the late 20’s and 30’s as a consequence of the political turmoil preceding World War II. You have probably heard of Josef von Sternberg, Fritz Lang, Michael Curtiz, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder and, of course, Alfred Hitchcock. These are just a few of the most representative names that come to mind speaking of film noir.

Categorization of film noir is nothing but a vague notion and in some cases, cinema critics and historians have contrasting opinions. Even if we accept the point of view of those that consider film noir a genre on its own, there is no such thing as common ground when it comes to style and motifs. However, most examples of film noir are characterized by well-defined stylistic traits, first of all the extreme use of low-key lighting and the highly eloquent use of black and white.

Red Giant‘s Noir Photo takes inspiration both for its name and for its idea from film noir’s highly stylized looks. There are those taking snapshots just for fun and those wanting their photos to convey a feeling or tell a story. Noir Photo will delight the latter group.

Main Features

  • Full resolution available;
  • Six presets;
  • Adjustable contrast and exposure;
  • Adjustable vignetting;
  • Save custom presets;
  • In-app guide.

Appotography Opinion

Given the expertise of Red Giant, it’s not a surprise the UI of Noir Photo works so smoothly and everything is so simple and user-friendly. The app presents a very straightforward approach to photo editing: in a single screen, you have access to all the necessary features. A concise in-app guide is included for reference.

Noir Photo universal app by Red Giant Software

You upload a photo from your device. As a starting point, you have six presets ready for use. If you prefer, you can make your own presets by setting each parameter according to your personal need.  The app not only allows quick conversion of pictures into rich black and white monochrome, but also easy relighting, which is particularly important for granting photos a highly stylized, expressive effect.

The three dials representing three different parameters, with values ranging from 0 to 100, are at the core of Noir magic: Contrast, Inner and Outer Exposure. Each of these settings will influence your picture’s lighting. By playing with their values, you can have your photo look like average black and white or extremely contrasted and highly dramatic.

Vignetting is another crucial element in Noir Photo. Vignetting changes when you adjust Inner and Outer Exposure values, but it’s by pinching to enlarge and contract it or by moving it around that you actually affect the photo. The four available color tints are the final touch to widen the possible combinations and the effects you can achieve. The preview lets you know in every moment how your photo will look like.

Noir Photo universal app by Red Giant Software

It’s undeniable that Noir Photo’s developer’s expertise shows in the app’s incredible sleekness and in its well-balanced consistency. The interface not only is conceived to allow immediate use, but, as I said before, it actually works very smoothly. What one could object is the fact options are not many, especially for the app’s price tag. Some more freedom in choosing tints or in arranging more light sources, for instance, would increase the app’s value.


Name: Noir Photo
Developer: Red Giant
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad. iOS 4.0 or later.
Price: £1.79||$2.99||€2.39
Vote: 4/5

Noir Photo - Red Giant Software

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