With the advent of the digital camera, the default, universal output for all digital photography was suddenly flipped to “color”. And why wouldn't it be? I mean, people only used to shoot black and white back in the film days due to technical limitations, right? Well, yes and no.
Without getting into an exhaustive discussion on the technical and creative status of monochrome photography in modern times, we would like to ask you this: when was the list time (if ever) that you took a picture in B&W from the outset? We don't mean shooting in color and converting afterward, but actually taking the picture in black and white to begin with.
You may be wondering why anyone would do something like that, when you can just have two versions to play around with, and the answer to that would be: because shooting B&W photography requires a different mindset. Taking photos without color forces you to look at the world in a different way, to accentuate different aspects of your shots, to change your typical framing style, and a whole lot more that we won't be getting into (we are not professional photographers, after all.)
With that said, the first time I truly realized how fun it was to shoot black and white from the get-go, was when I got my hands on the Huawei P9 with its excellent second monochrome-only camera. I will include a couple of pictures I took using P9's monochrome mode at the end, just for the sake of motivating you to go out and take some much better ones yourself, using some of the awesome B&W-dedicated camera apps from our list! All these apps have been developed with monochrome photography in mind, and likely feature a lot more options for tinkering with the grayscale than your phone's native camera app.
Let's dive right in!
Android | iOS
Lenka is a straight-to-the point camera app for monochrome photography, available on both Android and iOS. What makes Lenka interesting, is the fact that it doesn't offer post processing functionality and uses only the main shooter on your device. Although these might seem as limitations at first glance, they fit perfectly within Lenka's core concept. The idea here is, you see, to shoot in black and white from the get-go. Not to edit old photos, or convert color shots into B&W, or take artsy selfies, just shoot B&W. Dead-simple, really. Still, Lenka offers you some freedom in the form of slider-based controls for controlling brightness, focus, contrast, and even – gasp – color tint!
All your snaps are saved to your photo roll and Lenka's in-app gallery. Don't forget though – there is no meddling with your shots afterward!