I am not a savvy photographer. I don't have a digital SLR. When my colleagues bought their SLR cameras 12 years ago, I decided to buy a video camera instead. Over the past three years, I've been volunteering as a cameraman for my local church where I'm part of the multimedia team who shoots the videos for our live streaming services every Sunday.
I've always wanted to get more serious into photography, but knowing my own time limitation, I never get any further than using the iPhone as my main camera. Fortunately, the iPhone 4S has a decent camera. I really hope Apple would continue to improve the camera for the next generation iPhones.
If you're using the iPhone for photography, you would probably have your own favorite apps that suit your needs and preferences. I mainly use Camera+ as my main photo taking app. I also use it for simple photo editing alongside Snapseed. I love Camera+'s filters as well, sometimes they are good enough for me that I don't apply the filters provided by Instagram or Path even when I post the photos to these networks. I thought the combination of Camera+ and Snapseed was enough, until I found Hueless.
Hueless is a live black and white camera with professional tools and settings that will help you to take great B&W photographs with your iPhone. Hueless is not a photo editing app where you take a standard colorful photograph and apply the B&W filters on it. Hueless features a live exposure control, contrast control and color filters to give you WYSIWYG photographs.
Even when I have gotten used to editing my photos after I took them, it only took me a while to get used to Hueless' WYSIWYG process that requires no post processing and no delay. Hueless provides easy-to-use scroll bars to adjust the exposure, contrast and color filters live while you're aiming the shot.
If you really think about it, you'd probably agree that the most frequent use cases for a photograph taken from an iPhone is to be uploaded to Instagram or to be printed on a photo paper. Because the native full-screen iPhone size has a weird ratio, you would need to crop your photo to fit Instagram or standard print sizes. Fortunately, Hueless understands this very well. Hueless uses the pinch gestures to indicate that you want to switch from the full-screen native iPhone resolution, down to 3:2 print ratio or 1:1 Instagram ratio, and vice versa.
What makes Hueless outstanding
Taking B&W photographs require a lot of skills. Even though I'm not an expert in this, I know that lighting, focus, exposure, and contrast are key factors for having great B&W photographs. After using Hueless and reading more about B&W photography, I learned that color filters play a crucial role in making your photographs outstanding.
"You don't take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams
If you're new in B&W photography like me, you might want to play with different color filters. Hueless supports five color filters that you can adjust to have different effects to your photograph. My simple explanation for a color filter (e.g. the red filter) would be adjusting the filter to 100 would replace all pixels of the selected color with white and adjusting it to 0 would replace them with black instead. Thinking in RGB and grayscale maybe too hard for us, but fortunately the Hueless developers have provided easy-to-digest rules of thumb for adjusting each color filter.
Finally, Hueless has a great integration with Instagram. Not only can you shoot B&W photographs in 1:1 Instagram-friendly WYSIWYG view, but that photo would transfer instantly to Instagram's filter selection screen. I've tested the latest version of Hueless (1.5) with the latest version of Instagram (3.0). It worked well.
What I love about Hueless
I have taken several shots where I don't particularly consider the real-life colors to be good enough. I usually ended up editing them into B&W. With Hueless, I know exactly what to do when this condition happens, i.e. take the photo using Hueless in the first place.
Another thing that I love about Hueless is the ability to adjust how I take my photos. I am unable to hold the iPhone stable enough to take photographs if I were to tap a virtual button on the screen to trigger the shot, and with Hueless not supporting the volume button, I had my iPhone fell earlier today while I was taking a screenshot for this review. Fortunately, after reading the excellent How-To Guide on Hueless website, I learn about two cool features.
First, you can enable the expanded shutter button mode by tap-and-hold the shutter button. It allows you to tap anywhere on screen to take your photograph instead of the little shutter button on the corner of the screen. You can always toggle it back to the default shutter button mode if you don't like it.
The second feature is probably my favorite feature, i.e. using the same default shutter button to take photographs but changing the way it triggers. Instead of tapping the button, you now hold the button and release it when you're ready to take the shot. This rest-and-release mode is great when you're framing and waiting for the perfect moment to take the shot. I really love this feature. It's now my default mode for taking photos. It's so good that I wish other photo taking apps would do the same. The only catch is you need to go to the built-in Settings app under the Hueless panel to activate this.
I really love Hueless. I agree with a lot of its design decisions such as making the photographs directly stored in the Camera Roll, excluding support for digital zoom and placing some of the more advanced settings in the built-in Settings app. These design decisions help to make the app easier to use and for the resulting photographs have better quality. My only itch is finding a way to integrate Hueless with Launch Center Pro as advertised.
Now, Hueless is my go-to app if I want to take great B&W photographs. I highly recommend Hueless if you love photography and your main gadget is an iPhone.