It’s ironic that as digital photographers, we spend a lot of time in processing to duplicate the look of film in our photos. I’ve found very few apps that achieve the look and texture of analog films that I used to shoot with.

One of my favorite photo apps is FILM LAB. Despite its flaws, it’s a very impressive app that recreates the tonal qualities of a wide range of film stocks. The one thing it is missing, though is film grain.

There are many apps that try to add noise to simulate film grain in a digital photo. I’ve found that the noise introduced by many of these apps is disappointing and just too harsh. I feel Hipstamatic, the ClassicCamera apps from misskiwi, and Spica Super Monochrome are among the exceptions — the noise these apps add produces a natural-looking film grain. But your processing options are limited with all three of these apps.

Tiffen Photo fx is rapidly becoming one of my go-to apps. Hidden away in the Wild fx tab are 27 adjustable film grain effects, separated by film type and ISO (ASA) speed. By first processing in FILM LAB and then Photo fx, I can easily achieve more realistic analog film effects. Because FILM LAB saves out at 3 MP maximum, the images can be printed as well as being displayed online.

I use FILM LAB to get the look and tonal qualities of a particular film. I then match it up to a comparable ISO grain in Photo fx for some pretty realistic analog-looking images, complete with the tonal shifts and grain of analog film! To process the image above, I used the AGFA Scala 200 effect from FILM LAB combined with the 5274 200ASA film grain from Photo fx. For this image, I went for a more subtle grain, but Photo fx gives you plenty of options from subtle grain to chunky.



Related links: FILM LAB |   Tiffen Photo fx |   Life In LoFi’s FILM LAB review