Add film grain to photos
Make a high-contrast picture more photogenic with a touch of grain
Give sharp photos a more classic appearance
Speak to any dedicated photographer and they’ll spell out, possibly in tedious detail, the importance of taking clean,
grain-free images. The problem: as cameras shoot in dimmer and dimmer light – indoors, say, or after the sun has gone down – they increase their sensitivity to light, with a concomitant increase in the amount of noise, or grain, present in an image. Grainy images are a bugbear for photographers because they make photographs appear less sharp.
However, grainy images are a hallmark of vintage photography. Flick through any coffee table book produced until the late ’90s and every image will have plenty of film grain. This can be evocative, giving photos a sense of time that sterile, uber-clean images can lack.
Creating effective, grainy black-and-white images requires a few different skills. An understanding of how Affinity Photo’s filters works will get the grainy effect done, and knowing how to use the channel mixer can create black and white images much better than simply choosing Document > Colour Format > Greyscale. Being able to work with layers will also help – we’ll aim, by the end of the process, to have produced an Affinity Photo file that can be reverted to its original state, or edited further if you want to.
The critical place to start, though, is with a strong image that will work well with a monochromatic, grainy finish. This is by no means all images: some portraits will look distinctly unflattering in black and white, while some landscapes will lose all their pizazz the moment you knock the colour out of them.
For decent black-and-white images, look for shots in your catalogue (or, better yet, go and take new ones) that have high contrast; that is, areas of dark shadow as well as areas of bright highlights. Cameras often struggle with this type of image, and using black and white as a treatment can make the most of images shot in poor light. It’s also worth thinking about the fact that grainy black-andwhite shots are evocative of a particular time in photographic history – think reportage