Being a recent convert to the iPhone from android, one of the first apps I installed and started playing with was Hipstamatic. I very quickly became a big fan of the app, especially their newly released Oggl app. Knowing where to begin with Hipstamatic was somewhat daunting due to the number of available films and lens combinations.

During my research I reached out to the mobile photography community to seek recommendations from other iphone photographers regarding their favourite Hipsta-Styles. It very quickly became clear there was one winning combination above all the rest, namely, the film BlacKeys with either John S or Jane lenses.

From my own use of this film/lens combo I found the results it provides closely match the sort of look and feel that I’m aiming to achieve. I find I very rarely need to edit the images it produces in other apps such as Snapseed. It’s a simple case of compose and expose which if you have an old school approach to your photography this is the ideal.

Walk on by by Andy Butler

Walk on by by Andy Butler

In this week’s Hipstamatic feature I talked to Mark T Simmons and Maddy McCoy, both of whom are big fans of BlacKeys Supergrain and the John S and Jane Lenses.

Mark T Simmons: Jane and John S Lens with BlacKeys SuperGrain

Mark T Simmons has been an avid mobile photographer since buying my first iPhone about 6 months ago. However, in those 6 months Mark has been capturing a lot of attention and making quite a name for himself with his work appearing regularly on many prominent websites such as and

Mark is a big fan of Hipstamatic so for this series of articles he was one of my first ports of call to find out which are his favourite Hipstamatic film and lens combinations to use. I asked Mark about his views and experiences with Hipstamatic – this is what he said.

I now shoot predominantly in black and white, in a more photojournalist style on the streets of London. Originally my work was centred on the London Underground, creating a series of images about what I see down there and a world that exists that people don’t always notice while using the network.

I have been using Hipstamatic for around 6 months now. Initially, I wasn’t overly impressed as I didn’t like the fact that you were never too sure of the result you were going to get once you took the shot. I realised that was due to not knowing how to choose the right combination for the type of shot I wanted. Now, the way that my photography has changed to more a photojournalist/street style, I shoot with nothing else. While sometimes I use additional processing apps, such as Snapseed, the majority of my images now are non-edited Hipstamatic and I feel the work is better for it.

John S lens and BlacKeys SuperGrain

I think virtually every mobile photographer loves this combination. It just produces the most amazing contrasts in the black and white and gives a very cinematic feel to the images.

Ghost World by Mark T Simmons

Ghost World by Mark T Simmons

My images of the underground are about me creating my own world down there. With Ghost World I wanted to convey a sense of movement and depth within the image. An isolated world but one where we are bombarded with advertising at every opportunity.

Jane lens and BlacKeys SuperGrain

I shoot 90% in B&W and so this is probably not the most exciting combination but I find the Jane lens has a clarity and sharpness that I really like and when combined with the BlacKeys SuperGrain film creates a dark, glossy tone to the image.

Inside Looking Out by Mark T Simmons

Inside Looking Out by Mark T Simmons

Brick Lane has some amazing street art and this one by Bom K and Liliwenn is probably my favourite piece in London. I wanted to use the Jane Lens this time as its sharpness was perfect to pull out all the detail in this fantastic piece of art. I waited a long time for the subject in my image to come along, someone in a world of their own unaware of what was behind them.

Maddy McCoy: JohnS Lens with BlacKeys SuperGrain

Maddy McCoy is a mother, historian and professional genealogist from Virginia, usa. Her work has been exhibited at numerous exhibitions across the globe including the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA), the inaugural LA Mobile Arts Festival (LAMAF), The Overpass Gallery in Loano, Italy, The Lunch Box Gallery in Miami, Florida and most recently at The Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York. Maddy has also received an honorable mention in the Landscape Category at the 2012 IPPA (iPhone Photography Awards) and three honorable mentions in the 2013 Mobile Photography Awards. As if this isn’t enough she is also a columnist for “Streets Ahead: Women’s Mobile Street Photography” on The

Compared to Mark T Simmons, Maddy McCoy is a veteran of the Hipstamatic app and has been using it for about 2 ½ years. Like Mark and many others her favourite film/lens combination is BlacKeys SuperGrain with the John S lens because of the broody, darkness that the combo provides especially the shadows it creates. I asked Maddy to tell us about a couple of her favourite photographs which use this combination to full effect.

The Wedding by Maddy McCoy

The Wedding by Maddy McCoy

I just happened upon this beautiful sight when I was at a botanical garden. I love the aura of mystery that the JohnS-BlacKeys SuperGrain combo brings to this image. I love how her wedding dress pops out the image. I love the juxtaposition of the darkness with a wedding scene.

The Farm by Maddy McCoy

The Farm by Maddy McCoy

A dramatic sky is always made more dramatic with JohnS-BlacKeys SuperGrain. I do shoot with other Hipstamatic black & white combos, but JohnS-BlacKeys adds heaviness to images that I really like. Really, it’s all about the drama!

What’s your favourite combo?

I’m looking to continue this series and feature more Hipstamatic photographers, their work and favourite film and lens combos. If you would like to be featured, story to tell and an outstanding selection of Hipstamatic iphone photography to showcase then get in touch.

Alternatively let us know you favourite film and lens combinations in the comments below.