Whenever it comes to filters or presets for making stunning images and posting them on Instagram, the only name that comes to my mind is VSCO The Best Filter App.
VSCO is a mobile app that allows you to edit and apply filters to your photos and instantly share them to its own and other social networks. It has been picking up steam ever since the VSCO started to get validated by famous social media influencers and excited teenagers. It is true indeed that if you use VSCO, your images are going to stand out on social media platforms.
Before this development, VSCO made high-quality Photoshop filter plug-ins for professional photographers. Now, the company has abandoned those products in favor of this social app. It’s a bit artsier than the dominant photo-sharing app, Instagram. Something which is special is that it has long avoided some of that app’s peer pressure by not showing total likes—a strategy that Instagram only recently started testing.
VSCO’s minimal, intuitive interface belies powerful photo-shooting and photo editing tools. It’s simple, and its intuitive nature makes it suitable for everyone. Be it a beginner, everyone can use it at great ease. It also offers great looking web galleries for your images, but VSCO lacks anywhere near Flickr or Instagram’s social interaction features.
As mentioned, the company behind the app has a history with professional photo editing software, most notably Film, which reproduces the looks of analog film photos. It now puts that expertise to use in this appealing app. Though the social media platform of VSCO is not so renowned, it definitely beats any other filter apps.
Once you’re all signed up and have granted all the general permissions, you can start following “creators”—the app suggests some get you started. It is like making you comfortable. Across the bottom of the screen, there are five app navigation options:
- Studio (the camera part)
You can add a profile image, but surprisingly, especially for a camera app, there isn’t the option to shoot a selfie within the app for this. It may seem funny, but it is what it is.
In Discover, there’s a Flora section that includes animals as well as plants. Discover offers a search function; When I searched for birds, there was nothing near the wealth of bird photography available on Flickr. You may consider it as a drawback.
A surprisingly large portion of the images on VSCO is of young women facing away from the camera, with their backs to the viewer. Maybe this emerged because of the sudden trend amongst teenagers. Thankfully, the service is nearly free of the memes found on Instagram. It’s more about appealing photos. VSCO has its own class of aesthetic images.
You can browse feeds curated by VSCO staff in the Discover section. These include:
- Beach, and more.
You can also search based on tags and usernames on the Discover tab.
Unlike in Instagram, double-tapping a VSCO photo doesn’t favor it. Instead, it opens a larger view of the image where you can star, reshare, or send the image to a VSCO contact. VSCO embraces the quality of images to a great extent. That whole process makes for a less quick-browsing and -favoriting experience than you get with Instagram. Another quibble is that the favorite star only switches from a black outline to a dark blue outline, so it’s hard to tell at a glance whether you’ve favorited a shot or not.
As I said before, VSCO is mostly about the filters, but it does offer basic image adjustment options such as exposure, contrast, and color saturation. You can easily avail of these features and make great use of them if you know the basics of photo editing.
Shadow and highlight adjustments are buried under the Tone button—these are essential for anyone serious about photo editing, or just those who need to bring a face out from the shadows. The Lightroom mobile app is far more powerful, with selective edits for parts of the image, spot healing, and dehaze (which can also add haze). If comparing the editing features, Lightroom is better. But in terms of filters, VSCO is definitely better.
Even though I said that VSCO is mostly about the filters, non-paid users only get ten of these which is another drawback. The filters have unmemorable names like B1, G3, and M5. It’s doubtful that M5 will one day gain the fame of Instagram filters like Amaro, Hefe, and Mayfair. These names make them unique and seem more aesthetic.
There are only ten filters included in the free app, but you can purchase additional filters in sets starting at 99 cents which is worth spending. There are even a couple of free effect downloads that look pretty good.
One advantage over Instagram is that VSCO’s effects include sliders that let you adjust their strength. But you don’t get Instagram’s cool selective blur tool (aka “tilt-shift”) that lets you set off your photograph’s subject.
Happily, you can choose an existing image in your camera roll to VSCO’s editing and effects, unlike some photo apps that only work for pictures shot inside the app. (This is thankfully becoming less common.)
The Crop tool lets you pick from among popular aspect ratios, and the rotation tool lets you use a slider to adjust the photo’s leveling. You can also skew a photo, thereby warping its geometry on a 3D angle. You can do any sort of experiment you want to. You can manually edit the image, or you can apply the presets and change the way the image looks.
It is always worth trying something new. If you don’t like it, you will definitely gain some experience.
So get the VSCO, create some amazing masterpieces, and let us know about it in the comment section.