I like things simple. I strive for simplicity, generally, in my life and definitely in my photo processing workflow. This is particularly true for my mobile photography. For me, shooting with my iPhone is all about the sharing. Instagram is my favourite social network and I don’t like to take too much time or too many steps between shot and share. As a result, although I have a whole page of photo apps on my phone, for months I almost exclusively shot directly in Instagram. Then, this spring Visual Supply Co released their VSCO CAM app for iPhone, and I was hooked.

VSCO CAM suits me perfectly. It’s simple, quick and helps me produce a photo with a look that really suits me, like this one

The VSCO CAM app offers 5 basic filters (3 black and white and 2 colour), inspired by classic film types. This is how the app looks when you take or import in a photo (I’m a lover of squares so I usually shoot in the 6×6 app and import to VSCO CAM, though you can shoot directly in the app):

In addition to squares, I also love colour so I usually choose filter 04 or 05. Once you choose the filter, the app allows for one more level of customization.

Above is the image with filter 04 applied. Nice, but I like to play with this second level of processing, which allows you to adjust levels of Fade/desaturization, Grain, Contrast, Warmth and Fill Light. Within each of these categories the app is again very simple. In Fade, for example, you have four degrees of desaturization to choose from. Here’s my photo at a level 2:

These days I like for my Instagram photo stream to have a similar, cohesive look so I have a bit of a “recipe” for these processes that I tend to apply to all my photos, more or less. So after a bit of this and a bit of that, here’s the finished image:

VSCO CAM then gives you the option of adding the photo to your photostream (including an option for a high-res version) or you can share it straight to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or e-mail. Here’s a mosaic of fall colours that I shot and processed last week with VSCO CAM:

Since, as I said above, I’m a lover of colour, I reached out to my fellow VSCO CAM-loving Muses for some examples of the app’s B/W filters.

1. Untitled, 2. Shaping Up, 3. by Kirstin McKee, 4. my personal fave of the day #paris, 5. Leftovers, 6. “our table” for scones 

In addition to the look and ease-of-use of the app, I also like what VSCO is doing around supporting a VSCO CAM community and featuring inspiring photographers that use their app. When you export a photo from VSCO CAM to Instagram, the subject line comes automatically populated with a #vscocam hashtag. You can remove it when you post but I’ve found that leaving it in has drawn some new people to my Instagram stream and has allowed me to “discover” some talented iPhoneographers to follow. VSCO does a Weekly Selects feature on their site where they choose some inspiring photos from the hashtag pool. The VSCO site also features a number of photographers that use the VSCO CAM app, including some of my Instagram favourites like Nicole Franzen and Bonnie Tsang.

And all this for just 99 cents! So do you love VSCO CAM as much as I do? Please share in the comments and, as always we welcome you to add your images to the Mobile Monday Flickr pool and to use the #instamuse hashtag on Instagram.

Debra ~ Manifeisty