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
Thanks for sharing this, Debra – such gorgeous images you’re getting out of this app. If it’s one thing that could tempt me from Android to the iPhone, it would be iPhone-only photo apps like VSCO – guess I’ll have to hold out hope that they’ll release it for Android some day 🙂
i love vsco cam! and was pleasantly surprised to find out the other day that it (the current version, at least), actually has 7 colour filters! you just scroll horizontally and the continue from 6-10. so so fun. i think my new fave is #7
SEVEN!! I’m just so used to my usual recipe I didn’t pay much attention to the latest update. Looking forward to trying them! Thanks.
Like you, I don’t like to do a lot of processing on my shots. And I shoot 99% of my iPhone pictures with 6X6! I love square pictures! And I love that app! I’ve heard the buzz about VSCO cam but don’t have it , yet. Sounds like I might have to give it a try!
I love the VSCO app; I use it on a very regular basis, not only for the basic filters, but also for fine tuning my pictures too. Their blog is also a source of much goodness and inspiration. I look forward to searching through the VSCO hashtag for yet more inspiration!
I wasn’t getting much out of this app so I had to delete it from my phone. May have to revisit it. Also going to check out 6X6. Great post-thanks!
when oh when are we getting VSCO in android phones …
wonderful!! i too am in love with the vsco app and use it often, well, probably all the time!!! this was great reading and so fun to know your process!!!
great review! i love vsco too.
along with scrolling over for more filters, the app allows for scrolling over beyond fill light…to a few more editing options!
love your fall mosaic. love.
Thanks for that! I never think about horizontal scrolling! More to play with.
Great review Debra! It took me forever to learn that there were more filters too! I often love #8 & 9! I’ll look forward to sharing in your process on our trip! xo
I looked at the other filters last night and I think I still like 4 and 5 the best! We’ll see though. I expect lots of VSCO CAM in the desert!
i love how you work this app so well debra. thanks for the great post. i usually use VSCO for my BW but i’ll have to try some color too.
Bought it-love it!
Such lovely photographs! If you don’t mind, what is your process for achieving the soft tones in those nature shots? I seem to love filter 4 and 5 best, but I have a harder time with the softer, more saturated tones. Please, share your wisdom. Thanks!
I hope VSCO CAM in android
VSCO CAM needs to be in the Google Play store. ASAP, THIS IS TORTURE.