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App Reviews

Elevate Your Mobile Photography with VSCO Cam

Type: Photos, Images, Social Networking

Photography's evolution has been impressive since the beginning of the digital age. From the point-and-shoot to the DSLR and eventually the smartphones, what used to be a circle only for the professionals expanded to include hobbyists and novices. The darkroom transformed to Lightroom, and techniques only known by seasoned photographers became one-tap filters in the plethora of photo sharing apps.

VSCO (Visual Supply Co) Film has been providing filters for digital software products such as Lightroom and Aperture. In 2012, VSCO released VSCO Cam for Apple. For some, who had no idea what VSCO was, it was just another fish in the ocean of photo editing apps. Nevertheless, with its free set of unique and default filters, VSCO was already on its way to becoming better. A few updates later, VSCO Cam boasted new features such as in-store purchases of their expanding filter collections, user profiles, and a sharing platform called the Grid.

Just like any photo, VSCO Cam is best seen not mentioned.

With the addition of its new features, a menu was finally added.

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The Home page has two tabs: the following feed and your profile. Photos by VSCO Cam users you follow appear on the following feed.

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The profile tab allows you to share a photo from your library and view your VSCO gallery.

Your profile will have its web version as well, with a beautiful, minimalistic style.

The Grid page brings the VSCO Grid, a curated minimalist publishing platform, where the best photos are featured. You can search for tags from within the page.

Blog posts from the VSCO team are shown in the Journal page, which you can share to other social networks and media.

On to my favorite part, the Store page. Aside from the default filters included with the installation, there are a few collections for free. Some filters are put up on sale, while others are reasonably priced starting from $1.99.

The filters in the collection are good, and you are presented example photographs of each one before you decide to purchase. Personally, I have the least interest in black and white so I skip those filters often.

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The Library page contains the photos you took with the camera using the app and those you imported from your camera roll.

You can change the size of the thumbnails if they are too small for your eyes.

You can choose multiple photos to share elsewhere.

Choose one photo, and go to edit mode to apply a filter.

A one-stop filter shop and one-tap filter application are not the only highlights of VSCO Cam. The app provides an easy to learn yet powerful editing tools to enhance your photos beyond their preset filters.

Pros: Excellent filters, good editing tools, and a curated sharing platform (VSCO Grid) appeal to serious mobile photographers.

Cons: Users may get discouraged to find out the rest of the filters are not free (I'm reaching, I know).

Summary: VSCO Cam is a standout among the mobile photo apps available in the market. It's a good alternative to Instagram which can sometimes feel crowded with noise. Quality of the filters add a touch of professionalism to image. And the VSCO Grid presents a challenge to non-serious and rookie mobile photographers to up their game.