The High Tech Society

A Review of VSCO Photo App


A Review of VSCO Photo App

For professional and amateur photography hobbyists, VSCO is a film pack for Lightroom and other Adobe software (There are 7 packs available on Amazon) for creating film effects. However, the company also has an app for everyone, combining elements of photo editing, a camera with more features, and a variety of editing options for both Android and iOS. While the iOS version is the better of the two apps, that is the one we will be reviewing. While VSCO actually has three apps for iOS (VSCO, Artifact Uprising, and DSCO)  we will be reviewing VSCO. (DSCO is a gif maker, and Artifact Uprising is an app for accessing the VSCO app photo book options in its own app).

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What is the VSCO Photo App?

The VSCO app has a lot to offer for photographers, including a built in camera, some of the best filters out there available in free and for purchase packs, photo printing in case you want to add your photos to photo albums or merchandise, photo editing, and a photo sharing platform similar to Instagram. While all of this might seem (and is at first) a little overwhelming, it’s relatively easy to familiarize yourself with the app, either with a bit of poking around using a few photos you don’t care about, or with a few YouTube tutorials.

VSCO, VSCO Cam, VSCO app, VSCO photo editing, VSCO review

Interface – This is the worst part of the app, even if it does look pretty. VSCO’s interface is very minimalist, so it can take some time to figure out all of the buttons, or even what you can do with the app.

VSCO, VSCO Cam, VSCO app, VSCO photo editing, VSCO review

The Camera – The iPhone camera already has a lot of preset options, but the VSCo app adds a little more customization. With features like two finger swipe for focusing on multiple items, three flash modes, different shapes, white balance lock, and unique features like moving color balance from one photo to another, it’s fairly interesting, and allows some additional features that the iOS camera does not on its own, especially if you’re not using the iPhone 6.


Photo Feed – The Grid (as it’s called on VSCO) is a bit of a disappointment, unless you want to look at pretty photos. Unlike Instagram, it’s completely curated by VSCO, which means that it’s not engaging, you can’t be on it unless you’re featured, and you can’t choose who to follow or what to see. It’s also not very interactive, with no way to start a conversation.


Free Filter Packs – There are a couple of free filter packs you can use, and they’re fairly good. In fact, you can download multiple free packs from the store. Filters are mostly fairly subtle, but offer good effects, with color brightening, and a lot of relatively natural looks, ideal for nature, landscape, and item photography. This is a huge contrast to many other photo filter apps, which primarily offer selfie filters. While many of these filters are also good for selfies, they also work for just about anything else you can photograph. One of the best features about the filters is that you can adjust the intensity.


Photo Editing – If you can find it (which will take a bit of exploration at first) VSCO offers some pretty in depth photo editing built in, with options for shadows, skin tones, contrast, highlights, highlight tones, and much more. It’s second only to Photoshop’s free app that we’ve tested, although that still comes out on top with a grain reducer (really who wants to add grain in).IMG_5545Premium Filters – There are a few premium filter packages that offer everything from classic filters, mostly at $0.99 cents to $2.99 a pack, but you will see some more expensive ones for $6.99. One thing I really love about it is that they’re adding filters on, so when you get tired of your old filters, you can buy new ones instead of having to download and learn a new app.

Photo Print – Did Not Test

Online Sync – Easily sync your VSCO photos between devices with VSCO (iPhone to iPad)


VSCO App Review


Overall, VSCO is a really great app. Whether you primarily want it for selfies (this app does some amazing things with shadows and skin tones), want it for landscape and other images (this app does some amazing things with landscapes by lighting up the background) it’s a really great app. Plus, it has plenty of free things you can use. Once you figure out the interface, it’s a joy to use, and makes taking shutter snaps with the camera extremely easy.

Pros of VSCO

  • Simple
  • Dozens of features
  • Some of the best filters out there
  • Plenty of free features
  • Great photo editing
  • Built in camera that actually works well
  • Looks amazing on iPad

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Cons of VSCO

  • You’ll have to keep spending if you want all of the filters
  • Buttons aren’t labeled, so it might take a while to learn your way around
  • Tons of features will have you feeling like you’re in a clicking marathon after a while
  • Online sharing feature is worthless
Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

In short, VSCO is an amazingly versatile app that has dozens of features, and could easily become your primary photo editing or filter app. With filters that are definitely a cut above almost every other filter app, and decent photo editing options, it holds up well almost everywhere. Combined with a decent light editing option like PhotoShop’s app, and you likely wont’ really need that many other apps at all unless you like to heavily edit photos.