What Is VSCO and Why Do Smartphone Photographers Use It?

MakeUseOf | 5/21/2019 | Alice Kotlyarenko
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VSCO. You’ve seen the name below Instagram posts and in roundups of the best photography apps. But what is VSCO and why should you be using it?

This article offers a detailed overview of VSCO, which we consider to be one of the essential tools all smartphone photographers should use. Read on to find out why.


What Is VSCO?

VSCO (previously VSCO Cam) is a popular app and platform for smartphone photographers. It’s simultaneously an iOS/Android photo editor, a camera app, and a community “for creators, by creators,” where members post the photos they’ve taken and edited with VSCO.

Instagram - Hashtag - Vsco - Posts - Time

The Instagram hashtag #vsco boasts an impressive 189 million posts at the time of writing. The app adds the hashtag automatically when you edit and post a photo, but most people are happy to add it manually, because it’s hugely popular.

VSCO regularly hosts creative challenges and contests, curates photo collections, and shares educational content—all within its social platform.

VSCO - Mean

What Does VSCO Mean?

VSCO stands for Visual Supply Company, the name of the company behind the app. Visual Supply Company has been around since 2011 and is headquartered in Oakland, California, where it works exclusively on the namesake app.

VSCO - Camera - Default - Camera - Catch

VSCO comes with a built-in camera app that’s probably more functional than your default camera. There’s a catch, though: these advanced camera features are only available on iOS. According to this VSCO Support note, this is due to device limitations encountered when developing the Android version.

If you shoot on iPhone, the VSCO camera will equip you with the following advanced controls:

VSCO - Features - Camera - Bonus - App

Of all the VSCO features, the camera probably gets the least spotlight, but it’s a nice bonus if you use the app for other reasons.

As a photo editor, VSCO is pretty capable. It may lack more advanced tools like brushes, retouching, and curves, but it’s ideal for working with colors,...
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