unMonday: a look at vsco cam

I’ve finally made the jump from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5, and it’s been great! Its screen is so much clearer, and the camera’s capabilities are noticeably better. So, of course I had to try it out a bit this past week and I thought it would be a perfect time to really dive into the updated version of one of my favorite apps, VSCO cam. This app was recently released with an upgrade that completely re-worked its setup and features. While it used to be my go-to choice for creating a film-feel with my phone photos, I didn’t really utilize the camera function until now. After watching an intro video (find it here if you’re interested), I was excited to see what the new VSCO cam could do.

My favorite feature about this app’s camera, is the ability to set a specific exposure spot and focus spot. Both of the above photos are backlit, but I was able to still get a good image because I could position where I wanted the camera to gain its exposure setting from, and where I wanted it to focus. It’s also very simple to use… you touch the screen with two fingers at once, and immediately you see an exposure circle and a focus circle. You can then drag them to different positions, and be amazed by the image exposing properly for what you want! Of course, along with some cool in-camera features like this, VSCO cam still has a pretty great set of presets (similar to “filters”) to use after the photo is taken as well. The above two photos are using the K3 preset. It’s supposed to mimic the analog look of Kodachrome film.

The above three photos are all using the M4 preset, which is described as “Mood: Subtle Fade,” and is supposed to mimic the vintage hues seen in 70’s photography. Thanks to the hubs for the golf series! I would like to focus my “iPhoneography” to be more than just random snapshots, and have a cohesive result even from my iPhone outings. I think restricting myself to a certain preset and subject will help me accomplish this. I can’t commit to a single preset at this point… and I think different situations can be better suited with different looks. I see these preset/filter choices in my VSCO cam like I see film choices for my Canon AT-1.

These last sunset photos are using the P6 preset, which creates an instant film look with faded/cool tones. If you’re intrigued, the VSCO cam app is free and comes with a few nice presets. They also have quite a few other preset “packs” for purchase for 99 cents each… at the time of this posting you can get a deal ~ all 48 presets for $5.99. I jumped on that and I think I’m set for life… 48 options is plenty and covers a broad range of vintage film, portrait looks, and black and white. I should also mention that the “typical” editing features in this app have been amped up from their previous state, and are much better. There is a slider full of options – from basics like contrast and temperature onto vignettes and shadow saving.

VSCO has also announced an upcoming “publishing platform” they will be releasing called VSCO Grid. I look forward to this, and hope it can be a beautiful space for sharing photographic pursuits on mobile devices. Has anyone else been trying out the new VSCO cam? Any other great apps out there that I should be using? (besides Snapseed and Laminar – my two other photo editing apps on the iPhone)


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