how to edit in VSCO CAM

how to edit in VSCO CAM


Seriously, I love this app. Not only does it provide a vast array of editing tools that other apps sometimes don't, but the included presets (and upgradability) provides photographers of all levels with more than sufficient resources to make their images look absolutely fantastic.

I get a lot of questions about VSCO CAM, how I like to edit when I do mobile edits, and what my process for mobile work looks today I decided to write a blog on how I edit in VSCO CAM!

**If you don't already have the app, you can download it for free on the App Store or Google Play by clicking the button below...

All of the above images were taken on my iPhone 6s and edited in VSCO CAM

I'm a big believer in hands-on learning so to keep things nice and simple for any VSCO CAM novices, I'm going to walk you through a real edit on a photo to show my workflow and how I achieve the look I'm going for!

Here we go...

1. Import Your Image

This is a pretty straightforward process. Click the + icon in the top right of the app window, select the image(s) you want to import to the VSCO CAM Library, click the checkmark to confirm...and voila! Then double tap the image to open the editing window.


2. Choose a Foundation Preset

There are scores of presets in VSCO CAM and there isn't a "right" or "wrong" place to begin. The best advice I can give is simply to play with a ton of options, find something that starts you off at a good point, and stick with it. Personally, I love the Legacy pack (01-10), the Analog pack (A1-A10), and the B&W Classic Pack (B1-B6) but ultimately what you use is up to you.

For the purposes of this edit, I'm going to select A6 as my starter preset and then click on the little slider icon (second from the left) to open the controls panel.

IMG_3998 copy.jpg

3. Personalize the Look

This part of the editing process is by far the most user-defined. Photo editing, like all art really, is an incredibly subjective process and though there may be "rules" on what "proper" exposure/toning/grain/compsition should look like, ultimately your aesthetic is up to you!

Here's what my process usually looks like – hopefully this will give you a good foundation to build on and then you can personalize things from there.


Click on the image to open in full screen and see the step-by-step process in action!


Step 1 – dial in exposure. For this image, I'm going to pull the exposure down just a tad so the highlights on the scoops of ice cream aren't quite so stark white and so that you can see detail in all of the image.

Step 2 – add/subtract contrast. Contrast will do several things to an image – darken shadows + brighten highlights, increase saturation of flat colors, and give general clarity to the entirety of the image. For this particular edit, I'm going to push up the contrast a bit just to darken the table a bit and really accentuate the light hitting the bowl.

Step 3 – correct your white balance. White balance in VSCO CAM is affected by the "Temperature" and "Tint" controls. 99% of the time I'll start with the tint slider to correct any pink/green issues and then I'll mess with the temperature slider to achieve the overall tone I'm looking for. In this image, I wanted a bit more of a summery/warm look so I bumped up the tint a tad and then pushed the temperature slider up a bit as well.

Step 4 – apply final changes. I always add a bit of grain as that gives an overall cohesiveness to the image and flattens out any rough patches just a bit. After adding grain, I may bump the sharpen slider up a bit just to make the image pop more, and finally I'll fix any compositional issues by straightening the image and cropping as I see fit.

Step 5revisit and retouch. Once I've finished up an image I always go back and make any final adjustments to exposure, contrast, and white balance. During step 4 you'll sometimes do things that affect the overall feel of the image so you'll need to revisit a few of your original adjustments to achieve the final look you want.


Before > After!

Before > After!


I know that putting everything into 5 steps makes editing look incredibly easy...and unfortunately it isn't. It takes years of practice to perfect the aesthetic you're trying to achieve and to this day there are still images I throw out because I can't get them to look the way I want.

And at the end of the day, you can only work with the quality of images you're taking – so if you're struggling to take great images, dive into the details of photography and start improving your skills! Once your images start getting better, you'll have a much better chance of achieving a satisfactory edit. I have a ton of resources on this blog for learning your camera, capturing better images, and honing your skills as a photographer so feel free to utilize those resources and of course ask me any questions you might have along the way!


Want to try your hand editing that delicious ice cream photo on your own phone?? Click the button below to subscribe to this blog and I'll send you the link to download my original iPhone image!