There’s certainly no shortage of iPhone photography apps – if anything, there might be a tad too many to choose from. If there’s one app you definitely need to add to your iPhoneography arsenal, no matter how big that may be, it’s VSCO Cam. The free app is the second iteration to hit the app store courtesy of Visual Supply Company.
Previously a $0.99 app, the 2.0 version of VSCO Cam is free, comes with nine free filters, and is packed with a bunch of additional premium filters that you can buy for as little as $0.99 for three, or for a limited time, get the value pack with 49 presets for $5.99. The great thing about VSCO Cam now is the fact that it’s free so you can try out the app and get a feel for it, before deciding if you want to shell over more money for additional filters.
When you first launch the app it takes you directly to the camera viewfinder, where you can take photos directly within the app. The screen is taken up mostly by the camera, with a settings button in the top left corner which gives you access to the flash, grid, white balance and more. A button to toggle between the front and back cameras can be found in the top right corner. The bottom of the screen is taken up by the shutter button and you can also see the latest photo in your VSCO Cam library, where you can access the rest of your shots. The camera itself in the new app is more robust. By tapping the screen with two fingers you can bring up additional focus and exposure controls.
This is where the fun starts. Accessing your photo library allows you to import photos from your iPhone camera roll to the app. A word of warning though – when we attempted to import a large batch of photos in one go, it caused the app to repeatedly crash, so it might be best to import just a few photos at a time for the moment.
To import photos, just hit the large plus button at the top of the screen and you can select the photos from your Camera Roll. As you import more photos, they will be displayed as a grid in the app. A button in the bottom right hand corner takes you back to the camera view, while the button in the bottom left hand corner offers a few more additional settings.
From here you can sign in to your VSCO Cam account (to retain and restore purchases), access the VSCO Cam blog and the store where you can buy more filters.
VSCO Cam is continuing the same tradition of many mobile apps with its retro, vintage filters. You’re probably thinking that sounds a lot like Instagram (and its many copycat apps) but VSCO photos have a very distinct feel to them that we haven’t seen out of any other app. The colours, contrast, and exposure make for a unique style that you can always identify. Also unlike Instagram by double-tapping on each filter icon you have the option to adjust the strength of the filter on your photo.
Swiping up from the bottom of the screen will pull up an additional menu, which provides access to basic photo settings (brightness, temperature, contrast, rotate and crop), and an undo button and a revert to original state button.
Once you’re done editing your photo there are several options available to you. You can view the photo’s metadata – including the date and location it was taken, as well as which VSCO Cam filter was applied to it, and can save the photo to your Camera Roll, or share it via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Email or Weibo.
So why are we such big fans of VSCO Cam? It keeps things simple, using a slick and unique interface that isn’t borrowed from other apps. It really brings a bit of originality and is a breath of fresh air in a very crowded space of apps that all do pretty much the same thing. VSCO Cam doesn’t aim to do much, but what it does – it does well. The filters are varied, unique, artistic and can bring out the best in your photos.
If you’re looking for more interesting iPhoneography apps, be sure to check out framing app Fuzel, which we reviewed here. If you want to take a step back and get the hang of the native iPhone camera app, be sure to check out our handy beginners guide here.
What are your must-have iPhoneography apps? Let us know in the comments.