The complete guide to editing your mobile photos in VSCO

What I want for smartphone photography in 2020

VSCO, pronounced Visco, is a primarily free photo editing app that can provide great results. They provide a series of excellent presets to use and let you edit your photos from scratch.

You can download VSCO freely for Android and iOS, making it useful for all smartphone users. It has some premium features, but for most uses you can get by with the free version.

The app also has its own community for sharing and exploring photos of yourself and others.

But let’s focus on purely the editing part of the app first.

Getting started with editing in VSCO

To add a photo in VSCO, open the app and tap ‘studio’ at the center.

You can add photos and videos from your phone’s gallery by tapping the plus sign at the bottom right corner.

It’s as easy as that.

Edit your smartphone photos in VSCO

To start editing a photo, go to the ‘studio’ tab again, tap the image you want to edit, and then tap on the button with the sliders in the lower right corner.

You can apply some of VSCO’s presets on the next screen or continue to the edit section.

To apply a preset, simply browse through them at the bottom. You can see small previews of how your photo would look. Then tap on the preset you’d like.

From there, you can press ‘continue’ in the upper right corner to export your photo, build on the preset, and edit your image more.

To edit, simply tap on ‘tools’ on the bar at the bottom of your screen.

The tools in VSCO explained

In VSCO, you have plenty of tools to use when editing your photos; which one you pick depends on what you want to achieve with your photos. They provide plenty of free options. However, some features are for premium users only.

  • Text: A premium feature allowing you to add text to your photo. Simple and effective.
  • Dodge & Burn: Make certain parts of your photo lighter or darker.
  • Contrast: Boost or lower the contrast. Making the differences between the darker and lighter parts harsher.
  • Exposure: Make the photo overall darker or brighter.
  • Saturation: Boost the colors in your photo and make them more vivid. Or lower them and make the image slightly more pastel.
  • White Balance: Making your photo more yellow or blue helps you correct the colors in your image. It can also make the picture feel more cold or warm to your liking.
  • Scharpen: Add some sharpness to your photo. Applying it to your photos is good, but don’t boost it too hard.
  • Skin Tone: Change the purple and green tones of your photo to enhance the skin tones of your subject;
  • Remove: Remove particular objects or annoyances in your photo. You are making it an overall clearer picture.
  • Adjust: Change the ratio of your photo to a different size. You can also adjust the asymmetries of your image horizontally or vertically. Skewing the perspective.
  • Grain: Adding more grain to your photo. This gives it a more old-school analog and grungy feel to it.
  • Vignette: Make the edges of your photo gradually darker, giving your image a vignette/frame around your photo.
  • HSL: This allows you to adjust the hue, saturation, and lightness of colors individually. Leaving all the other colors untouched.
  • Fade: Raise your black tones and make them more faded. Giving your photo a vintage feel.
  • Split tone: Give your shadows a color of your choosing and your highlights a similar or different color.
  • Borders: Put a border around your photo.

How to save a photo in VSCO

After you’re done editing your photo in VSCO, you want to export it. By pressing the three dots at the bottom, you get several options to export your freshly edited photo.

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