Don’t settle for boring, flat photos.
VSCO has great mobile editing tools that can easily up your game. Best part? They’re perfect companions to shooting with the Moment app. If you don’t have the VSCO or Moment apps already, download them now!
Earlier this year, you loved the 5 VSCO Tips we put together. You asked for more, so we’ve brought in another panel of photo wizards to give you the inside scoop to get you editing like a pro in no time. Check out their tips and photo examples below.
I love layering two filters. To do this, import the photo and apply a first filter. Save it, exit, and import the adjusted one. Then you can apply another filter over the first. It’s a wonderful way to easily create a customized look.
The first is N1 + Q5. The second M5 + S2.
Don’t lose the photo’s natural quality. Find the filter that best compliments your aesthetic and style, but don’t go overboard with the filters. I generally only use them at the halfway mark to retain a good bit of the natural photo quality and tone.
When I’m editing portraits, the most important consideration is how the skin looks and secondly, how the blacks in the photo look. My favorite VSCO pack is the E-series. I start by checking how the photo looks with each E-series filter to see which one looks the most natural for the skin-tone. I have a taste for blacks that are slightly faded, but I don’t like them to be too grey, so I will tone down the filter if it causes the blacks to look too faded or the highlights in the skin to look blown out.
Sometimes it’s not possible to shoot perfectly straight and have nice lines (say if you are capturing the wall of a tall building), but editing the perspective can really make for stronger images. I use the perspective tools in VSCO to make a brick wall background look perfectly straight, if it was tilted before. It’s subtle but makes a huge difference.
I like a bright, crisp white aesthetic for my photos. It’s important that the white tones in the photos be consistent, so I rely on VSCO’s exposure and temperature editing tools. Try brightening the photos before changing the warmth for an easier time finding your white.
One of my favorite tools in the VSCO app is the Clarity tool. I recommend using this tool at a medium level, so the details don’t get too much contrast. I love using this tool in cloudy photos to contour the border of the clouds, or in macro photography to emphasize the tiny details that macro photos have.
When shooting in harsh light, use the “highlights save” slider to help recover detail and push down some of the overexposed highlights. It works great on portraits of people taken in bright sunlight.
For me, a clean image is one with minimal yellows. When editing in VSCO, I spend my time shifting between the temperature and the yellow shadow tint tool. Once I bring down the temperature, I go back and add a bit of yellow to the shadows to keep the image from looking too blue.
When I need to add a slight tone shift to my photos, I use the skin tool instead of using the tone tool. Usually the skin tool is used to fix flesh tones, but I have found it to be a less intense version of the tone tool. The skin tool makes it possible to pull out more subtle greens and reds in a photo.
There are several ways to evoke emotion in a photograph. Use sharpness, grain, clarity (first or second notch) and exposure as a base. Then add or reduce contrast depending on how modern or timeless you want the photo to look.
My go-to VSCO preset is M5. I love the way it crushes highlights and gives the photo a somewhat ethereal vibe. Since it’s a bit heavy-handed, I tone it down by cooling the temperature, adjusting the highlight-save slider by a few points, and decreasing exposure. Occasionally I’ll add a tad more contrast by adding one notch on the contrast slider.