When I first started taking blog photos a few years ago, I honestly had no idea what an editing app even was. Eventually, while doing some reading and research about blogging, I stumbled upon some info about photo editing. My mind was blown! I couldn’t believe there existed such a resource that could clean up, sharpen, and filter photos after you had already taken them.
The first photo app I downloaded was Camly Pro. Although I really do love Camly, and I still use it on occasion, I eventually moved on to VSCO: it’s the app I use most of the time.
I like VSCO because it has a huge selection of high-quality filters that can give your photos a whole new look. The filters are also very polished and professional, and sometimes it doesn’t look like you’re using a filter at all.
A bit of a disclaimer about my use of filters: I really try to use them sparingly. I always try to cultivate an authentic blog with realistic photos. I mainly use filters to make up for my current lack of a digital camera (note that almost all of my photos are shot on iPhone).
So, that being said, I thought it would be nice to share with you today my 3 favorite VSCO edits.
AL1: LED Soften
This filter is beautifully bright, but still relatively mild. I think it’s great for photos with people because it complements any skin color and doesn’t cause yellowing.
For most of my photos with LED Soften, I keep the filter set to the highest setting (+12.0). I turn the exposure and contrast down a bit (about -1.0 for each), slide up slightly on the sharpen (+4.0) and clarity (+2.0), and keep the saturation at around +3.0. to prevent an over-filtered look.
I think the final effect is a nice bright photo with mild coloring.
KP8: Kodak Portra 800
KP8 is a muted white filter that gives a photo an almost vintage, nostalgic effect. Unlike the previous filter which bolds the background colors, Kodak Portra 800 has the ability to fade the photo and provide a nice white balance.
For this filter, I keep the strength at +6.0. VSCO also gives you the ability to adjust the character and warmth for this one, which it doesn’t for all filters. I prefer a clearer photo, so I keep the character at full strength +6.0. Bringing down the character will give the photo a faded effect. For the warmth, I personally prefer “cooler” photos with blue and white tints, so I slide this down to -2.0. If you’re looking for a yellowish tint, slide this up to full strength.
As always, I finish up the editing with some mild sharpening (+4.0) and clarity (+2.0).
This filter is great at bringing out bright, bold hues. I especially love it for brightening the sky and landscapes. It’s not ideal for people though, at least not at full strength.
To cut down on the warmth and orange skin tone, you can bring the saturation down to about +1.0. That helps considerably. (The photo above is shown at a +3.0.)
If it’s still too orange for you, use this filter exclusively for landscapes. Here’s a photo I took in Arizona. Chromatic gives the photo more color, which is actually how I remember this scenery looking in real life.
As you can see below, the filter brightens up the sky and the greenery. I feel the edited photo actually captures the moment as I remember it.
These are my current 3 favorite filters in the VSCO app. However, as I continue to explore photography and learn more about editing, I may discover new ones to share with you!