My Favorite VSCO Filters

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.

The original photo without any filters or editing.

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.

A photo of me filtered with AL1, aka LED Soften.

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.

The same photo filtered with one of my favorites, KP8.

As always, I finish up the editing with some mild sharpening (+4.0) and clarity (+2.0).

C1: Chromatic

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.

At full strength, this filter makes me look orange. I believe it’s best suited for landscapes.

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.

The unedited version.

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.

Edited with Chromatic, C1.

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!

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