There are very few smartphone applications that come close to offering a full image-editing suite but one of the very few that do is VSCO Cam. It has no shortage of ways to edit, enhance, crop, and filter your photos as if it were a mobile darkroom.
VSCO Cam has been out since August 2013 but in a recent update 3.0 for iOS devices the Visual Supply Company, the app’s maker, introduced some new social features. The latest release adds a new photo feed similar to Instagram or 500px. While VSCO Cam flaunts its newly found community, the social feed is curated and lacks some very basic social interactions we’ve all become accustomed to.
When you start VSCO Cam there really isn’t any way to avoid the social aspect of the app. The application opens up to a listed view of menu options that pane over to the right, much like a Windows 8 phone interface. Hitting home will bring users to photographers they are following. Grid, meanwhile, will open up the curated social feed of more images and fellow VSCO Cam users to follow.
Upon actually inspecting any of the photos, users will find there aren’t actually any options to like or comment a picture. Instead tapping on an image will only bring up its metadata including when it was shot and other information like the ISO sensitivity it was taken at.
The most unfortunate thing is the new social features end up burying the amazing image editing power of VSCO Cam. At the very bottom of the main menu users will find the option to produce and edit their library of images. Any image from the iPhone’s library can be imported to the app by tapping on the big plus marked bar.
Diving into a photo will allow image editors to apply black and white filters or lo-fi image effects seen on other apps. Users can also adjust the exposure, color temperature, contrast, and saturation of an image. Users can even go as far as affecting the highlights and shadows of the image, both of which are more in-depth editing options unseen on most mobile apps.
Social interaction is a new direction for VSCO Cam and so we expect a few fumbles especially with a new, slowly building community. Luckily they’re problems easily remedied with the ability to share images through Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram from within the app. VSCO Cam has been steadily updated, and with the new social features still on their way to the Android app, its more than likely the Visual Supply Company will find a way to smooth over these bumps.
VSCO Camera is an iOS and Android app available for free in the App Store and Google Play Store.
Kevin Lee is a freelance writer who types all day and listens to his ever-expanding music library. Follow Kevin Lee on Twitter at @baggingspam.