If you use Instagram, a popular social media app, chances are you have seen a photo edited with VSCO. Nearly 200 million photos on Instagram have been tagged with the photo editing app’s two main hashtags #vsco and #vscocam.
VSCO, which stands for Visual Supply Co., has quickly emerged as the premier mobile photography app, which bundles in a variety of filters and accessible editing tools.
What sets VSCO apart from Instagram is that there are no comments or likes. One is able to follow other VSCO users, favorite, and republish images. Other users are not able to see the like count another person has.
This concept on VSCO enables one to be less afraid to take risks, as there is no self-imposed social pressure about getting the most likes or comments. The primary purpose of VSCO is curation, quality content, and becoming inspired by others.
Many Instagram users share pictures with the intention of garnering as many likes and followers as possible. Meanwhile, VSCO’s intention is promoting creativity and art.
Freshmen Simran Sammal says, “Every time I post on Instagram and I do not get as many likes, I feel like deleting the picture because I think that people do not like it, making me feel self-conscious. On the other hand, on VSCO, I feel freer to post what I want to without a ‘social pressure’.”
As mentioned before, VSCO enables users to be freer, unlike Instagram. Many Instagram users use the app to brag about their achievements, vacations, etc. while trying to conceal their flaws. On the other hand, VSCO allows users to embrace their flaws, making the app more open.
Many users on Instagram follow the un-written rule of only posting once a day to not “annoy” followers. However, on VSCO it is acceptable to post as much as one would like because VSCO’s purpose is not for the followers, but for one’s self.
What sets VSCO apart from the other editing apps is that it takes film stocks such as Kodak Porta and replicates its tones beautifully.
There is no doubt there are other popular apps, like Afterlight or Lightroom, provide cool effects, but VSCO is aiming for something more authentic.
“VSCO is the gold standard of film emulation,” said co-founder Joel Flory.
Using one of the said filters, which are sold in packs, one can effectively simulate the effects of different kinds of film in photos.
A popular filter, C9, replicates modern negative Fuji film by using gritty orange tones with saturation and contrast. Another, LV1, was built in partnership with Levi’s, emulating classic slide film.
Junior Vidhi Modi said, “I have tried multiple editing apps, and I have ultimately come back to VSCO. The app provides it all; there are hundreds of filters and effects, each one making the picture a piece of art. Other apps I have tried have made the pictures look cartoonish or fake, something I have never experienced with VSCO.”
VSCO is not only a community for creativity, but it also enables users to voice their opinions on important matters. A couple of large updates, like curated collections of photos around a certain theme and a journaling feature that combines a series of photos with text, changed the VSCO world. These changes have turned the platform into a place for expressing one’s opinions on the world or any personal matters.
Ultimately, VSCO helps one create stories through images and words, while at the same allowing one to be free.
Have you tried VSCO? What was your experience like?