VSCO Cam is an elegant photo effects app with a minimalist interface, which lets you create great-looking shots in only a few steps.
VSCO Cam has been available since mid-2013, but the latest release of the app adds a whole new social layer with a photo feed that's sort of similar to what you get on Instagram. Unlike Instagram, the news feed (called "The Grid") is curated by VSCO Cam and doesn't have nearly the user base of Instagram, nor does it have the same controls for "liking" or commenting on photos. But where VSCO Cam shines is in its delightfully minimalist interface that boasts several more photo-editing tools for better quality shots.
Getting used to the layout
Though it's been through some design changes since its launch last year, VSCO Cam has mostly kept its minimalist look that makes all the app's tools only a couple of taps away. It can be a little confusing at first with unnamed buttons and only icons to guide you, but once you learn the ropes, the controls start to make sense. To get started, you can touch the camera icon to snap a fresh photo or grab one from your iPhone camera library by touching the plus sign.
The app has a sort of photographers light table experience, where you import a photo in from your library or the camera, then decide what to do with it. Touching a photo on your light table brings up a bank of buttons at the bottom for flagging it for later, performing edits, sharing to social networks, or deleting it.
Touching the edit button (a tool icon) displays VSCO Cam's filter tools across the bottom of the screen. None of these have fancy names as you browse, and are instead just labeled things like B5, C1, and G3. Touching each button will show how the filter effects your photo, and touching it again brings up a slider so you can fine-tune the effect. Only when you open up the slider will you see the name of the filter.
To get to more basic photo-editing tools, you can touch an arrow at the bottom of the screen to switch between filters (paintbrush icon) and regular edits (a wrench icon). More traditional editing tools such as brightness, contrast, and saturation are found here behind the wrench icon, but you'll also find things like cropping and rotate tools.
Saving and sharing
When you're done adding filters and fine-tuning your image, you have a few options for sharing. You can post to Twitter, Instagram, Weibo, Google+, or Facebook, or you can simply save to your camera library, or send via e-mail.