January 8, 2019

How To Use VSCO Filters To Create Beautiful iPhone Photos

VSCO filters offer a quick and easy way to apply beautiful edits to your iPhone photos. If you like to keep your photo editing subtle, you’ll love the collection of aesthetic filters in the VSCO app. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use filters to create stunning VSCO edits. And our VSCO filter guide shows you the best VSCO filters for creating different moods and styles in your iPhone photos.

Introduction: What Are VSCO Filters?

Filters (also known as “presets”) allow you to change the look and feel of your iPhone photos with a single tap. They work by applying a particular set of edits to your image. For example, by changing the color tint, saturation, brightness, contrast, or vignette.
Many iPhone photo editing apps have a set of filters that you can apply to your image. But they’re often garish and overpowering, ruining rather than enhancing your photo.

Edited with VSCO filter A2

VSCO (previously called VSCO Cam) is considered the best filter app for subtle, aesthetic filters.
Inspired by classic film, VSCO Cam filters are clean and simple with a beautiful timeless quality. That’s why many top iPhone photographers edit their photos with VSCO filters.

Edited with VSCO filter HB2


How To Edit Your Photos With VSCO Filters

In this section you’ll learn how to apply VSCO filters to your photos. Follow along with our step-by-step instructions to create stunning VSCO edits on your own iPhone photos.

Step 1: Import Photos Into VSCO

After opening the VSCO app, you’ll need to import the photos you want to edit. Tap the plus icon (+) at the top right of the screen.

Select the image or images you want to edit, then tap Import at the bottom of the screen:

Step 2: Open The VSCO Editor

Tap the image you want to edit. A colored border will appear around the selected image. Tap the Edit icon (slider icon second from left) at the bottom of the screen:

Note that if you have more than one photo selected, you won’t be able to tap the Edit icon. This is because you can only edit one image at a time. If you have more than one picture selected, deselect all by tapping the X at the bottom left of the screen. Then select a single photo to edit.
Once you’ve accessed the editing options, you’ll see a row of VSCO filters along the bottom of the screen. VSCO filters are named with letters and numbers, e.g. A6, F1, HB2, S5, Q10:

The VSCO app comes with a basic collection of filters to get you started. But there are many more filters that you can download from the VSCO Shop. Some are free to download, while others cost a few dollars.

Step 3: Download More VSCO Filters (Optional)

If you’d like to download more VSCO filters, tap Shop to the left of the row of filters. You now have two options.
You can download individual collections of filters for a few dollars each (some are even free). Or you can join VSCO X and pay an annual subscription of $19.99 to get access to the complete set of VSCO presets:

Step 4: Apply A VSCO Filter To Your Photo

To apply a VSCO filter to your photo, tap a filter of your choice from the bottom of the screen. In the screenshot below, the F2 filter was applied. This filter has brightened up the image:

Swipe across the bottom of the screen to see more VSCO filters. Tap on the different filters until you find one that you like.
Notice how the colors and brightness of your photo change depending on which filter you’ve applied:

It’s a good idea to compare the edited and unedited versions of your photo. Tap and hold the image to see the unedited version, then release to return to the edited image.

Step 5: Adjust The Filter Strength

If the filter effect looks too strong, you can tone it down by reducing the filter strength. To access the filter strength slider, tap the black filter icon that you’ve just applied:

 Drag the slider left to reduce the intensity of the filter. Tap the checkmark at the bottom right when you’re done:

We’re not going to cover these adjustments in this tutorial. But you can click here to learn how to create stunning VSCO edits using the full set of editing tools available.

Step 7: Save Your VSCO Edits

The final step is to save your edited image. Tap Save at the top of the screen. Your edit is now saved within the VSCO app, but it isn’t yet saved to your iPhone’s photo library.
To save your edited image into the Photos app, start by tapping the three dots icon at the bottom right:

 Tap Save To Camera Roll, then select Actual Size to ensure the image saves at full resolution:

Edited with VSCO filter H3

The H3 filter subtly brightened the image and added pretty pink tones to the flowers and background.
Note that you can only apply a single filter when editing photos in VSCO. If you want to apply more than one filter to an image, you’ll need to apply the first filter and save it to your camera roll. Then import the edited image back into VSCO where you can apply another filter.
You can repeat this process as many times as you want. But remember, the whole point of VSCO filters is that they create clean and elegant edits. So don’t go overboard with lots of unnecessary filters on a single image.