Scheduled on 5/22/15
The filters on this free app feel much more natural to me--my personal favorite is F2, which brightens the photo and adds a subtle blue undertone. Now that instagram's in-app editing has updated to include fade and a whole myriad of other tools, vscocam's main advantage has become its more refined filters. Like instagram, you can control the strength of each tool by double tapping the icon and testing the values until you reach the most visually-appealing number.
2. If you're going to crop your photo, crop it in instagram
One, precision--the grid bars in instagram are thinner, and the view of the photo is larger. If you're striving to follow the rule of thirds, instagram is more conducive to an effective crop.
Two, the crop in vscocam makes your photo blurry in-app. While it becomes clear once exported, I find it maddening to work with a grainy shot, especially if I'm attempting to set just the right amount of fade.
3. Remember filters aren't always the most effective solution
In my fourth shot pictured (of the landscape), I went sans filter. Everything I tried upset the color balance--rather than restoring the image to match more closely what my eyes saw, filters made the sky an eerie shade of green, or some other unnatural color. Instead, I took to instagram's in-app editing tools, upping the brightness, setting contrast to match, and slightly increasing color saturation.
On a separate note, when I do use filters, I use them judiciously. In my opinion, heavily-filtered photos look much less clean, less professional, and less real.
And so arises my favorite existential photo-editing debate:
At what point does photo editing switch from enhancing the image to manipulating reality?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and any of your personal tips in the comments!