Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Improving mobile photos with VSCO, part of Photo Tools Weekly.
- Hello and welcome to another episode of Photo Tools Weekly. Thanks so much for joining me this week. Well in this week's episode, we will turn our attention towards our mobile devices, whether that's our phone or a tablet, and here we'll look at how we can use a wildly popular app which helps us to craft unique looks in our photographs. Now this app is called Vsco, V-S-C-O, and one of the reasons why it's so popular is because we can use this app to join a community; to view and to share images.
We can also use it to craft unique and interesting looks in our photographs and that's mostly what I do, so I want to show you how you can start using this tool yourself. To do that, I'll be working with an iPad, but here, keep in mind, it works on your tablets or on your phone; either one, it works really well. All right, so if you're ready, let's dive right in, here goes. After you have installed the app, the next step is to tap on it in order to launch it. Here in this home screen, we'll see a few things which are related to the community of Vsco.
If we want to SIGN IN or EXPLORE or SHOP and buy more presets. In my own workflow's, I mentioned previously, I tend to just use the app in order to craft looks. So I'm going to tap on LIBRARY, it's the third one over. What that will do, is it will take me to an area where we have this grid of the photographs that I've imported into the app so I can than work on these. Now all of these are just inside of this tool. If ever we want to bring an image in or if we haven't imported anything yet, we do so by taping on the plus icon; that's over there on the far left.
I'll tap on that one and what that will do is it will give us the ability to select some images that we want to import and in my case, I'm going to go ahead and import this ladder and then maybe another photograph, and I'm tapping on those, you can see it then shows that little outline around that, and then I'll tap on the check mark in the upper right-hand corner. That will then bring in the files so that we can begin to work on them. Once they're in, if you press and hold on the image, it will show it to you in full screen mode. That's just a nice way to be able to evaluate the photograph.
Now when you're ready to work on the image, just tap on it, and you see that gold outline show up. On the far left we have the ability to do a few things. What we're going to do first is click on the icon which has the two lines, tap on that, and it gives us access to our presets or custom controls. With this image, what I want to do is crop it as a square so I can post it on Instagram, and I'm going to do that by tapping on the wrench. The wrench is for controls, paintbrush is for presets, so I tap on the wrench, here we have the controls, I can drag through the various controls that we have.
These controls are common to a lot of photo apps; we've seen a lot of this. Like I'll tap on crop and then say, hey I want to choose an aspect ratio of square and then just drag it around to reposition that to where we want it to be. Next on the right, tap on the check mark and that will apply the adjustment. Now with this one, I also want to straighten it. So there's an icon with the two arrows that I'll tap on and here I can then drag this slider and straighten it out, just looking at that line near the lower area of the image, and then tap on the check mark.
So you can see that I can make adjustments and then go back. If I want to change the crop, well I can do that. Go back over there and then tap on the check mark. So we haven't committed to anything just yet. What else can we do here? Well, quite a bit. If we tap on the icon which has an upside down triangle, we can increase our clarity. Tap on the one right underneath it, that's sharpening, so it can bring out some more details there. Next one has to do with saturation. Maybe we de-saturate it, just a touch. We can work on our highlights or shadows.
If I drag this up, what will happen is, we'll see that it gives us the ability to change those highlights, darkening them down. Drag this down, I'll bring them back to where they were. You notice there's a small lag because it's processing the files, so sometimes you have to give it a second. We can do things like work on our temperature. Here we could warm this up or cool this off by dragging that up for warm, down for cool, and you can see as you go through there you have other controls as well. Now one of the things that's really fun about Vsco, is we can use all the controls, but we can also tap on the upper icon, the one that's the arrow pointing to the left, and go back and then go to our presets.
Now when we apply a preset, it doesn't overpower or overwrite our settings, rather it adds it to the mix. Let me show you what I mean. With presets, we can apply these by tapping on a preset or we can also click on the icon where we have, it looks like a little grid there, it shows us what these images would look like with the various presets applied. I'm going to choose MOODY and then it will apply that to the image. But notice that what it's doing, is it's applying it with whatever settings we have used.
We can control the intensity of this affect, by using the slider. That slider gives us the ability to dial in or dial back the affect, so I'll go ahead and leave that where it was. If you tap on the icon in the upper right-hand corner, it's the one with the two lines and the little dots, that will show us everything that we've done to the image. If you want to see the before or after, you can press and hold on an option, like I'm pressing and holding down on the preset. That temporarily disables it.
Let go and then it goes back to the current state. Another thing you can do, is let's say you know what, we've realized we don't like the sharpening value, you can tap on the sharpening and it gives you two options, trash can to delete it or the icon to edit it. If we tap on that, it opens up the sharpening controls and then I can modify those. So this icon in the upper right-hand corner isn't just kind of functional showing what you've done but it also gives you access to many of the controls that you have so you can change any settings as needed.
The one at the very bottom, that one resets everything back to the default setting. All right, I'll tap on the icon up in the top again. That just allows me to collapse that. Now let's say that we've made changes to the image and we've decided that, you know what, I'm ready to apply all of these adjustments, I'll tap on the back arrow button, this brings me back to this screen where I then, tap on the check mark, and say hey, I want to apply this, it will then apply and save all of those settings. I can still go back and change them if I want to but in my case, I think they're fine.
If I want to do something with the image, there's an icon over there that has three dots. If you tap on that, it opens up a panel on the right. Here we can choose to save this to our camera roll, we could copy these edits to paste them on another image, or you can tap SHARE. If you tap SHARE, it opens up a whole slew of options, as you can see here, we could share this on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, we could email this, you get the idea. So that gives us the flexibility to quickly share whatever we've done.
Okay well let me show you this one more with another image. Just to kind of convince you of how helpful this is. I'll select an image, tap on it, then tap on the icon for opening up my controls. So I'm going to go ahead and select that. With those controls, I'll start off by applying a preset, and I'll go to the area where I can choose a preset perhaps, like this one right here, and there we can see the preset that we've applied. Now with this one, if I press and hold down, I can see the before, let go, and I can see the after.
I like kind of the film like look of this preset. Also I should say, this old area I found with all these file cabinets, it was fascinating, the plants growing out of 'em. So I like the old look, it fits the subject matter right? But I want to warm it up too. No big deal. Tap on the icon in the upper left-hand corner, then tap on the icon for the wrench. Then from here what we can do is, we can go through this and say, okay well what is it that we really want to do? It's temperature, I tap on the temperature icon, I drag it up to warm it up, that's a little bit too much, drag it down to have a little bit less there.
Add a little bit of clarity, I tap on that one, and bring a little bit of clarity into the image as well. Now at any point, whenever I want to see what's happened with the image, I press and hold, that gives me before, let go, and it gives me the after. Once we've finished the workflow and we're done, we tap the arrow in the upper left-hand arrow to go back and tap on the check mark on the far right, that will then apply all those settings to the file. Now whenever you work inside of the app, the thing to keep in mind is that all of this work is here, isn't anywhere else just yet, until we tap on those three little dots, and that's where we can then save this to our camera roll or share it to a social media site, and get the image out of the app.
So that's really how the workflow works and whenever you get to a point as well where you're down with the photograph, just tap on the x, that will take you back to this area where you can view your other images, select another one to work on, or of course you could always import another image and move on from there. All right, well on that note, that wraps up this week's episode of Photo Tools Weekly. I hope you enjoyed this one and I also hope that you have a fantastic rest of your day. Thanks for joining me in this episode, I'll look forward to seeing you next week.
Bye for now.