Years of Editing Without Lightroom / Photoshop


It was only recently in April that I started using Lightroom to edit my blog photos. As super happy as I am to finally be able to use Lightroom, I could not be more grateful for VSCO  the iPhone version, that is, so we'll call it VSCO Cam  as it was what I use to edit ALL my blog photos for three freakin' years.
(Not to mention the fact that it's also what I rely on to edit all my Instagram photos now.)

So if you are looking for ways to improve your blog photo editing without the help of Photoshop or Lightroom, continue reading to find out how to edit your blog photos with just the help of VSCO.

Note: I know that some of you are already VSCO Cam-pro but just in case, I'm going to try go step by step, so you should probably get a snack or something as this is going to be a longgg post.

How to edit blog photos using vsco cam app on iphone or ipad
First of all, obvs, download the VSCO Cam app; I edited most of my photos on my iPad but the app is definitely on my iPhone too. There are plenty of free presets already available but I purchased some others because, well, OPTIONS, guys. They aren't pricey and worth the money in my opinion.

Tip: Google examples of the different filters before you decide which group of presets to buy.

Play around with the different presets to decide which are more your "vibe" and highlight them (VSCO now lets you "star" your faves). Be aware that some filters do distort the colours, so think about what your priorities in editing are. My personal favourite filters were: A8/Analog, NikeLab ACG (ACG), C4/Chromatic, HB2/HYPEBEAST, LV1/Levi's, Q5/Alchemy, S3/Clean, and SE3/Street Etiquette.

In this post I will be showing you the steps I took to get from the left "Before" photo above to the "After" photo on the right.

How To Edit Blog Photos Using VSCO Cam


1) Transfer your blog photo into VSCO Cam. Test out your favourite filters on it (at the highest intensity of 12) in a spot of good neutral lighting and decide which filter's style suits the photo to your liking the most.

How to edit blog photos using vsco cam app on iphone or ipad
How to edit blog photos using vsco cam app on iphone or ipad
My top three filters were S3, HB2, and Q5 so I always ended up using them.

Another tip: I find that S3 naturally enhances the colours in any photo so I would usually set S3 on low intensity (below 5) on a photo, save it, upload that into VSCO and then layer a different filter on top of it! (N1/New Modern is another good option for layering, but I prefer S3.) But for today we'll concentrate on one layer of filter.

2) I'm going with HB2 for this photo. Usually I didn't go all the way to the maximum +12 intensity for any filter, so I'll set HB2 at intensity +9.0. Then change to editing mode from the filter options and Sharpen the photo to +7.0.

How to edit blog photos using vsco cam app on iphone or ipad
    How to edit blog photos without using photoshop or lightroom
    It's already looking good, and honestly you can even leave it as is at this point! But I like to tinkle about, so I'm not going to stop here. FYI, it is TOTALLY up to you what intensity you want to put for each editing step!

    3) I like to add definition by upping the Contrast, so let's do a +1.0 there. At this point it's looking a little too bright, especially the bright area on my face, so I'll decrease the Exposure by -1.0.
    How to edit blog photos without using photoshop or lightroom
      How to edit blog photos without using photoshop or lightroom
      Some people like their photos to be super bright so it's fine if you don't want to touch the Exposure button at all.

      4) The photo looks a tad too warm for me so I make it more cool by decreasing the Temperature to -0.5. I still don't like the general yellow hue of the photo, so I compensate that by doing a +1.0 to Tint to get rid of some of the yellow.

      How to edit blog photos without using photoshop or lightroom
        How to edit blog photos without using photoshop or lightroom
        The Skin Tone in VSCO Cam can also be used to change the tone of the photo so do play around with both Skin Tone and Tint!

        5) You can consider the photo done and dusted at this point but I think a slight fading can look good on some photos, so I'm just going to go ahead and increase the Fade to +1.0.
        I almost forgot about one of the most useful editing tricks you can do using the app: if you think the colours look too flat, adjust the Saturation! I'm increasing it to +1.0 for this photo.

        How to edit blog photos without photoshop or lightroom
          How to edit blog photos without photoshop or lightroom
          Anddd that is the finished VSCO Cam product!

          The VSCO app was technically not the only tool for my editing: I turn to ACDSee to straighten any photo and for cropping even though VSCO is able to do both. I do like the Repair Tool in ACDSee for getting rid of any weird speck on my clothes or face (that includes unsightly zits that I know for sure won't linger forever so it's not considered cheating, guys!).

          edit blog photos with vsco

          Comparing the Editing Results of VSCO Cam and Lightroom


          If you're a regular reader of Affordorable, you might remember this photo from my Xintiandi, Shanghai outfit post back in April; it was one of the first blog posts I edited using Lightroom.

          To be honest I wasn't entirely satisfied with the result of the edited photos in that post. I found Lightroom a little tricky to learn at first, but I think I've got a better hang of it now  I'm currently loving the photos of my latest posts that were edited using Lightroom. I'm pretty sure if I were to re-edit the Xintiandi pics using Lightroom again I would do a better job!

          I'm going to concentrate on future posts however, but in the meantime you can compare this final product of VSCO Cam with the (amateur) Lightroom editing in my Army Green & Mickey outfit post. Which photo editing style do you like better? 

          •     •     •     •     •     •     •

          As someone who's already using Lightroom, I don't think I would go back to using VSCO but I also think it is really an amazing app to help improve anyone's photography, blogger or not. It's a must-have sufficient tool for any blogger (and Instagrammer!), especially a newbie. The editing options in VSCO Cam are practically endless so it's easy to customise something that is really your own, even if you and a bunch (or hundreds / thousands) of others like the exact same filter.

          Do you use VSCO Cam app? How do you approach editing when using it? How different is your editing method to mine? 
          Sound off in the comment box below!


          I hope you have enjoyed browsing through this post, and that you learned something useful in the process! XO


          To see older posts in which I edited the photos using the HB2 filter on VSCO app, check out these posts:
          What I Wore To F1 Qualifying Day: Pyjama Love
          In Retrospect: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer In Caramel (A.K.A. Favourite Concealer EVAH)
          Green Amongst The Greens