What is #VSCO? / by Jordan Hefler

Post-processing is like makeup: everybody wears it, but not everybody needs it.

VSCO happens to be the brand of "makeup" I choose to use on my photographs.

If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably noticed that I often incorporate #VSCO in my posts. When people started asking me what VSCO was, I was like are you serious? How do you not know about this amazing company?! Sometimes we are so immersed in our own little world that we don't realize things aren't as apparent to others as they are to us.

VSCO® is an art and technology company empowering people everywhere to create, discover, and connect. Our goal is to honor art and artist while fueling a worldwide creative movement through innovative tools and experimental projects.
— Visual Supply Company

A little over a year ago, I found out about this free app that every photographer "needed" on their phone. When I downloaded the VSCOcam app, I really didn't know what all it was capable of. I was like "oh cool, another app to add cool filters and edit my photos for Instagram in." What I didn't realize was that VSCOcam was way more than that.

From what I've gathered, Visual Supply Company started in 2011 by people who loved the nostalgic look and feel of film photography, but wanted the ease of digital manipulation in the modern age. Their company that supplied editing tools to creatives like them quickly grew into a community of artists within itself, and is now a hugely successful company that has grown rapidly since then. 

This is about all of us, the creative community, banding together for the sake of beauty and doing what we love. This is about pouring every ounce of blood, sweat and tears into something worth believing in. This is about the power of art for art’s sake and the belief that a photo can change perspectives, moods, and lives. This is about a worldwide movement of millions creating for the love of craft and community.
— Visual Supply Company

The VSCOcam app has its own social interface within itself. It's almost like a more sophisticated Instagram. Within the app you can share your photos to your "Grid" which is basically your own curated collection of photos you wish to share with the world. Although in my opinion it's not as easy to use as Instagram in terms of marketing, it's far more suited for artists and photographers to find inspiration and connect with each other on (even though everyone still shares to Instagram through the VSCO app anyways.)

VSCO also provides creative editing tools for use with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. For people like me who have worked with film and alternative processes in the darkroom, it provides aesthetic similarities for digital imagery. I frequently use the VSCO editing suite to aid in the enhancing of my digital photos (for both clients and personal work) to keep them cohesive and true to my style, which is heavily influenced by film photography.

As much as people are in denial about it, photographers DO edit their photos. That is part of what you are paying for. Just like there are very few #nofilter moments on your Instagram, you will not receive your photos straight out of the camera if you hire a professional photographer. 

I have an editing style that I stick to, and that's where VSCO comes in to help. I do like to believe that the enhancing of my photographs is not something I rely on as much as it is an outlet of my creativity. It's a tool that I use as a starting point in addition to my training, equipment, and experience, to convey what I want to my clients and the rest of the world.

VSCO also hand picks images from the grids that people share to display on their own curated gallery on their website, and I am excited to say that I received an email last night saying that my image below has been selected!

You can view it and other amazing images on the official VSCO grid here.

GET INSPIRED. make work. repeat.

I would highly recommend browsing through the amazing imagery that VSCO users create! They are on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and their own website is obviously inspirational as well.

This is not meant to be some hip, obscure thing. VSCO is by the creatives, for the creatives. While the professional Lightroom and Photoshop tools must be purchased, the phone app is FREE! Download it, browse people's grids, and share your beautiful work with the world! And while you're at it follow my grid :) I hope this blog post has answered any questions people have been asking me!