3 Reasons Why You Should Ditch VSCO and Use Lightroom Mobile Instead

VSCO has long dominated the photo filter game, likely because they’re leaps and bounds better than Instagram filters (are there real people out there who unironically use Toaster?). Alas, as a photographer, I have somewhat of a bone to pick with the app because  I firmly believe that Lightroom Mobile is truly the superior option, yet sadly underutilized.

Each year, the cameras on our phones are getting better and better. Like, crazy better. We’re almost at a point where we can’t tell the difference between an iPhone photo on portrait mode and a professional photo taken with a DSLR (big sad face). The thing is, better cameras don’t always mean better photos. If I’ve learned anything in photography, it’s that a.) all the top tier equipment in the world can’t buy you talent, and b.) a good photo is either made great or absolutely destroyed in the process of editing it.

If you don’t believe me, just take a look at what could’ve been a beautiful photo of the infamous El Capitan that I butchered by going absolute ham on the highlights and greens.

Anywho, the importance of editing in phone photography is why I encourage you to step back from VSCO and embrace the fantastical power of Lightroom Mobile.

No. 1 | Lightroom provides way more free features than VSCO

I can’t deny that VSCO is a very large step up from Instagram filters, but at the end of they day they’re still filters that you don’t have a ton of control over.

With the free version of VSCO, you get 10 filters and a limited number of sliders to customize. When you buy their membership, you’re paying $19.99 to have more filters (like, 150 more.), plus an important feature that already comes for free with Lightroom Mobile. This feature is called HSL, which gives you the power to edit each color individually. In LR, the function is called Mix. Did I mention it’s already free?

Paying for 160+ filters feels a lot like paying for channels you don’t watch on cable. You’re really only going to use 2 or 3 of them. The rest will never get touched because they don’t match your style, which is why you should save your money and create your own.

With Lightroom, The only paid features are brushes (which allow you to make isolated edits in areas of your choosing), geometry (which helps you customize the aspect of your photo), and the ability to connect to Adobe Cloud. All things you don’t absolutely need for a great photo.

No. 2 | With more sophisticated options, you have more power to customize your look

As I mentioned in the section above, beyond the 10 free filters, VSCO offers a pitiful amount of sliders to customize (13, to be exact). Even so, I found the sliders that they do offer very limiting. It was like attempting to edit my photo within the Instagram app all over again. Big yikes.

To give you an idea of what I mean by limited, below are two photos. One edited in VSCO, the other in Lightroom Mobile. I used similar features for both, and tried to achieve a similar look.

I could break down all of the functions of each app and compare them until I’m blue in the face, but this side-by-side comparison tells all. Lightroom Mobile offers options that target more precise aspects of a photo, making the photo look cleaner and more professional. This is why the left photo is more vibrant, and the phone on the right is very flat, even when similar functions were adjusted.


No. 3 | If you decide to step up your photo game, you’ll already have a strong foundation for editing

The Lightroom Mobile app is crazy identical to the desktop version, which professional photogs use and have to pay $20 a month for.

If one day you decide to step your ‘gram game and buy a DSLR camera, you will already know how to edit and use this software that most of your peers are using. You won’t have to rough it through a period of awful editing skills like I did, so you can focus on figuring out your camera.

There you have it. I hope I have thoroughly indoctrinated you with my endless infatuation with Lightroom Mobile. In fact, I love it so much that I made an entire online course on how to use it. My belief is that anyone with a phone can create amazing photography if they know how to edit their photos.

If you’re ready to ditch filters and create your own signature editing style, enroll in the course NOW!