Even as an avid VSCO cam user, I have always found myself fumbling only between two free presets (HB1 & HB2). The various other presets available in the VSCO store always felt like eye candies which could only be seen but not touched.
So when the new VSCO X series was released just not too long ago in June 2017, I couldn’t be more thrilled. The VSCO X is a series of an additional 38 presets available on VSCO that can be purchased annually at only $29.78.
It is really a bang for your buck as compared to purchasing the individual packs in store.
However, being a true cheapo Singaporean, I found it quite hard to actually decide on splurging on a whole collection of presets because of the limited photos and advice offered by VSCO on the app.
So I have compiled a review of some of the highlights from the entire VSCO X pack. Each of the series has something special to it — tailored to suit any style of photographers out there.
The S Series: Bright + Clean
This pack is fit for any minimalist photographers. Flourishing with brightness, the S1 – S3 presets highlight splendid skin tones, bringing out the best of simplistic portraits or scenes that play with lighter backgrounds or pastel colours.
My personal favourite would be S3, especially useful if you would like to intensify the saturation of your photo while still retaining the minimalistic feel of it.
If you get it together with VSCO X, you get to enjoy the S4 – S6 presets too, which play more with temperatures and the fade function to bring an added dimension to your minimalistic photos.
My personal favourite would be S5 which adds a tint and fade that changes the mood of your photo.
The Film X Series
As a millennial, film photography is my go-to option for special photos that I want to keep as memories.
Through mimicking Kodak and Fuji Pro film effects, this series does a pretty good job in recreating the same faded and antique feel that film photos have. You can think of it as a mobile, dynamic darkroom.
My favourite in the Kodak Film Series would be KU4 (Kodak GC/ Ultramax 400). By adding an extra faded effect and de-saturating the colours slightly, the warm and vintage feel created truly adds extra depth to my photo.
I prefer the warmer versions of the film pack (KU4/ KP8) as opposed to the “traditional emulsions” that the other presets offer.
The Fuji film pack did not stand out that much for me but I loved the fact that VSCO creates flexibility through new interactive tools including warmth and character, which models the effect of scanning and exposing of analog film.
By increasing the character of the preset, it increases the clarity, saturation and brightness of the preset, while decreasing it often results in a faded, muted tone.
As for the B&W filters, I liked the version of the FN 16 (Fuji Neopan 1600) the best. By increasing the contrast, it creates character and depth that isn’t too flat. It really stands out as it does not have too strong a faded effect which dulls out the other details of the photo.
The Legacy Collection
The Legacy Collection uses relatively subtle effects as compared to the rest of the presets to create an added dimension, hence it is normally used for lifestyle and landscape photos. The popular ones are O4, O5, O8 and O9 which play with both colour sensitivity and basic enhancements.
If you prefer something lighter without changing too much of your photo, go for the 04 filter which only brightens the photo and enhances the basic elements.
My personal favourite would be the 05. Though it significantly fades the photo, it still retains most of its details and intended colours without intensifying or lightening it too much.
O8 and O9 play more with the colours and tint. O8 emphasises the green tones and gives a bit of an overall green tint which increases the contrast levels too much for my liking. O9 plays more with warm highlights and cool shadows — creating an extra faded feel to the original photo.
As an amateur photographer, I would say that the VSCO X gives me much more space for creativity. It comes with exclusive presets provided in the series, as well as studio indicators to catalogue your pieces, share and discover along the way.
These are definitely building blocks for novices to better discover their style and voice in photography.
To get the entire VSCO X collection, simply purchase it in-store on your VSCO app and enjoy a free 30-day trial for iOS before paying for the one year subscription.
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