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Guide: VSCO vs Snapseed: Comparison and Review
There are plenty of them mobile photo editing apps available, but choosing one of them can be a difficult task. I’ve been a longtime fan of Snapseed, a free-to-use photo editing tool bought late by Google.
At GT we’ve covered Snapseed in great detail over the years and would heartily recommend it.
Another app that caught my eye is VSCO, a favorite of professional photographers and regular selfie shooters alike. VSCO offers powerful photo editing tools that make it a worthy competitor to Snapseed.
I’m curious how these two great photo editing apps stack up against each other and how they differ.
Let’s start.back to menu ↑
1. User interface
Snapseed caught everyone’s attention from the moment it launched as it offered powerful editing tools in a simple and uncluttered user interface. You don’t see anything except a big plus sign in the middle. You can tap anywhere on the screen to open the Gallery app.
After you select a photo, options such as filters and tools are displayed upSnapseed has 29 tools under its belt. They are all neatly available on one screen.
VSCO is not just a photo editor. No sir. It is much more than that. A social media platform is built in for beginners and professional photographers to share their work and experience. Like Instagram, you can see daily updates from people you follow. The third tab is called Studio, where you can select and edit images.
VSCO helps you connect with and learn from fellow users while showing off your photo editing skills.back to menu ↑
Both Snapseed and VSCO are powerful photo editing apps and talking about filters would be like barely scratching the surface.
While Snapseed has some excellent filters, VSCO takes them to another level. In VSCO you can control the intensity of each individual filter, giving you more control over the final look and feel of the image.
Snapseed does not have such an option and offers regular filters that you can simply select and apply. VSCO also has more filters to choose from, but that doesn’t mean Snapseed’s filters are any worse. They are just different.back to menu ↑
3. Android or iOS
Both Snapseed and VSCO support double exposure and RAW editing featuresHowever, VSCO leaves Android out of the mix for some reason. Quite a bit, in fact features are missing on the Android platform while all are available on iOS.
Snapseed offers all 29 tools on both platforms, including support for double exposure and RAW image editing. The latter is limited to only the DNG format, while iOS supports many more DSLRs. So, choosing your favorite photo editing app also depends on the mobile OS you are using.
For the uninitiated, double exposure is a technique in which a single image, usually a close-up photo of a person, is exposed two or more times with different images to create overlapping effects.
RAW is a popular image format mainly used by DSLRs. This means you can edit RAW images directly in Snapseed and VSCO (iOS), albeit in DNG format.back to menu ↑
4. General Features
Both are advanced photo editing apps, there is no doubt some overlap and quite a few tools are available on both Android and iOS. It’s about how these tools differ from each other.
Take Snapseed’s Perspective tool. You can use it to change the angle of the subject within the frame and give the impression that the shot was taken from a different angle.
VSCO has this too feature but calls it Crop + Straighten, which you’ll find under the Customize menu. However, Snapseed also allows you to freely scale the image in all four directions.
Other commonly used photo editing tools include blur, rotate, crop, and portrait modes.
Some advanced filters available on both Snapseed and VSCO are Grainy, Vignette and Noir. VSCO calls the latter Filmy and the effects are similar.back to menu ↑
5. Unusual Features
While Snapseed allowed me to add text to an image with the tap of a button, there was no similar option in VSCO. You can also change the font size, type and color.
Where Snapseed allows you to apply the blur effect to focus more on the subject, VSCO allows you to use the blur effect to give the subject a translucent look.
VSCO also allows you to create and save recipes. What is that? Recipes is a set of effects (filters and settings) that you can save as a preset and apply later with the tap of a buttonFor example, you regularly crop your images and use a certain filter on all your photos. You can save it as a recipe and that way you don’t have to do it manually again.
Snapseed has an HDR tool to reproduce more details by adjusting the dynamic range in both the lighter and dark areas of the image. The effect is enchanting and dreamlike, selectively emphasizing the details. Unfortunately, VSCO lacks this tool, so you’ll have to rely on the filters.
In VSCO, exposure and saturation are offered separately, and they were a bit limited in my opinion. Snapseed offers the Brush tool that allows you to control temperature, saturation and exposure under the same roof. The Dodge & Burn option allows you to selectively highlight or darken parts of the image.
VSCO comes with HSL (Hue, Saturation, Light) that allows you to manipulate six different hue levels while limited to a pro account. Snapseed, on the other hand, lacks HSL, but under the Curves tool you will find RGB matrix that allows you to enjoy similar control. Maybe a future update will fix that.
VSCO also seems to have a lot more filters available compared to Snapseed, but most of them are limited to the pro account. Snapseed is completely free to use and has no ads whatsoever. VSCO takes a freemium approach where advanced filters are hidden behind a paywall that will cost you $ 19.99 / year.back to menu ↑
VSCO vs. Snapseed: Two Sides of the Same Coin
VSCO and Snapseed are powerfully featured and come with some great image editing tools. Whether you are a beginning photographer or an amateur, I would recommend Snapseed. Why? Because it is free to use.
VSCO is paid, but offers more filters and a whole community of like-minded users. More suitable for people who are willing to pay the subscription fee.
In that sense, these two photo editing apps complement each other. So you can have both on you phones
The next up: We have discussed how VSCO for Android differs from that for iOS. Click on the link below to discover our take on the VSCO for iOS app.back to menu ↑
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