Review: VSCO Mobile Presets for Lightroom

Arguably, VSCO’s mobile presets are perhaps the most popular options as opposed to the company’s film packs. Perhaps that’s why they brought them to Adobe Lightroom recently. The presets are a number of the company’s best products and have been casually slapped onto images all across the web for years now. But for a while, the company seemed to target the film presets at the desktop based crowd via Lightroom and the mobile presets at perhaps the less serious crowd via the phone. Years have gone by and now we’re starting to see the worlds sort of crash into one another.

So if you’re a VSCO preset user and you’re a big fan of the app on your phone, you may be blown away by this.

Features

Truthfully, the presets are best viewed on VSCO’s website. But here’s the gist of it all.

VSCO Tools Included

  • Auto Tone
  • Auto WB
  • BW: Darker Skies
  • Color Tint: Green Shadows
  • Color Tint: Magenta Shadows
  • Color Tone: Cool Highlights
  • Color Tone: Creamy Highlights
  • Color: Blues
  • Color: Greens Cooler
  • Color: Mellow Greens
  • Color: Orange Skin Fix
  • Color: Red Cooler
  • Color: Red Warmer
  • Color: Saturation
  • Detail: Grain
  • Detail: Grain Bigger
  • Detail: Noise Reduction
  • Detail: Sharpen
  • Detail: Sharpen – High ISO
  • Lens: CA & Fringing
  • Lens: Correct Distortion
  • Lens: Vignette
  • Tone: Contrast
  • Tone: Deeper Blacks
  • Tone: Full Range
  • Tone: Highlights
  • Tone: Reset
  • Tone: Shadows
  • Reset All
  • Reset VSCO Presets

System Requirements

Adobe Lightroom

VSCO Film for Adobe Lightroom requires Adobe Lightroom CC, 6, 5, or 4 to work properly. To download the latest version of Adobe Lightroom, go here: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/updates/

Adobe Camera Raw

VSCO Film for ACR requires Photoshop CC or CS6 to work properly. To download the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, go here: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/updates/

Ease of Use

As a content creator myself, I have to give big big kudos to VSCO for making it very difficult for a person to steal the presets. You see, your presets need to be installed and unlocked. It’s a trend I’ve been seeing come forward more and more. And I’m very happy about this because it means that content creators can actually get paid for the hard work they do. The Visual Supply Company surely does hard work in order to bring you this awesome product.

Once you actually add the presets to Lightroom, it’s business as usual. VSCO Mobile presets are designed and based off of the various collections that have been available via the mobile app. New presets are always coming out and you can continue to purchase new packages as you wish.

Using Adobe Lightroom’s renderings, you can get a preview of what the presets are. However, you can also take a guess at certain ones. For example, the P presets have always been designed to mimic the look of Polaroids more than anything else. For that reason, I’m not sure I’d use them for everything but instead for very specific looks.

Then there are other options like fashion oriented presets, etc. Throughout our testing phase, we used the VSCO Mobile presets with Canon, Fujifilm and Sony RAW files. They all rendered well. What’s nice is that each preset has two options. You can choose to either go fully in and embrace the look that VSCO is giving you or you can only go half in and embrace half of the look.

If you’re not a fan of the VSCO looks that have been offered up over the years, then you obviously have no serious business paying for these and I’d flat out suggest you don’t buy a product you don’t need. But with that said, I thought carefully about who would buy these presets. It would make a whole lot of sense for a photographer to buy some of them vs all of them bundled. For example, there are a variety of different black and white presets. One batch suits my needs and wants a whole lot more than the other. Then there are options like the Polaroid look which I’m most likely going to use with natural light scenes and my more risque work done with direct flash. I’m not sure I’d use them with landscapes shot of Yellowstone National Park–and I’m honestly not sure which ones I’d reach for in that case. I’m sure that something could surely work though.

VSCO also gives you the options of modifying your image more with certain presets, like making your grain bigger, etc. When you consider this, I’m very confident that VSCO developed these presets for folks that don’t know how to use Lightroom. Otherwise, you’d know about the grain settings. To be fair, other brands like RNI Films do this too. I’ve personally never really understood it; but I also dove head first into learning everything about Lightroom when I started working with it.

These days I tend to use Capture One far more frequently for great reasons. And if anything, I’d love to see these presets there.

Image Quality

Conclusions

I personally really like the VSCO Mobile Presets. I think that they’re a great way to create a starting edit point with an image and then fine tune it to whatever you’d like personally. But at the same time, I think the biggest problem with the VSCO Mobile Presets isn’t really their quality, but instead Lightroom itself. The program is very slow and becoming more and more arduous to work with. So instead, I’d love them to come to Capture One. Additionally, I’d prefer to pay for certain packages vs the entire thing. Otherwise I’m just spending money on stuff I probably wouldn’t use.

Again though, if you’re looking for these looks, then you’re getting some of the best there is out there.