Instagram: My Chosen Filters & How to Use VSCO

Hi guys, so I thought I’d start a little series specifically for ‘Instagram’ as I’m forever being asked what filters I use, what camera I use and who takes my pictures etc.

I have lots of little tips and tricks up my sleeve that I use and I suspect a lot of other instagrammers use but perhaps are a little shy to share or want to keep their little secrets to themselves or some other unknown reason. I’ll be honest though I have thought all of the above. But enough, I am here to share and here to help if you need it!

Please see my short tutorial and update on how to use the new updated version of VSCO below

Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel HERE for more hints and tips!

Ok so the first of the series is:

What filters do I use?

There are so many excellent apps out there that give you awesome filters and allow you to edit your pics in amazing ways but I’ve always stuck with the same old ‘VSCO‘ app. It’s super easy and quick to use and it’s just fitted in with my lifestyle and feed and so I’ve had no reason to look elsewhere. Though if that changes, I’ll update you regarding new filters / apps I use.

Why do I not use Instagram filters?

To me, they just seem slightly unrealistic; the filters are too harsh and seem to dramatically change the tones of my photos more than I want them to. Instead of wanting to completely edit a photo, I just want to subtly enhance it to make it look the best it can be and also still look quite ‘natural’.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to use VSCO. Or maybe I should say, on how I use VSCO as I probably don’t even know the half of it!

1st step – How to get VSCO

So first things first, you need to go to your app store and get the VSCO app. When I bought it it was about £2 something and definitely worth it; but now I believe it’s free on both iOS and Android.


2nd step – How to add filters

Download your presets. You do this by clicking in SHOP. You can then see the selection of filters they have to offer and which ones best suit your feed. Over time I think I’ve downloaded pretty much all them as they sometimes have weekends where it’s free to download all or some of the filters. (To go back onto the main menu you can swipe to the right or press the little box with three lines in it in the bottom left corner).

You’ll find the more you use the app the more you’ll have your ‘go to’ filters. Mine are the A filters called the Aesthetic Series A4 – A6 and the S filters called Bright & Clean S1 – S3. I also like the HB filters called Hypebeast X VSCO HB1 – HB2 to give those deep dark green tones.

I have gone through phases of using others but it’s been the top two that I’ve always stuck with. IG 0

3rd step – How to upload your photos

So you can either take your photos on the VSCO app or upload them from your camera roll. I generally upload them from my camera roll because I always find the iPhone camera is more accessible ‘in-the-moment’ than going into the VSCO app to take the photo. However using the app has got some really great features if you do choose to take the pics on there. I’ll save this for another post though:).

To keep this simple I’m just going to pretend you’re going to upload them from your camera roll like I do. To do this; go to LIBRARY to upload your photos and then press the + sign at the top middle and select which photos you want to bring into your VSCO library and then press the ✓.

IG 2

4th step – How to edit your photos on VSCO

Double tap the photo you wish to edit so it brings it to the forefront of your screen. To edit press the icon that has two parallel lines a bit like this =.

Select your filter and see how this alters the aesthetics of your picture. You can alter how much of that filter you want on your picture by pressing your selection again and bringing the circle down from 12 to say 8 for example. Once happy press the .

IG 3

Press the little arrow at the bottom, then the spanner image to then add any additional changes like cropping, brightness, contrast. This is pretty self explanatory as you should be used to this from the Instagram features. If you’re not to savvy with this then have a little explore on each preset and see how each option can change the look and feel of your photo. Again once happy press the little arrow at the bottom and then the .

IG 5

5th step – How to save your photos to camera roll

Once happy with how your photo looks press the three little dots on the right ••• and you should see a list of options where you can save to camera roll and I always choose to save in actual size. Then press the × to go back into your VSCO library.

IG 6

6th step – Applying edit to ‘all’

If you want to apply the same edit to a selection of other photos then double tap the picture you want to copy the edits from. Press the three little dots •••  select copy edits then press × then tap all the photos you want to apply the edit to which should show green boxes around them all, then press the three dot image again ••• and press paste edits.

You can then select them all at once and save to camera roll too.

IG 8

It’s as simple as that! Once you’ve played around with the app you’ll soon figure it out and realise how you can swipe through the photos and go back and forth onto the different pages and if you’re brave enough; how to use their camera too.

Before and after:


Good luck!

Please let me know if you’ve found this useful, confusing or just need more advice?

Also please feel free to share any other apps you recommend to edit pictures or presets on VSCO, I’d love to know and I’m sure everyone else would too :).

Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope this has helped for those who are novices to VSCO and for those who aren’t then I’ll be back to my usual blogging antics soon!

Much love





  1. April 18, 2016 / 7:12 am

    This is lovely and so helpful of you Sally. I’ve gone through phases with VSCO. The main reason I stopped using it was because I thought you needed to be in the app to take pictures and like you say it was too difficult to have it ready when you’re trying to snap two toddlers running away. A great post, I look forward to the next one xxx

  2. April 18, 2016 / 7:21 am

    Love this Sally!! I remember those first few weeks when I’d just downloaded VSCO and couldn’t figure out what on earth I was doing. Wish I’d read a post like this then! And that picture with the flowers and stripy top….BEAUTIFUL!!!

    April 18, 2016 / 10:31 am

    Thanks Alex, I’m glad it’s brought you some enlightenment on the app and here if you need any more advice 🙂 xxx

    April 18, 2016 / 10:32 am

    Aw thanks Lauren, I know me too, I had a love / hate relationship with it at first haha xxx

  5. Jessie
    April 18, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    This is so great, thanks for the tips! I was wondering if you tend to use the aesthetic series or the clean series more then editing photos of people, like you and your son? Do you ever use more than 1 filter at a time? Thanks so much!

    April 18, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    Hi Jessie I don’t actually use more than one filter at a time to be honest I do alter the brightness, contrast, shadows etc sometimes though. I also tend to use the same two filters for everything including pictures of people and general photos xx

  7. Alison
    April 18, 2016 / 7:55 pm

    this is great, thanks for sharing, i’m only just starting to post pictures on instagram and make a concerted effort to take more “considered” snaps. still trying to find my look and have been using the F series so will check out those you mentioned too. your page is beautiful and congrats and so many followers

  8. @mumsnaptime
    April 18, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    this is great, thanks for sharing, i’m only just starting to post pictures on instagram and make a concerted effort to take more “considered” snaps. still trying to find my look and have been using the F series so will check out those you mentioned too. your page is beautiful and congrats and so many followers

  9. April 18, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    Super helpful article, thanks lovely ! I’ve just started using VSCO… kinda complex, kinda not. But this has helped xxx

  10. June 19, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    Hi! I use VSCO as well and love it but do you always take pictures with your iPhone or do you take them with a camera and transfer the to your phone? Your pictures are such good quality.

    June 27, 2016 / 9:06 pm

    Hi Lovely, I do take the majority on my camera which has in built wifi so I can download them to my phone straight away 🙂 xxx

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