It’s only fitting that my final review of VSCO Cam Presets goes out on the final day of 2015.
Here we are for the final final installment of the VSCO Cam Guide. It’s been a trip, but there’s finally the light at the end of the tunnel.
Head to the intro to see the complete 10 Part series, and for a more in-depth look at all the presets.
For this ranking, I entered every preset into a bracket style, single elimination, head to head showdown. I am happy to present the best of the best, the top 21 VSCO Cam presets!
I divided them into 5 general categories.
Black and White: All the black and white presets.
Extreme: Those that were on the extreme side of the cool or warm scale.
Cool: Cool filters, with blue or purple over tones.
Warm: Warm filters, with yellow or red over tones.
Neutral: Those that balance both cool and warm tones without being too distracting.
I then narrowed it down to the top 3 B&W, top 3 Extreme, and the top 5 of the Cool, Warm, and Neutral presets. This was mostly done by gut reaction and first impressions. Also, these are my personal favorites, but I tried to include a variety of tastes. Consider this my top 21 of the 100+ presets available (at the time of writing).
Without further adieu, the 21 Best VSCO Cam Presets!
All pictures can be clicked to expand them.
TOP 3 BLACK AND WHITE
03: Simply my favorite black and white. Highlights are there, shadows are dark, and there’s a ton of gray in-between. Classic and perfect and neutral.
Original Review: Similar to 01 except it has an even higher contrast. I like how it brightens skin and evens complexions. It results in very clean, crisp, images that I find visually and graphically interesting
B3: Similar to 03 and probably inspired by it. Less contrast than 03 so more sublte details remain, like in the clouds, and the edge of the water.
B4: I loved how dark and graphic this preset gets. I would never actually use it for this image since so many details are lost, but I love how dramatic it is.
Original Review: Focus on contrast and saturation. You will lose details in the dark shaded areas, but it creates a striking image. Does retail details in the lighter values though.
TOP 3 EXTREME
P1: I love the ‘far away-ness’. It feels so very Polaroid, which makes sense since it’s the first preset of the Instant Collection. Creamy buttery overtones, and soft blue water. It’s too strong for everything, but definitely has it’s place when recreating a memory.
Original Review: An overall warm filter, the least pure yellow of the 3. Another good sunny day attitude filter.
P4: Cool filters are by definition kind of sad feeling, and this is the most extreme of the cool filters. That being said, I love the atmosphere around this image. It’s very refreshing and crisp, even if it is a touch somber.
Original Review: This is a very icy blue filter that brightens and washes out a little bit.
C5: Sunny and warm. Similar to P1, but blues are more green/yellow than blue. Love the positive atmosphere surrounding the picture, and the fact that it seems to perfectly capture a hot summer morning.
Original Review: Very similar in effect to C4, except that it is a very warm filter. Makes pictures comforting and cozy, without the flatness of a traditional “sepia” filter. Would make a great go-to warm filter. It’s a little strong, but not in a bad way.
TOP 5 COOL
Q4: To me, it’s exactly what you want in a cool filter. Crisp whites, skin still looks like skin, and the whole image feels refreshing without being sterile.
Original Review: Hmm, not blue, not yellow, but white it seems. Brightens and heavy contrast. Brings out a few details, but so un-humanizing. Love it for landscapes though. Probably cooler than I would go normally, but the flamingos are wonderful soft little blips on the horizon and I love it.
HB2: Highlight’s pop while the rest of the image plays along nicely. Brings out the details in the darker areas. Relaxing and peaceful.
Original Review: I found it was good to skintones, retained and enhances colors, and generally brightens. Similar to A6 but has higher contrast.
J4: A more muted cool filter with a bit of a fade. Creates a distinct sadness and softness to an image. Also has an all over touch of rose that I appreciate in a cool filter.
Original Review: A saturated, light preset with yellow undertones with saturated blacks. Actually pretty similar to J1 with a higher exposure.
E6: Similar to J4, in that it’s a muted cool filter, but E6 retains more of the citrus tones in skin. Love the depth of the water and the softness of the sky.
Original Review: Ok wow, a very cool filter. Skin is left visibly blue in light places, so maybe not the best preset for people. But I do love how it makes the flamingos pop in the landscape image. Colors are left with a blue tint, and it results in pretty “mysterious” imagery.
E3: Very very similar to E6, they are from the same family after all. But E3 over-processes skin tones, and that could be a bit harsh. I love the contrast between the deep blue water and the overly-warm skin though.
Original Review: A cool filter. I love cool filters so much. May be overly cool for some scenarios, and could leave skin a little sickly. But I find that overall its a well rounded blue filter that adds a “far away/overcast” feel to images.
TOP 5 WARM
S4: I’m just going to say it. THIS is the perfect warm filter. Happy, sunny, bright, not overly saturated, or overly orange. It makes me happy just looking at it.
Original Review: Washes out and loses some mid-range definition. Probably good for low light outdoor photos.
Q10: Yay for pink filters! I am having a total obsession with rose hued images right now. And I love how creamy this one is.
Original Review: So this must be what its like to see through rose colored glasses. Creates a very welcoming image. Similar to Q3 in that it’s easy on the contrast, creating a somewhat flat image.
Q1: Almost the same at Q10 but without the pink. Color values are almost the same. A nice alternative that doesn’t feel overly processed.
Original Review: Brightens highlights and mid-tones. Adds a soft golden glow. Creates kind of dreamy landscapes.
E2: Slightly yellow overtones. Q10, Q1, and E2 could all be the same effects but with different tints. Retains good color depth and variation.
Original Review: A pretty neutral filter. Does add slight, pleasant warmth to skin tones, but leaves landscapes pretty realistic. Nothing too drastic all around, enhances, but minds it own business. Probably the most true to color of all the E series.
P9: Probably should have been on the extreme list, but I like it’s commitment. Creates a distinct atmosphere to the image. Kind of like looking back in a hungover stupor.
Original Review: Another yellow! I really don’t love yellow filters, but for some landscape photography or when people aren’t the subject matter, it adds a very interesting glow and depth to pictures.
TOP 5 NEUTRAL
LV1: Damn you guys, I would have never thought the most versatile, best all around preset, would be free. The perfect blend of cool and warm, light and dark, saturation and contrast.
Original Review: A filter that does what you usually do anyway to edit a photo. Tweaks the exposure, contrast, and saturation. Doesn’t really mess with color hue or temperature.
C8: Does what it sets out to do. The details are there with a full range of color. Makes an image better, and without too much added personality.
Original Review: Doesn’t do anything to striking. A good brightness and contrast enhancement. Leaves most colors alone, but over-exaggerates the “blue” in blues and greens. Love that it doesn’t leave skin to sterile.
K3: You know how much I love this filter. I think it does the most perfect things to the blues and adds rosy tints to the highlights. Best of both worlds.
Original Review: Blues are bluer while still being a deep, warm overall filter. Doesn’t brighten as much as it enhances contrast and depth. It’s pretty much the only filter I use on the shop Instagram because it’s a great “general” enhancer, and adds just enough personality.
N3: Faded and yellow/green, the brightest of the neutrals. I like how it feels the tiniest bit exaggerated and immersive.
Original Review: Warm filter. Pleasantly fades and softens skin tones. Enhances color vibrancy and tone.
E1: Similar to K3 but brighter. Slight purple tint, but overall it adapts to the mood of the image.
Original Review: A pleasant glow on skin-tones. Deepens shadows and makes subjects pop. I personally really love cool landscapes, so this one is a total win in my book. Doesn’t get too crazy with exposure or contrast.