Among the various mobile photo editing tools, the VSCO app immediately stood out for its features of ease of use and the different customizations of filters, vignetting, focus and sharpness, so much so that it became one of the most popular apps. for photographers and creatives.
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VSCO, the acronym for Visual Supply Company, founded in 2012, presents very clear results of its success achieved in recent years:
- a total of 30 million users with a growth rate of 802% in the last year;
- an explosive spread in China, becoming the second reference market after the USA;
- became the first branded hashtag on Instagram with #vsco , second only to the use of #art, and used over 100 million times… which is more than double the use of #OneDirection and #Nike!
The birth of this app has a random element, as often happens, that has indicated the path to success. The two co-founders Joel Flory and Greg Lutze, respectively wedding photographer, and creative designer, had opened their startup to create WordPress templates for professional photographers. But it is only thanks to the collaborator Zach Hodges that after a workshop for wedding photography, they managed to identify their need, to have a tool that they already used first linked to photo editing and from here, they understood a much more widespread need: this is how the idea of VSCO was born!
VSCO be or not to be… social?
It is important to remember that this app has not aimed directly at being social “at all costs”, on the contrary it has positioned itself as a valid and important support for creating unique photos from mobile devices and then sharing them on social platforms, Instagram in primis. As defined by their founders, they want to provide a product to support the creative developments of their community:
“Our vision is to support our creative community by building great products and providing artists with the opportunity to pursue their creative visions”.
In fact, VSCO is social through VSCO Grid , its own sharing platform, where however we wanted to keep its initial spirit, making it possible only to become a fan of a user but without commenting or clicking like on his photos, thus eliminating the “pressure “Engagement…. Almost an anti-social one would say! In fact, the co-founder Flory in an interview states “Our hope is that this will eliminate pressure, inspiring creativity and excitement to post in a judgment-free zone”.
Another very interesting aspect is the data of the latest official statistics because it is well understood how much VSCO has a very specific target, in addition to the solid community of professional photographers. In fact, today the majority of users are women under 24 who, in particular, use VSCO above all to post photos that do not fit the “cut” of Instagram and that, in size and quality, are actually closer to the world. of professional photography. We also highlight, this app is particularly appreciated by tens because it is a safe space where you can create and where you always remain “owners” of the shots, as the user’s name is always associated with each photo, even in personal collections.
In short, an app that manages to involve from professionals to aspiring and young photographers, and which, as its history shows, always tends to value quality over quantity, also by selecting new users to promote in its journal.
One of the biggest sources of profit is certainly VSCO films Presets for Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw for professional photo editing. They are very popular as they can simulate the magic of the film and are not particularly expensive, in fact today they have a selling price of $ 59.
Furthermore, thanks to the collaboration of Bryan Mason (previously responsible for the release of Creative Cloud for Adobe for VSCO), the possibility has already been introduced to purchase filter packs, exclusive to the mobile app, for a fee, the cost varies from 0, 72 euros to 9.99 euros.
While other economic opportunities come from direct collaborations with large companies that need support for communication projects with important photographers.
In 2014 VSCO also had an investment of $ 40 million from Accel Partners, a venture capital that was among the first to invest in Facebook. The founders stated that the use of the funds would be dedicated to product development, increasing the international infrastructure and forVSCO’s Artist Initiative, for a sum equal to 1 million dollars. It is interesting to note that among the various strategic objectives of the company, there is a scholarship, to provide resources for artists to support them in the realization of their artistic vision, regardless of nationality and the medium used.
VSCO for business
But for companies, does it work? A successful case study was done with Marriott Hotels , helping the hotel chain find the best photographers on VSCO to offer their artistic and creative guide to the cities where the hotels are located. The project is calledTravel Brilliantly definitely “inspiring”.
VSCO grid of the Marriott Hotels
For now, it must be emphasized that the presence of companies is low, certainly much lower than Instagram. If the opportunity to be among the first is associated with a good visual storytelling strategy , and if the target of the app, decidedly young and creative, is in line with yours … considering the constantly growing numbers, what are you waiting to use VSCO ?!