/ photography

Shawn Blanc on VSCO Cam for iPad

Shawn Blanc has an interesting post talking about the pros and cons of the new VSCO Cam app for iPad, as well as detailing his workflow for getting a photo from camera to iOS editing app to final image.

VSCO Cam is an app I’ve wanted to try for a while, but since I don’t do phones, and VSCO Cam was iPhone-only until this week, I’m just now getting to try it.

I’ll just add one thing that I don’t think Shawn mentioned: VSCO Cam currently seems to ignore raw image files that are in the iOS photo library. That means that to get the photo above into VSCO Cam, I had to run it through Pixelmator first. I didn’t do anything to the image in Pixelmator other than open the raw file and export it. The exported file (presumably a jpeg) can be opened in VSCO Cam.

That’s way too much effort for me to do on a regular basis, but at least there is a workaround if I need it.


Shawn also talks about Apple’s Lightning-to-SD card reader. If you’re wondering about getting one, it would be worth reading his points on that as well.

I’ve been using the card reader since August and it’s been good for me. But there is a lot of physical action required to use it, making it less than practical when you’re on the move.

Aside from all of the shuffling around required to pull out the card reader and move an SD card from the camera to the iOS device, there are two issues that have bugged me from the start, as Shawn points out:

However, there are two things I don’t like about this process.

  • It loads the images from oldest to newest. So if you plug in the SD card to import a few images you just took, you have to wait for the whole card full of images to load before you can select the most recent images.
  • You can’t enlarge the images to view them in full-screen before importing — you have to import them based on the merit of their thumbnail view alone.

Regarding the first point, I’m not sure what could be done to improve the card reader here, other than maybe offering a user-selectable option for which order to load in.

It may sound like a small issue, but if you are shooting in raw and have hundreds of photos on your card, you are going to have to wait for quite a while for the previews of the newest photos to render. I’m talking go-make-a-cup-of-coffee-take-a-stroll-around-the-block waiting.

And since you can’t enlarge the image previews and you don’t want to go through the long wait of loading them all again, you end up over-importing so you can make sure you get the best shot.

It’s not ideal, but it is way better than nothing.


If there is a great workflow out there for shooting raw with DSLR and moving to iOS for editing and library management I haven’t found it yet. But since I don’t have a retina Mac, I find that I go out of my way to edit photos on the iPad.