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Which Is the Better Photo Editing App?

If you’re ready to take your photography to the next level, it’s time to settle on a photo editing platform. There are several powerful tools available, many of which have various features to make your images stand out.

Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular image editing platforms on the market. And while you can use the streamlined Lightroom CC, many photographers still prefer editing in Lightroom Classic. You might also have heard of VSCO; the Pro subscription plan offers numerous tools that’ll help you make amazing edits.

Let’s see how VSCO Pro and Lightroom Classic compare.


Before we look at how VSCO Pro and Lightroom Classic perform in photo editing, let’s first discuss pricing.

Lightroom Classic

You probably already know of Adobe Creative Cloud if you’re into photography, but what exactly does Adobe Creative Cloud include?

Lightroom Classic is one of the most important tools in the Adobe CC suite, and you can get it as part of the Photography Plan. This particular subscription also includes Lightroom CC and Photoshop and starts at $11.49 per month in the US. Pricing may vary depending on your country of residence.

You can also get Lightroom Classic with a Creative Cloud All Apps subscription, which starts at $60.94 per month in the US. Like the Photography Plan, pricing can vary depending on where you live.


VSCO Pro is the highest subscription tier you can get with VSCO, and it unlocks the app’s full suite of features. It might be worth trying VSCO Plus first, which offers more than Free.

VSCO Pro costs $59.99 per year if you get an annual subscription. If you’re convinced that you want to upgrade, that’s a much more cost-effective option than paying monthly—which will cost you $12.99 per month.

File Editing Types

a person editing photos on their laptop

Some scenarios are better edited as JPEGs, but many photographers prefer editing RAW files. The main reason is that you’ll get more flexibility with your adjustments, and you can often go much deeper with your edits.

Lightroom Classic lets you import and edit both RAW and JPEG files, and you can also export in other formats—including PSD if you want to use Lightroom and Photoshop together.

In VSCO Pro, editing RAW files is a little more complicated for some users. For people with an Android device, VSCO recommends not editing RAW because of the significant image quality trade-off. RAW support is available to those who have an iPhone 6s or later, however, you’ll need to export in JPEG.

Basic Sliders

Let’s look at some of the basic editing features at your disposal.

Lightroom Classic

The Basic Editing Tools in Adobe Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Classic is an excellent program for making basic adjustments to your photos. You can alter the exposure, highlights, shadows, and white balance. On top of that, Lightroom Classic offers access to sliders that allow you to adjust the saturation and vibrance in your picture.

In addition, you can use HSL sliders to adjust the hue, saturation, and luminance within individual colors. Furthermore, you’ve got the option to alter the lights and darks in your photo.


The Contrast Slider in VSCO Pro

VSCO Pro has a list of basic editing sliders that you can use to start the process of bringing your photos to life. Adding exposure and contrast is easy, and you can also alter the sharpness and clarity of your photos (both of these sliders are also available in Lightroom Classic). You can alter your white balance in VSCO Pro as well, along with adding blur and more.

Truth be told, VSCO Pro and Lightroom Classic don’t differ a huge amount in basic sliders. In addition to Lightroom Classic, you should consider comparing VSCO and Lightroom CC if you want to edit pictures on the go.

Advanced Editing

Making basic adjustments to your photos is only one part of the editing process. If you want to create your own unique photography style, you’ll also need to learn the more advanced tools.

Lightroom Classic

The Calibration Sliders in Adobe Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Classic has a broad suite of advanced editing tools, and it’s unsurprising that the platform has become one of the most popular in the photography industry. You can color grade your images using four different wheels, you can make lens corrections, and you can use the Lightroom Calibration tool to make further color alterations.

When using Lightroom Classic, you can also change the geometry of your photo if necessary. Furthermore, you’ve got access to numerous healing tools.


The Split Toning Tool in VSCO

VSCO Pro doesn’t have all the same advanced editing tools that Lightroom Classic does, but you’ll still find a solid selection to choose from. For example, you can use Split Toning to change the colors in your shadows and highlights. There is also a Dodge & Burn feature that allows you to choose which parts of your picture you want to be brighter or darker.

You also have access to a much bigger range of presets than in VSCO Free and Plus. Moreover, you can create your own “recipes” (which are effectively the same as presets) to refer to later if needed.

Device Availability

The VSCO app open on a smartphone

Before choosing any photo editing software, it’s essential that you know where you can use it.

Lightroom Classic’s biggest advantage is that it has been available for desktop for years. The tool is downloadable for both Windows and Mac computers, but you’ll need to use Lightroom CC for mobile editing.

You can download Lightroom Classic for your desktop from the Adobe website.

On the other hand, VSCO only began rolling out its desktop editing suite in the summer of 2023. On top of that, you can edit on your smartphone or tablet—which is a benefit if you want to edit on the go. Unfortunately, as of August 2023, VSCO’s desktop editing is limited to your web browser.

Download: VSCO for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)

Key Takeaways

  • Adobe Lightroom Classic and VSCO Pro are both powerful photo editing platforms with various features to enhance your images.
  • Lightroom Classic is part of Adobe Creative Cloud and offers flexible pricing options starting at $11.49 per month, while VSCO Pro costs $59.99 per year or $12.99 per month.
  • Lightroom Classic supports editing both RAW and JPEG files and offers a wide range of advanced editing tools, while VSCO Pro has basic sliders and some advanced tools but is more limited in editing RAW files.

Choose the Right Photo Editor for Your Needs

VSCO Pro and Lightroom Classic are two of the best photo editing tools, and both of them are relatively affordable. You can access numerous features with the pair of them, though they do differ in some respects.

If you’re looking for a program with a full suite of professional features, and desktop editing is your preference, Lightroom Classic is a better option. But if the ability to make mobile adjustments is more important to you, VSCO Pro is worth trying.

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