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Ever notice how the feeds of your favorite websites, designers and artistically-gifted friends look clean and cohesive? There’s a good chance they’re using a little thing called VSCOcam to edit their photos.

The photography app's tools and features are way more sophisticated than any comparable features on Instagram. Read on to learn more about how to use eight of VSCO's editing tools, then start customizing your own look to post to the 'Gram.

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Pick a Filter

Not that Amaro isn't great and all, but using a filter you can't find on Instagram is the first step toward a signature look. Choose from one of VSCO's ten fresh, gorgeous options. 

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Customize the Filter

VSCO's filters are totally customizable--you can choose how much to apply each on a scale of 1 to 12. Adding two notches gives just a hint of character, while adding 12 results in a full-blown transformation.

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Lighten Up

VSCOcam's exposure tool pumps up the overall brightness or darkness of the image. In the mood for moody? Decrease the exposure for a brooding vibe. Is cheery more your thing? Crank up the exposure. 

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Compare and Contrast

The contrast tool defines and separates the light and dark areas of the photo. Increasing contrast will make the picture more distinct and visually interesting, whereas decreasing contrast will flatten the image. 

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Temperature Check

Playing with temperature means bringing out the warm (orange) or cool (blue) tones. If you're drawn to ocean hues, decrease the temperature to bring out the blues. Alternately, if you prefer a cozier glow, increase the temperature toward the orange end of the spectrum. 

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Color Punch

Maybe a muted palette speaks to you...or maybe you're all about color. If the latter is the case, utilize the saturation tool, which pumps up vibrancy. But use with caution: Too much saturation can make a photo look cartoonish.

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Tinted Shades

The tint tool functions similarly to temperature but brings out green and purple hues instead. A small adjustment (1 to 2 notches) will be subtle, but a larger one can push you back into cartoon territory.

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Fade Away

The fade tool lightens the entire image to look weathered by adding a vintage feel. Be advised that increasing the fade factor will decrease contrast (aka definition). But if nostalgia's your jam, this is a spot-on way to customize your image.

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Share Your Creation

Once you've got your edits just right, simply post that mini-masterpiece to Instagram directly through the VSCO app. Trust us: The beautiful custom result is well worth the legwork. 

Feeling inspired? Check out some of VSCO's excellent instructional tutorials

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