Chat with us, powered by LiveChat How to Build a Social Media App like VSCO: A Complete Guide

Don't miss the chance to work with top 1% of developers.

Sign Up Now and Get FREE CTO-level Consultation.

Confused about your business model?

Request a FREE Business Plan.

How to Build a Social Media App Like VSCO in 2023?

Share this article

483 Views | 9 min | Published On: March 31, 2023 Last Updated: December 26, 2023
Build a social media app

PartenSocial media apps have taken the world by storm. Also, with millions of people spending countless hours on their smartphones every day, the social media trend is here to stay.

VSCO is a popular social media app that has captured the hearts of many with its unique filters, editing tools, and engaged community of creators. Its success has led many entrepreneurs to consider developing their own social media products and applications.

According to reports, the global photo editing software market is expected to reach $394.39 Million by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 8%.

Global Photo Editing Software Market

These numbers indicate that there has never been a better time to tap into this growing industry and start your photo editing app development and social media application like VSCO or Instagram.

But, what is the process to do it successfully?

In this blog, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to create an app that combines the best of both worlds – stunning photo editing tools and a thriving social community. So, let’s get started!

3 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Social Media App like VSCO

Investing in VSCO-like app development can be a strategic decision, and here are three compelling reasons why:

1. Niche Target Audience:

VSCO has successfully carved out a niche among photography enthusiasts and creators. By investing in a similar app, you can tap into this specific target audience that is passionate about high-quality photo editing, filters, and sharing their visual content. Catering to a dedicated niche allows for focused marketing efforts and a potentially loyal user base.

2. Monetization Opportunities:

Social media apps like VSCO often offer diverse monetization avenues. From premium subscriptions for enhanced features to in-app purchases of filters and editing tools, there are various ways to generate revenue. Additionally, partnerships with brands for sponsored content or collaborations with photographers can open up additional streams of income. With a well-thought-out monetization strategy, your app can turn popularity into profitability.

3. Visual Content Trends:

The increasing popularity of visual content on social media platforms makes investing in a photo-sharing app timely. Users are actively seeking platforms that provide advanced photo editing capabilities and a visually appealing interface. Building an app with innovative features, user-friendly design, and seamless sharing options can capitalize on the current trends favoring visual-centric content. As visual storytelling becomes more prominent, your app can be positioned to meet this growing demand.

How Does an App Like VSCO Work: An Overview

Basically, there are many photo-editing apps out there with social networking features. But, each application has its business model and features. While some give more importance to photo and video editing tools, others prioritize community building.

For example, VSCO is an application that is more aligned towards providing better editing tools for the users and Instagram focuses more on community building. Here is How Instagram Works and Makes Money.

Similarly, the revenue models of both these apps vary. While VSCO uses a subscription model to monetize its operations, Instagram depends heavily on the advertising model.

But, here is how these applications work in general:

How does app like VSCO work
  • Upload a photo: Users can upload their photos or videos to the app from their camera roll, or take new photos directly in the app.
  • Editing: Once the photo or video is uploaded, users can access a variety of editing tools such as crop, adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, temperature, etc. VSCO also offers more advanced tools like HSL (Hue, Saturation, and Luminance), split-tone, and selective adjustments.
  • Apply Filters: VSCO also offers a range of unique and custom filters that can be applied to the photo or video, giving it a distinct look and feel.
  • Save and Share: Once the user is satisfied with the edits, they can save the picture on their device or share it on their VSCO profile, or to other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Generally, apps like VSCO works by providing users with powerful editing tools, a supportive community, and a sustainable business model that can be used to generate revenue.

The VSCO community is an important aspect of the app. Users can browse through the work of other photographers, follow their profiles, and interact with them by liking and commenting on their photos. Also, the app works using a subscription model where users can pay a monthly or yearly fee to access all editing tools and features.

However, your app doesn’t need to work this way. It is best to have a New and Unique App Idea for developing something that gets traction. Let’s now see how you can proceed.

Build an app like Instagram

5 Steps to Build a Social Media App Like VSCO

Building a social media app like VSCO requires careful planning and execution. Here are a few steps to help you get started:

Step 1: Conduct Market Research

The first step to building any successful app is conducting market research. You should start by researching the market and identifying the gap that your app can fill. Here are some of the steps that you can follow:

  • Define Your Target Market

Find out the demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics of your target audience.

This will help you understand their needs, interests, and behaviors. For example, if you are building a social media app like VSCO, your target audience may be Gen-Zers and young adults between the ages of 13-35 who are interested in photography and social networking. Your goal here should be to identify everything about their likes and dislikes.

  • Identify Competitors

Research your competitors to identify their strengths and weaknesses, their target audience, and the features they offer. Look at similar apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, and identify what sets your app apart.

For example, VSCO offers unique photo and video editing tools that are not available on other social media apps. Similarly, you will need to have your own USP to build a successful app. Think of something that helps you stand out in the market.

Key players of social photo editing app market

Market research is an ongoing process that involves constantly gathering data and feedback to improve your app and stay ahead of the competition. However, initially, you will have to do a lot of research to define your unique value proposition.

Also Read: Why YikYak – An Anonymous Social Media App With a Large User Base Failed?

Step 2: Define Your App’s Business Model

Having a strong business model is crucial for the success of an app. Once you are done researching your app’s target market and audience, it is time to use that information to create a solid business and revenue model. Just note down the problems you want to solve for your users, turn them into your app features, and find ways to make money out of them.

The business model of an app is important because it determines how the app will generate revenue and how profitable it will be. It can influence your app’s user acquisition strategies, cost structure, revenue streams, and financial sustainability and growth. Thus, make sure you craft the business model carefully. Here are a few things you need to define here:

  • Your App’s Value Proposition

The first thing to define here is – how will your app add value to the user’s life. How is it different from other similar apps present in the present? For example, VSCO capitalizes on being a low-pressure social media application.

It lets users post images without a caption, like, or comment. Unlike Instagram, all that users see in the photo published, is a follow button, the date, and the filter used on the picture. The app sells a sense of belonging and Gen Z loves that. That’s also how it is different from Instagram. Similarly, your application needs to have its own USP to make its place in the market.

  • Revenue Streams

Determine how the app will generate revenue. VSCO’s revenue streams include subscription fees, in-app purchases, and brand partnerships. On the other hand, Instagram makes money by letting advertisers promote their brands on the platform. Similarly, you can decide your revenue streams. Here are some of the most popular revenue streams used by major players in the social photo editing app industry:

Popular Ways to Monetize Your Social Photo Editing Application
  • App Pricing

Decide on the pricing strategy for the app. VSCO offers a free version with limited features and a paid subscription model that unlocks premium features. Determine the pricing structure that will be most attractive to your target audience while still being profitable.

  • A Marketing Strategy

Define a marketing strategy to promote the app and increase revenue. This can include social media advertising, influencer marketing, and email campaigns. VSCO has a strong presence on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, where they showcase user-generated content and promote their subscription service.

In addition, you must clearly define your customer segment, key resources, partners, and cost structure of the app in the app’s business model to provide clarity to all the stakeholders involved. It is best to create a business model canvas for your app. Here is what it looks like:

Step 3: Select Your App Features

Once you have identified the gaps in the market, define the features you want to include in your app. Your app features should be decided based on the data you collected in the first and second steps and they must align with the needs and preferences of your users and your app’s business model. Here are some of the must-have features for social photo editing apps:

Essential features of social photo editing apps
  • Filters: Filters are a popular way to enhance the look of a photo. Social photo editing apps like Instagram and VSCO typically offer a wide range of filters to choose from, allowing users to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, and other elements of their photos
  • Editing tools: In addition to filters, social photo editing apps typically include a range of editing tools, such as crop, rotate, and resize. Some apps also offer more advanced editing tools, such as exposure, color temperature, and clarity adjustments.
  • Presets: Presets are pre-built editing settings that can be applied to a photo with a single tap. Social photo editing apps often include a variety of presets created by professional photographers and users, allowing users to easily achieve a particular style or mood.
  • Save and share: Social photo editing apps are designed to make it easy to save and share photos with others. For example, VSCO allows users to share photos directly with the VSCO community, as well as with other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Users can also save the edited photo on their devices.
  • Community features: Many social photo editing apps also offer community features that allow users to interact with other users. These features may include the ability to follow other users, like and comment on their photos, and share your photos with the community.
  • Advanced camera controls: Some social photo editing apps also come with their camera features. These features may include manual controls for adjusting exposure, focus, shutter speed, and white balance, as well as features like grid lines and rule-of-thirds overlays to help users compose better shots.
  • Image organization: Social photo editing apps often come with features that help users organize and manage their photos. For example, VSCO includes a built-in photo library that allows users to view their photos in a grid or list view, filter photos by tags, and search for specific photos. Users can also create their collections and organize their photos by theme, event, or location.

A social photo editing app must offer a wide range of features that allow users to enhance their photos and share them with others. The choice of features depends on the business model of the app and the development budget.

You can also include advanced features like AR filters, frames, retouching, and others to make your app more compelling. However, remember the more features you add, the higher will be your app development cost. So, instead of adding everything at once, it is best to use an MVP Approach to build a social media app like VSCO.

Step 4: Design and Develop Your App

Once you are clear about how your app will work, it is time to invest in app design and development. Keep in mind that you need to design a user interface that is intuitive and easy to use. Consider how users will navigate through the app and how they will interact with the various features. Partnering with the social media app development company will take your business to the next level.

However, once you are clear about the app idea and concept, you need to hire a proficient social photo-editing app development team. Here is what the structure of your app development team should look like:

  • 1 Project Manager
  • 1 UI/UX Designer
  • 2 Android Developers
  • 2 iOS Developers
  • 2 Back-end Developers
  • QA Engineers

Developing a social photo editing app like VSCO requires a significant amount of time, resources, and expertise in software development, UI/UX design, and security. Thus, working with a team of experienced professionals is important to ensure the app is successful. Choose the right platforms, technology stack, and others with the help of app development experts.

Also Read: Decoding Clubhouse Business Model: How the Audio-Only Social App Thrives

Step 5: App Launch

Launching an app involves several steps, including app store submission, marketing, and user engagement. And you need to take all of that into consideration.

Also, it is an ongoing process that requires a lot of effort and attention to detail. It’s also important to continue iterating and improving your app based on user feedback and market trends. So, when hiring an app development team, make sure you clear things about post-launch support and maintenance. Once your app is ready, submit it to the app stores on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Wrapping Up

There are many social photo editing apps available in the market like Instagram, Snapseed, VSCO, and others. However, it is an industry where there is always room for improvement and scope for new app ideas. If you have an idea and want to go for social media app development, get in touch with Apptunix experts. Their team will provide you best photo editing app development services with a cost-effective process, post-launch support, and funding solutions for budding Mobile App Startups.

Hire social photo editing app developers

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Q 1.Is it worth building a social media app like VSCO photo editing?

Building a social media app like VSCO can be worth it if you can offer unique value, cater to a specific audience, and have a solid strategy for development, marketing, and monetization. It’s essential to thoroughly research, plan, and be prepared for the challenges of entering the competitive social media landscape.


Q 2.Why should I consider building a social media app like VSCO?

Building a social media app like VSCO provides an opportunity to tap into the growing market of photo-sharing enthusiasts. If you can offer unique features or cater to a specific niche, it can be a rewarding venture.


Q 3.What are the key features that users expect in a photo-sharing app?

Users expect features such as photo editing tools, filters, a user-friendly interface, social sharing capabilities, and a seamless experience for uploading and organizing their photos. Incorporating these features in your app like VSCO photo editing will take your business to the next level. 


Q 4.How can I monetize a social media app like VSCO?

Monetization options include in-app advertisements, premium subscriptions for access to exclusive features, partnerships with brands, or offering premium filters and editing tools for purchase.


Q 5.How much does it cost to develop a social media app like VSCO?

The development cost varies based on factors like features, platform (iOS, Android, both), complexity, and design. It can range from $25,000 to $50,000 for basic features. For advanced features, it will cost around $80,000 or above


Rate this article!

Bad Article
Strange Article
Boring Article
Good Article
Love Article

Join 60,000+ Subscribers

Get the weekly updates on the newest brand stories, business models and technology right in your inbox.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


App Monetization Strategies: How to Make Money From an App?

Your app can draw revenue in many ways. All you need to figure out is suitable strategies that best fit your content, your audience, and your needs. This eGuide will put light on the same.

Download Now!

Take the First Step
Towards Success!

Master app development with a
30-day FREE trial of our premium

Discuss your Idea with a CTO!

Get a Call Back