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VSCO launches its first iPad app and a new publishing platform

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Update also brings new sync features and ability to upload images from a desktop

VSCO, the company behind VSCO Film and the popular VSCO Cam app, is today announcing VSCO Cam 4.0 for iOS. This update, which the company says is the biggest since VSCO Cam's launch, brings along a new iPad app, the ability to sync pictures between devices, and access to VSCO Journal, VSCO's new publishing platform that lets users tell stories with their images. It's available in the App Store today as a free update for iOS 8 devices.

The biggest piece of this update is the new iPad app, which takes advantage of the tablet's larger, higher resolution display to make editing photos easier. Image presets can be instantly previewed before applying them, and you can modify, undo, or just view edits to photos in a new history view. The new sync feature (which works between both the iOS and Android versions of VSCO Cam) lets users easily snap photos with their phones and then edit them on their tablets.

The iPad app takes advantage of the the tablet's larger display to make editing images easier

VSCO is also introducing a new web uploader to make it easier to get DSLR images from your desktop into your VSCO account and edit them with VSCO Cam's tools. VSCO co-founder Joel Flory stresses that this new sync feature isn't designed to be a replacement for backup tools or services, but is merely a way to have your favorite images available on all of your devices for easier editing.

The iPhone version of VSCO Cam is also receiving a visual refresh, though features like integration with iOS 8's Share Sheet are not included in this version. The Android app is also being updated to support the new sync features starting today.

The other big part of VSCO's announcement today is the public launch of Journal, which has been available in limited beta since August. It's a publishing platform that focuses on telling stories with pictures, words, and other media, not unlike Exposure or Storehouse. Journal entries can include multiple pictures to tell an entire narrative, as opposed to VSCO's existing Grid platform, which is limited to one photo per entry. It lives entirely within the VSCO Cam app: users create their entries and browse other Journal posts right from within VSCO Cam (entries can also be accessed in a web browser, but new posts can only be created within the app itself). Co-founder Greg Lutze emphasized that, "We approached this from a mobile first solution: take a photo, create it, upload it, and create context around it right from your mobile device."

Journal started as an internal tool: the company has been using some form of it for its own image-heavy blog posts for roughly three years. Flory notes that it's not just "one feature of long form content" but an ecosystem. VSCO's goal is to build a "cohesive package of tools and services to create the ultimate experience" for photographers.

VSCO has expanded its reach beyond presets and image editing tools to become a publishing platform

As part of the launch of Journal, VSCO partnered with The Fader, a music publication, to produce specific features that highlight the magazine's photography. The Fader will pull from its 15-year archive of issues to showcase photographer profiles, image sets that didn't make it to publication, and portraits from its extensive back catalog with VSCO's Journal. Geordie Wood, The Fader's photo director, says the partnership with VSCO came about pretty organically, since both companies were fans of each other's work. "Fader is a bunch of creative-minded people, with a culture of photography," says Wood. The Journal features will be linked to from the magazine's website, and VSCO will highlight the entries when users browse the Journal through the app.

It's an undeniably interesting story: VSCO started out building image-editing presets for professional photographers to use with Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom software before entering the very consumer-focused world of mobile apps. VSCO Cam quickly captured the attention of mobile photographers looking for something more powerful than Instagram. And now with Journal, VSCO is offering a publishing platform for those photographers to share their images with the world.