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VSCO Keys offers shortcut to Lightroom efficiencies

By dpreview staff on Oct 12, 2012 at 19:17 GMT

Visual Supply Company has announced 'VSCO Keys,' a keyboard shortcut customization tool for Adobe Lightroom 3 or 4. It aims to make working in Lightroom more efficient, but the $125 price tag (only a fraction less than Lightroom itself) is likely to limit its appeal to photographers who aren't profiting from their work. The software comes with two presets, one of which adds shortcuts without clashing with any of the software's native controls, while a more comprehensive one replaces several of them. A 14-day free trial allows you to assess the value of the efficiency savings to your workflow.

Beyond the existing shortcut presets, it's possible to create your own, either building on the VSCO defaults or starting from scratch. Shortcuts can also invoke one of 10 processing presets within Lightroom, if you regularly use the same processing as a starting point. As has become normal for Visual Supply Company, there are all manner of videos and minimalist web pages explaining and extolling the utility of VSCO Keys, one of which reveals that the software is available for both Mac and PC. (via Petapixel)

Visual Supply Company points out that there are several more-expensive tools and claims to offer more capability: 'In this case we are the budget option in the space and we offer 10x the feature set.'

Updated with lowered price (10/24/12)

Visual Supply company has lowered the price of VSCO Keys to $79, or under $60 for VSCO Film owners.


Total comments: 65
By likovsky (Nov 3, 2012)

Anyone have experience with this vs using Exposure by Alien Skin?

The main criticism I hear is that Exposure has better grain effects and within each film preset one can still manipulate the effect before applying it where as Vsco is 'oneclickboom' but of course can be tweaked after.
I do like how one can work with raw files though in Vsco. Does it work with both LR and Camera Raw or does one have to purchase it for each?

I appreciate them coming out with shortcuts but most apps give them out for free.

By redisred (Oct 23, 2012)

Hey guys, just wanted to give you a heads up: We just made some pretty big changes to VSCO Keys based on user feedback. Tons more Lightroom shortcuts added, smarter auto on/off functionality, and the price has been reduced to $79 ($59.25 if you've previously purchased VSCO Film)! We're really grateful for everyone's feedback and very stoked to make this an even better product accessible to even more people. More info here: If you have any other questions, let us know at

By rondhamalam (Oct 15, 2012)

I like it's nude shortcut key...

Soo Yee Seong
By Soo Yee Seong (Oct 14, 2012)

Now people sell shortcut keys for money???
This is crazy...

Peter KT Lim
By Peter KT Lim (Oct 14, 2012)

Good staff ..

By gsum (Oct 14, 2012)

But people enjoy chucking money down the drain, as demonstrated by the popularity of Adobe's overpriced and mediocre software.

By Takahashi (Oct 15, 2012)

Lightroom & Photoshop are "mediocre" software?

Oleg L K
By Oleg L K (Oct 13, 2012)

I hope they succeed for whatever price they ask, really.
Just to make the software providers understand that keyboard control is a must - point. No voting, no "how many people think they need it". Since most people don't really _think_, just follow the mainstream, no matter what.

It's faster and more ergonomical.It does take more time to learn than mouse-based UI, but we are talking about heavily used applications where initial time investment is well worth doing.

I myself developed extension for Sony IDC Raw converter, and it started with the need for keyboard shortcuts. Mine is based on AutoIt utility on Windows.
Having keyboard control is a game changer even for amateurs like me. I don't make sets of ~1000 photos 40 times a year, but when I bring such a set from a vacation, I need to cope with it. And I have no spare time - my job is different.

Do imaging software providers read this forum :) ?

By keeponkeepingon (Oct 13, 2012)

Thanks for all the posters suggesting free alternatives.

dpreview anonymous writng staff: If you mention the free alternatives this post would look a LOT less like an advertisement.

By datadump (Oct 13, 2012)

sup VSCO. seen this bro?


John Bean (UK)
By John Bean (UK) (Oct 14, 2012)

There seems to be an echo inside your keyboard :-)

By Tan68 (Oct 14, 2012)

I hope the repetition isn't a feature of the product he has proposed...

By Takahashi (Oct 13, 2012)

The girl in the car seems to be reacting to the price. I concur. One way to make absolutely certain that people pirate your software... take the p*** with the price.

Klaus H
By Klaus H (Oct 13, 2012)

These guys really are a bunch of jokers... they rip people off for $100 plus for film presets that they say mimic real film - which is impossible! and now this... You'd need to be a mug to fall for their guff!

By hoggdoc (Oct 13, 2012)

Am fool is often separated from his cash. I personally see no value in this software at any price.

1 upvote
By drent (Oct 13, 2012)

Keypad for iPad. Almost for free. Make your own shortcuts. Great app. I use it for FCP too.

1 upvote
By Ithackermike (Oct 15, 2012)

Do you have a link for that App?

I found this one:

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By JordanAT (Oct 15, 2012)

I think drent probably means this one:

It turns your iPad into a customizable control surface. I like the idea, but have yet to try out the Pro version (yes, I'm that cheap).

By DonSantos (Oct 13, 2012)

really not worth 125$. Maybe 5$.

How much development does it take to make shortcuts. So minimal.

The code to run lightroom has 1000x more development time and lines than this shortcut gadget. Seriously they need to get real.

Light Pilgrim
By Light Pilgrim (Oct 13, 2012)

Sorry, do not fully understand. I need to pay 125 USD to have keybord shotcuts for Lightroom? It is a joke, right?

By alexzn (Oct 13, 2012)

Ha...ha...ha...ha....There are probably, what, 25 people in the world that could REALLY justify the cost of this software... I am sure a lot more people will buy it though... DPR does need to think about the value of giving those companies exposure.

By paulwright (Oct 13, 2012)

A more flexible alternative which I have been using for years is the Razer Nostromo gaming input device .

All the keys can be programmed with a keyboard shortcut or simply made macros. It recognises when different programs are open, so you can have a different set of commands/shortcuts/macros for Lightroom, PS, Bridge, Photomechanic etc. It's especially excellent if you use a Wacom tablet. Having a scroll wheel and an enter key etc right under the left hand while you do Wacom things with your right hand makes for a highly speeded-up and efficient workflow.

By Tan68 (Oct 14, 2012)

thanks for the link. i am not sure i would buy one, but i am making note of things, such as this Nostromo device, mentioned in the comments. i do remember the introduction of the Razor game mouse. they have been busy.

By Octane (Oct 13, 2012)

This might be a fine product, but I highly recommend everyone to give 'Paddy for Lightroom' a try. It's a fully configurable plug in for Lightroom that allows you to not only define your own hotkeys, but gives you access to controls that are hard or impossible to do with a keybord otherwise.
I have set up Paddy with my own hot keys to do 'relative adjustments' to my most common used settings. Paddy has sped up my work in Lightroom a lot.

And best of all, it's absolutely free!

I really wish DPReview would feature open source and free software. That would be beneficial for the readers.

By PicOne (Oct 13, 2012)

Has some utility for power users, so I'm confused by DPRs implication that only rich hobbyists would buy this, ie. "the $125 price tag (only a fraction less than Lightroom itself) is likely to limit its appeal to photographers who aren't profiting from their work." I think they meant "the $125 price tag.. will have limited appeal to photographers who aren't profiting from their work."

1 upvote
By MPA1 (Oct 12, 2012)

Still waiting for VSCO Film 2 in Aperture....!!

Marc Lorenz
By Marc Lorenz (Oct 12, 2012)

It seems weird on the first glance but after seeing the video it looks really useful and may improve my main gripe with lightroom, which is slow navigation for processing a series of images.
I wish it would be built into Lightroom and I wish they would kill of the stupid separation between library and develop mode and improve performance when browsing images.

By MPA1 (Oct 12, 2012)

Of course, it IS built into Apple Aperture...;-)

By hoggdoc (Oct 13, 2012)

Aperture is not even close to LR4's editing functions....

1 upvote
By zlatko (Oct 13, 2012)

"... built into Aperture"? Which keystrokes will deliver a quick exposure, contrast or color adjustment in Aperture?

By DrFoc (Oct 12, 2012)

It works for me.

Been using this for 2 days, while Lightroom does already have keyboard shortcuts, they are a little awkward. Keys allows dedicated shortcuts for more complex operations, as well as really easy full keyboard editing (other than crop/rotate)
After 2 days of editing work with it, I would say that i'm about 20% faster. it feels very intuitive, and if you already have vsco film presets, as I do, then it makes sense. Anything that means I can spend more time out shooting and less time sat in from of Lightroom editing is worth a look... and this works!

1 upvote
Seth Carnill
By Seth Carnill (Oct 12, 2012)

It is a complete no brainier that this is indeed an incredibly useful tool for a professional photographer. It begs tha question 'why does adobe not provide a more comprehensive set of keyboard shortcuts for basic development adjustments?'. VSCO are providing something that could and should be considered fairly essential to a professional photographer. Why move a mouse when you can do the same adjustment quicker and easier using a keyboard shortcut? A saving of a few seconds per image can quickly add up to hours per month saved which is easily worth 100 odd dollars. I've looked at solutions priced at hundreds of dollars more. This looks like a bargain to me.

Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (Oct 12, 2012)

I heard it's included if you buy two Hasselblad Lunar cameras.

By hoggdoc (Oct 13, 2012)

Good one!

1 upvote
By parcheesi (Oct 12, 2012)

So I swung a discount on this, which helped the price sting a bit. $125 is a lot, but after using the trial for just an evening I decided it was worth the cost.

I found their stock keyboard shortcut list surprisingly easy to learn, and it truly made me much more efficient at working on my images. I have a background in software development, and their keybinding felt like using the classic Unix text editor Vim.

The only times I every have to switch to using the trackpad are when I use the crop, gradient, paintbrush, and spot tools. It makes Lightroom such a better tool, and I wouldn't be surprised if Adobe takes notice and provides similar functionality in LR 5. They would be fools not to.

If you're a pro, an expense like this will probably be money well spent. For an enthusiast? I can see why you would balk at the price. VSCO might be missing the sweet spot on the price/demand curve, but they definitely have a winner on their hands.

My only complaint: the online mapping gui sucks.

1 upvote
By JWest (Oct 15, 2012)

You're willing to spend that much on some shortcut keys, but you use a *trackpad* for editing your photos?

1 upvote
By michaelbs (Oct 15, 2012)

Where did you find the discount voucher?

Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (Oct 12, 2012)

Got to be kidding with this.

By Niala2 (Oct 12, 2012)

(maybe it's code comes from Paddy..? lol - see below)

"Always mooving forward" is such a brilliant argument, makes me wish to trust them and makes me feel convinced they care, and I feel understuuud.. etc.

Since dpreview does not mention it, and since we do have the ability to comment..:

Indeed lightroom has it's own shortcuts..

But never heard about Paddy ??? :

What Paddy does not mention
(it's open source, might aswell donate them) :

next to be used with a Midi Controller (or a dedicated keyboard),
it can also optimise the use of a Logitech G13 ...
( 1 year old.. :
- v=B2Y2MnM6RyA
- )

..and be used in conjuction with a tablet..

Maybe somone could come up with an
Android Interface for touch-sensitive
Galaxy-Tab or Galaxy-Pad.. ?
I would love that.

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
By parcheesi (Oct 12, 2012)

So Paddy requires external keyboards or midi devices to make it work? So much for using a laptop in the field. I strongly suggest trying the demo before passing judgment. I was skeptical, but wound up being completely won over. There's clearly been a lot of thought put into making VSCO Keys very usable. I thought the learning curve would be large, it isn't. I don't know my regular Lightroom shortcuts very well, but I have the "standard" VSCO binding nailed down.

I mentioned in a different post that the biggest downside is the web ui for creating custom layouts. It's really very fiddly to use, and takes far too many clicks to create even one set of bindings (one set of bindings would be six commands, three to increase a setting and three to decrease a setting at multiple scales). I though I would give myself RSI remapping the vignette keybinding to post-crop vignette.

1 upvote
By Niala2 (Oct 13, 2012)

"So Paddy requires external keyboards or midi devices to make it work?"

and me too :
"I strongly suggest trying -PADDY- before passing judgment."

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
By parcheesi (Oct 13, 2012)

I would love to, but I'm a Mac user. I misunderstood external devices vs non. I believe that it works for you and provides value. Thank you for clarifying.

By putomax (Oct 12, 2012)

I think, oh I think I think!!!!

... this seems like a very good product, very useful and the price is more than justified by the magnificent work guys at VSCO Keys have done.

oh no, it was not a thought it was my tech-dependecy-inner-voice again.

let's see, 125$ ja aj aj aj ajjaja jajaja
jaja jaja aja ajjj aja aj

hope you guys at dpreview don't erase my comment again, laughin's good for the health, AND FREE ;)


1 upvote
By WT21 (Oct 12, 2012)

I want, but this is a bit silly in price. How about $60?

I'm going to use the trial, though. That would be huge if I could key stroke my way through quick levels adjustment.

By zlatko (Oct 13, 2012)

Of course it would be huge. That's the idea. Now imagine photographers who edit, say, 30-40 weddings in a year, each wedding over 1,000 photos. I haven't tried the product yet, but the need for it is obvious. People are talking about the shortcuts in Lightroom ... but there ISN'T one for a basic thing like an exposure adjustment (or white balance or contrast, etc.). That's been sorely missing from Lightroom from the start.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By MrPetkus (Oct 12, 2012)

Readers may scoff at the price (and it's certainly not something I would personally spring for) but I know folks that do batch color correction and processing using LR professionally. A tool like this has the potential to increase productivity, ultimately paying for itself. There is actually a market for this sort of thing.

By goblin (Oct 12, 2012)

Indeed, but I have yet to see someone who knows and uses all the ORIGINAL shortcuts Lightroom has...

1 upvote
By parcheesi (Oct 13, 2012)

I know lots of Lightroom keystrokes, but I certainly don't use or know them all.

One of the things I like about VSCO keys it that it runs in a mode. ESC turns the mode on and off. So for the keystrokes I do know, I can go to "selection and rating" mode, then switch to "editing" mode.

The key layout for VSCO keys is very intuitive. Regions of the keyboard are assigned to types of adjustments, so you don't necessarily need to know that 'A' and 'S' are linked to contrast, and 'D' and 'F' are linked to exposure. You can hit a key and see if it does the adjustment you want, and hit it's counterpart if you got it wrong. It works with a more location based oriented muscle memory, rather than memorization based.

Really, try it, even if you have no plans to buy it.

intensity studios
By intensity studios (Oct 12, 2012)

Being a hipster photographer is getting expensive!

By MiraShootsNikon (Oct 12, 2012)

Yeah man, and that's on top of the film and development / scan costs :D

By Photojunky3 (Oct 12, 2012)

The next offer will be a recliner chair with ,for a small amount more , an exclusive remote control !

1 upvote
By goblin (Oct 12, 2012)

THIS is definitely the ultimate addition to Lightroom.

It will help me boost my productivity, dealing with all those pictures I took with my Y-phone with my other ultimate accessory - the Nimbus Cloud Dome you reviewed last week :D :D :D

By SeeRoy (Oct 12, 2012)

Do they intend to offer a limited edition version in luxury Naugahide?

Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Oct 12, 2012)

Why do DPReview even bother to mention this redundant software?

Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 12, 2012)

Because lots of our readers use Lightroom and it might be useful to them.

By five5pho (Oct 13, 2012)

vsco keys are NOT the only ones in the market.
What about other companies as well?

Curt Geiger
By Curt Geiger (Oct 13, 2012)

R Butler; Lots of our readers use Lightroom and it might be useful to them...
All the more strange then that you cover VSCO releases but ignore coverage of great LR plugins and presets from Photographers Toolbox, LR Plugins and the brilliant Skyline Media Presets
( ) as they are all much more useful, and affordable than the overpriced VSCO stuff. Really strange, eh! I wouldn't like to think there's favouritism or anti-competitive behaviour going on at DPR here.

By audijam (Oct 12, 2012)

......................................this is......rediculous?

By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Oct 12, 2012)

Indeed, "rediculous".

By MichaelEchos (Oct 12, 2012)

The price is crazy. I could see Lightroom implementing this.

By zlatko (Oct 13, 2012)

Everyone who is calling it crazy is unfamiliar with the needs of professional photographers who do a high volume of adjustments. For them, every bit of efficiency counts. And every bit of lost efficiency adds up. Over the course of a year, they do many thousands of mouse clicks. Keyboard clicks are far easier because there is no need for precise navigation with a mouse. Sure, Adobe could implement this into Lightroom. But the fact is that Lightroom has been out for years, through multiple versions, and Adobe has failed to add keyboard shortcuts for basic tonal adjustments. Photographers have been requesting this for years. I requested it on Adobe's product support forum. So I say "Bravo!" to third party developers who are trying to help us work more efficiently.

By StanRogers (Oct 13, 2012)

A dedicated programmable keypad (the Nostromo gaming unit has been mentioned here already, but something like the products from X-Keys is more usual) in conjunction with the buttons/spinner on a tablet is a much better solution most of the time for (high-volume) professional workflow.

By zlatko (Oct 14, 2012)

Speaking of the X-Keys ... what a nightmare to program it. I bought two of them. Very expensive ($175) for the Pro model. The first one failed outright; second one is now buggy too. And you have to program it ... I once spent the better part of a day doing that. Absolutely NOT a solution I would recommend.

By Onetrack97 (Oct 15, 2012)

For the last few years I've been using the Logitech G13 for Lightroom & Photoshop. The price has been dropping since I bought it. Now along with the Wacom, I seldom touch the real keyboard.

By calmate (Oct 25, 2012)

Hey everyone

I just got the Razer nostromo and wondering if anyone has it setup with Paddy and LR4.2.. A lot of the functions are not working for me and was wondering if it's because of LR4.2 update..
Any info would be greatly appreciated

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
Total comments: 65