In the age of Instagram, VSCO Cam has managed to carve out a niche of photographer-types seeking a more refined experience in their mobile sharing. With some brand new updates, you can now incorporate text for essay-style stories, upload photos from other cameras straight from the web, and do all the VSCO things you love on your iPad.

The series of new features on VSCO's plate brings some useful additions that push it toward being an ecosystem instead of just an app. The biggest update is Journals, which allows you to use the iPhone app to organize text and photos into a linear story to be published on VSCO's sharing platform. Journals you post will also appear on the web, just like the existing Grid posts.

In an attempt to blur the lines between photography and "mobile photography," VSCO is now allowing you to upload images using a new web interface. If you want to share photos from a camera that is not attached to a phone, you no longer have to deal with getting those photos onto your mobile device before sharing to VSCO. It's a nice addition. You can upload JPGs or PNGs up to 25 megabytes each, and there is no limit on how many, though its not at all meant to be a backup service.

Lastly, the added real-estate in the new VSCO Cam iPad app should make for a nice alternative to making adjustments on your phone, especially with VSCO's seemingly endless amount of filters to sort through. All your photos uploaded via the web and the app will be synced across all devices you log in with—iPhone, iPad, and Android.

All of the new stuff makes perfect sense for VSCO in its attempt to find a dedicated base of users who want their photography to feel a bit more special than on Instagram. But that doesn't erase the difficulty of attracting users who don't want to worry about managing yet another social network. The new feature set's a good start at VSCO being its own thing, though. Hopefully they've got plenty more in the works.

VSCO Cam 4.0 is live now in the App Store.