Exposure X Sneak Peek: Easy Photo Editing

Almost here!

We focused all our effort in the past few years on growing Exposure into a complete solution for photo editing and organization. Last year we laid the groundwork with RAW image support and non-destructive editing. Now I’m excited to say that we are almost finished with Exposure X. The new name matches the transformation of Exposure into an easy photo editing tool that will fundamentally simplify your digital photography.

Photo Management

Exposure 7 has basic file browsing, but Exposure X takes care of every part of your workflow. Drag a folder onto Exposure X to quickly browse photos. Exposure X can handle file management, so there is no need to switch tools to rename, move, or delete files. Mark images with flags, star ratings, and colors and then filter on those qualities for rapid culling and organization.


We worked hard to avoid irritating hassles that are in other photo editors. Our most important choice was to not rely on a central catalog file in Exposure X. That has many wonderful consequences, and results in easy photo editing. There is no import step,  it’s easy to move images to another computer, and backups are simple to complete. Best of all, you can work on the same photo project from multiple computers if you store it in a cloud service like Dropbox!

Everything is fast!

Speed is an invisible feature, but one that constantly serves you. Our choices to simplify the photo management experience save time, such as not needing to import photos. You don’t need to make a slow switch between user interface modules because Exposure X doesn’t have modules. We put extra intelligence into Exposure to make image browsing lightning fast. Even startup time is quick.

User Interface

New user interface improvements will help you whether you run Exposure X as a plug-in or standalone photo manager. You can rearrange all the panels where you need them in the user interface and completely hide ones you don’t use. There are new shortcut keys for common photo edits, such as brightness and vibrance. The Basic panel now has a white balance eyedropper, Temperature, and Tint controls. The new Detail panel provides noise reduction and sharpening.

You’ll be able to use Exposure X for photo management as well as for non-destructive editing. Stay tuned to this blog to see some examples of why it is so special.

Exposure X will be available before the end of 2015. Anyone who purchased Exposure 7 will automatically receive Exposure X for free as soon as it is ready.

About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.


  1. Warren September 24, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Is this a good replacement for aperture.

    Can I import raw files, organize images, edit. Can I keep files where they are stored and refer to them.

    • Jimmy Beech September 25, 2015 at 7:10 am

      Hi Warren,

      Yes, yes, and yes. All of the things you just listed are some of Exposure X’s main features.

  2. Leon' Carter September 24, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I looks like the new upgrade will compete with Lightroom.

    Will there be any sort of crossover with flags, ratings, etc?

    Would it be possible to make it an actual module inside of lightroom? Not sure if Adobe is releasing APIs for that kind of integration but I think it would be an easier workflow.

    • Jimmy Beech September 25, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Hi Leon,

      We are working for compatibility with ratings and color. We can’t work with flags because Lightroom does not write flags to a sidecar.

  3. Eric Draht September 24, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    That sounds amazing! I have to ask, though, is it retina compatible? Also, besides exposure, I usually crop my images to golden mean standard. Will there be a golden mean grid?
    I’m crazy excited! Everything from Alien Skin has been so high quality, really exceeding my expectations. Rock on guys!

    • Jimmy Beech September 25, 2015 at 7:49 am

      Hi Eric,

      Yep! It’s retina compatible. The crop tool has a grid, but it’s based on the rule of thirds, not the golden section.

    • Jeff Butterworth September 25, 2015 at 10:53 am

      We don’t have a golden mean grid or spiral (yet), but you can set the crop aspect ratio to the golden mean, which is 1.618 and save that as a crop preset for easy access. In Exposure X the custom crop ratio window asks for Width and Height as integers. You can enter 8×5 to get close (1.6), or you can enter 1618×1000 to be more accurate.

  4. Tom September 24, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Will this new version work with Adobe Photoshop CS6 on Mac OS X.7.5?

    Thanks, and so long for now, TOM

    • Jimmy Beech September 25, 2015 at 7:53 am

      Hi Tom,

      It will work with CS6, but we’re not sure about MacOS 10.7 — it’s not one of the system configurations that we’re testing the product on. It may work, but we can’t be sure.

  5. Mike Moore September 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    So will all current Exposure 7 license holders get free upgrades to Exposure X? Looks awesome so far!

    • Jimmy Beech September 25, 2015 at 7:02 am

      Hi Mike,

      If you purchased version 7, Exposure X will come to you free. Check out our upgrade policy, here.

  6. Chris Garland September 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Hey Jeff,

    Photo management as well as editing, OK! Does this mean Exposure X can replace Apple’s iPhoto and the new Photos app? I’ve used iPhoto for years and kept my work organized by making separate iPhoto libraries each containing a few hundred images. If I upgrade to Photos those separate libraries all have to be combined into one huge file. I really don’t want to do that; I calculate I have 70-80K images.

    How does Exposure X integrate or vary from iPhoto and Photos?


    • Jimmy Beech September 25, 2015 at 7:57 am

      Hi Chris,

      Yes, Exposure X can replace iPhoto of Photos app in your photo management workflow. It doesn’t integrate with other applications aside from Lightroom and Photoshop.

      • Chris Garland September 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm

        Hey Jimmy, thanks,

        So what would the workflow be to transition from 200+ iPhoto Libraries to using Exposure X for image management?

        • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 7:26 am

          Exposure uses the organization of images saved on your hard drive. So if you’ve saved all of your images under ‘Macintosh HD/Users/User/Pictures’ folder, they will be right there. Exposure doesn’t support libraries, edits, or ratings from iPhoto.

  7. Gary Lazzini September 24, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Looks like a major steep for exposure software, can’t wait

  8. stephanie Massey September 24, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    I have exposure 7 now, I will I be able to get this Exposure x when it comes out for free?

  9. Dan September 25, 2015 at 1:44 am

    I am a current Exposure 7 user. Just curious, how much will it be to upgrade? Thanks!

    • Jimmy Beech September 25, 2015 at 7:07 am

      Hi Dan,

      Check out our upgrade policy. You may not need to pay for version X. Otherwise, the upgrade price will likely be $99.

  10. […] Exposure X Sneak Peak Although VSCO may be more well known due to its popularity in mobile photography, Alien Skin Exposure has been around much longer, and is used by several successful photographers including Sue Bryce, Susan Stripling and Cliff Mautner. Ever since version 6, it can run as a standalone application and does not need a host application such as Lightroom or Photoshop. This is a great advantage for users who do not necessarily want to work with Adobe’s suite of applications, or restrict themselves to a limited list of supported host software. Add in non-destructive editing and ASE quickly becomes a very attractive piece of post-processing software. […]

  11. Bob September 25, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Will it work as a plugin for Elements 13? Thanks!

    • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 8:48 am

      Hi Bob,

      It may work, but we’re not officially supporting Elements anymore, so we can’t guarantee it.

  12. Craig MacPhee September 25, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Very excited to see this! Congrats AS team!

  13. Oliver Pearce September 25, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Exposure X sounds very interesting. I’ve been looking for another DAM since Apple ceased development of Aperture. Lightroom is too unintuitive. Will Exposure X be able to handle raw files? Such as this Phase One, Canon and Sony?


    • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Hi Oliver,

      Absolutely! Exposure X supports a heap of Canon, Phase One, and Sony camera RAW files, but it’s not an exhaustive list. What camera models are you asking for in particular?

  14. James September 25, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Can Exposure X be installed along side Exposure 7 so that they both stand alone? Will Exposure X eliminate any of the tools in Exposure 7? Thanks.

    • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 7:29 am

      It sure can. They run independently, sure.

  15. Sandip Mehta September 26, 2015 at 7:58 am


    Will Exposure X have a “Pro Auto Enhance” function similar to Aperture 3?
    Lightroom CC Auto Tone is beyond awful.

    Thank you and keep up the amazing work!

    Sandip (sun-deep) Mehta

    • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 8:09 am

      There is a color picker tool for temp and tint sliders, but there’s not an auto button in Exposure X.

  16. Alan September 26, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    will there be brushes that one can use like in Nik software?

    • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 8:36 am

      Hi Alan,

      Effect brushing is on the development list, but it’s too early to tell if it will be included in Exposure X.

  17. Henrik Bengtsson September 27, 2015 at 8:48 am

    As an OLD user of Exposure one thing i would LOVE to see as an added feature in the future is to incorporate it into a Premiere or After Effects workflow. I use it today through photoshop but the video processing through PS is kind of horrendous and although you can (and i have done) export out to single images and process through LR or PS it’s a very cumbersome process and not without it’s crashes and hangs.

    So don’t forget the video side, if you are running out of things to add 🙂

    Cheers and looking forward to Exposure X

    • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 7:50 am

      Hi Henrik,

      Thanks for the suggestion. Exposure would be a spectacular tool for videographers! There are a lot of programmery reasons as to why full video support hasn’t been incorporated yet, but we’re always thinking forward. I’ll pass your suggestion on to the developers.

  18. Ken September 27, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Will it have a histogram?

    • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 7:57 am

      No histogram, Ken. Sorry.

      • Bill November 28, 2015 at 5:15 am

        Looks very exciting, but really, no histogram??!!

        Surely this is an oversight in a photo editor that appears to be designed to compete directly with Lightroom etal?

        How about printing support?


        • Jimmy Beech November 30, 2015 at 9:29 am

          Hi Bill,

          Histogram is something we would like to incorporate into a future release. Printing support is on the radar, too.

      • Peter November 29, 2015 at 5:06 pm

        Color blind here. Need a histogram or it is an automatic no go, no matter how wonderful it is (and I would love to ditch lightroom).

  19. Oliver Pearce September 28, 2015 at 4:33 am

    Will you be able to import Phase One (IIQ) and Sony (ARW) Raw files?

    • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 8:00 am

      Yes! What camera models do you use, Oliver?

  20. Joe September 28, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Will this new version support Fuji Film XT-10 RAW files?


    • Jimmy Beech September 28, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      I don’t see the XT-10 on the list of supported cameras, Joe. I’d imagine it has to do with it being a new model. Do you have RAW files for it that you’re willing to share with us?

      • Andrew October 6, 2015 at 1:29 pm

        the Xt-10 uses the Xtrans II sensor, so it should be compatible.

        • Jimmy Beech October 7, 2015 at 8:30 am

          It certainly may work, but we’d need RAWs from the camera just to be sure. 😉

  21. Manny September 29, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I have the latest exposure and I don’t use it as a standalone because it does not have a temperature slider. I watched the video above and saw that X now has slider, but unfortunately it’s a simple plus or minus and not a true temperature scale of 2000k-5000k. Any plans to fix this? Because I need real temperature values so I can quickly enter a number like 5500k for daylight and so on.

    • Jimmy Beech September 30, 2015 at 8:10 am

      Hi Manny,

      There isn’t a Kelvin scale for color temperature in Exposure X. Instead, there’s an eyedropper to automatically set the white balance. Then from there, small tweaks to the + and – sliders can even out the look and true it up.

      • Manny November 1, 2015 at 6:30 pm

        I believe not adding an actual Kelvin scale is a mistake. People are fed up with Adobe LR bloatware and its continued race to the bottom for slowest processing, many are looking for true alternatives. DXO is slow and not very good at cataloging, Capture One may have better output than LR, but it is more difficult to apply mass changes because it all or nothing when applying local changes, so there is a gap to fill. Having local adjustments (with option to select specifics like LR) and a true Kelvin Temp Scale well go a long way when doing mass edits.

      • Peter November 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm

        FYI, true Kelvin scale would be a huge benefit for color blind people, you “true it up”, but with this implementation I have to “take a stab in the dark”.

  22. Vincent October 19, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Am totally in love with Exposure 7. Sometimes I just use it to give me contrast and color inspiration when I don’t know what direction to take a photo in. How different is Exposure X going to be from 7? I’ve been a fan a couple years and always look forward to the improvements.

    • Jimmy Beech October 20, 2015 at 7:51 am

      Hi Vincent,

      Exposure X will still produce all of the great-looking effects and easy-to-use controls from previous versions but it can do significantly more, too. The enhancements made to the software haven’t changed its core. Exposure 7 users will feel right at home working in X.

  23. Andy Martin October 20, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I use dodge and burn on almost every image in Lightroom and it is fairly quick and natural to use. Will exposure X be as easy?

    • Jimmy Beech November 2, 2015 at 8:20 am

      That’s the goal, Andy.

  24. Robert October 20, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I shoot 35mm film and am looking for something like this. I’m currently a Lightroom and Photoshop user.

    My workflow is that I scan negatives and they deposit into a certain folder and Lightroom sucks them in automatically…does Exposure have that capability?

    Also, will there be a trial version available?

    • Jimmy Beech November 2, 2015 at 8:20 am

      It sure will, Robert. And yes, once the product is available, so will the trial version.

  25. DWU October 21, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Can you address how an existing Lightroom user would migrate? Suppose I have 50,000 RAW files edited in Lightroom, with the edits stored in the LR catalog. How can I migrate without losing the edits? Can Exposure X read the LR catalog, or LR sidecar files? You noted you’d lose flags. What else would one lose? What happens when there are LR edits for which there are no equivalent functions in Exposure X?

    • Jimmy Beech October 30, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      We’ll have a limited capability to migrate from Lightroom. Some data, such as crop, star ratings, and flags can be brought to Exposure. Other information, such as image edits, unfortunately can’t be migrated.

  26. Ralph November 1, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Will it be able to read photoshop files? One big advantage of lightroom over Exposure for me at the moment is that it can apply presents to photoshop files, so I can work with edited and unedited images together in my final workflow stages (presets + export)

    • Jimmy Beech November 2, 2015 at 8:13 am

      Exposure can’t open Photoshop format files, no. It will still work as a plug-in, so you can use it in a Photoshop-centric workflow without issue.

  27. Martin November 10, 2015 at 10:19 am

    There has already been a question about the support for Fuji X-T10 RAFs. If you need a file to implement the support for it, please let me know! But because it’s the same sensor as Fuji X-T1, there shouldn’t be any problem…

    Any idea when the new Exposure will be released? 🙂

    • Jimmy Beech November 10, 2015 at 11:47 am

      Thanks for the offer! I think we have what we need right now because the X-T1 and the X-T10 are on the list.

      No new news about the release date yet, but we’re working hard to button it up.

  28. Gus Romano November 18, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Exposure X looks like a promising replacement for Aperture. Your existing products do not appear to support the D300. Any plans to support D300 raw files?

    • Jimmy Beech November 19, 2015 at 9:36 am

      The D300 is on the supported list for Exposure X, Gus.

  29. David Jefferis November 24, 2015 at 4:40 am

    Will Exposure X be suitable as a replacement for the poor import/file storage options in Apple Phots?

    Most pix iPhone, others with Panasonic FZ1000 or similar.

    • Jimmy Beech November 25, 2015 at 8:42 am

      I think so, David. Organizing in Exposure is really easy.

  30. Claus November 25, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Can I add words to the Meta-Tags?

    • Jimmy Beech November 25, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Hi Claus,

      Sure thing! You can edit copyright, name, address, and email.

  31. Doug Dolde November 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Does it support Phase One IQ180 files ?

    • Jimmy Beech November 25, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Phase One camera RAW files aren’t specifically supported, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work. If they’re converted to a DNG Exposure X can read them just fine.

  32. Bill Gates November 27, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Will it support Olympus OMD EM-5 mark II RAW files ? What about lens correction ?

    • Jimmy Beech November 30, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Hi Bill,

      The OMD EM-5 is on the list of supported camera models. With regard to lens correction, there is a small selection of lenses supported in Exposure X and there will be loads more supported in the next version.

  33. Camron Crouse November 29, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Hi, I recently read about the upcoming Exposure X on DPReview. I have been a longtime Lightroom user and like it in general, but feel that many critical features were insufficiently developed. Also, I have become frustrated by “Big A’s” subscription approach that cripples perpetual-license purchasers such as myself with restrictions of new features. In addition, after several helpful and detailed UI suggestions posted to their support forums, my ideas seemed to lost in the sea of user complaints (or simply fell on deaf ears). In short, I have always felt as if Adobe was trying to reinvent the wheel of color grading systems used for digital film and video post production, like DaVinci, which has a very mature workflow going back over two decades (3-way color corrector – anyone, anyone?). Alien Skin seems to be very responsive to comments, but I don’t see a user forum for deeper conversations. Where can I send questions, suggestions, feedback, etc.?

    Kind regards

    • Jimmy Beech November 30, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Hi Cameron,

      We’re always willing to have conversations about our products. You can post questions here on the blog, or you can contact our helpdesk should your questions be more of a technical nature. Be mindful that the developers are very busy, especially around release time, but we’re happy to help.

      • Camron Crouse November 30, 2015 at 2:28 pm

        Thank you Jimmy for the info, I appreciate the reply. I’ve watched the sneak peek videos of Exposure X, I like the idea of a no-catalog approach while maintaining non-destructive editing. I am new to Alien Skin Exposure, and I’m not sure how much of the Version 7 introductory videos are applicable the the upcoming Version X… when the main develop controls are featured in an upcoming video for the new release, I’ll be sure to have a look before bombarding your helpdesk with ideas 😉

        • Jimmy Beech December 1, 2015 at 9:51 am

          Sounds like a plan to me Camron!

          • Camron Crouse December 24, 2015 at 2:16 pm

            I’ve been spending the last few weeks experimenting with Exposure X, right up to the expiration of the trial (and it’s still working a few days beyond, probably due to not shutting down the application. This also means I am glad to report no crashes)… I think Exposure X has some awesome potential! I am in the process of writing a review on my blog and providing some detailed suggestions for future updates. I hope to have it posted in a few days, and that your team will get the chance to look it over after the New Year. Until then, Happy Holidays to all of you at Alien Skin 🙂

  34. Elísabet December 4, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Hey there!
    I just received an email this morning to upgrade from my Exposure 7 to the X version. And I am truly thankful and happy with it!! Great improvements.

    BUT…. is it only me and my laptop or the arrows do not change the filters as they used to…?? I can’t figure out why… but it was very very useful just to see all the filters going forward or backward using the arrows of my keypad, and now (with the X version already updated), I have to select each filter with my trackpad to be able to preview them…

    Please help!


    • Jimmy Beech December 4, 2015 at 8:45 am

      Oh yes, we added a slew of new keyboard shortcuts to Exposure X for the photo organization features. The “,” and “.” keys replaced the arrows to skip through the presets.

      There are a lot more, too. Check out the keyboard shortcut map.

      • Elísabet December 5, 2015 at 8:00 am

        Thanks!! 🙂

  35. Andrew Beveridge December 6, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Loving Exposure X … Just got my free upgrade and I’m really impressed so far.

  36. Aidan December 10, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Have just downloaded the trial and liking a lot of it except – where are keywords? I can’t find them anyway. How do I apply keywords to my images? For me this is crucial for considering EX as a Lightroom alternative. Ta

    • Jimmy Beech December 11, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Hi Aidan,

      Keywords aren’t available in Exposure.

  37. Marc-Anton December 14, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    “Keywords aren’t available in Exposure.”
    Is this planned for a future version?
    I thought Exposure X could be a Aperture replacement to me but without keywords it’s unfortunately useless for me.:-(

    • Jimmy Beech December 15, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      We’re happy to put a feature like that in the plan for the next version.

  38. Marc-Antón December 15, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Good to read!
    I think it’s an essential feature in photo management software.

  39. wally May 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    hi where is the “recent” preset?

    • Jimmy Beech May 24, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Hi Wally,

      When using Exposure X as a standalone app, you can copy and paste preset looks from images, so recent presets aren’t needed. If you’re using Exposure as a plug-in with Photoshop, the ‘Recent’ tab will appear on the right side of the presets panel. When using Exposure X with Lightroom, Exposure X behaves similarly to when it’s ran as a standalone app, so the a recent tab isn’t available.

  40. Vin July 8, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I would like to see an in-depth comparison with Aperture 3. I have about 250,000 photos in Aperture and have invested thousands of hours in Aperture. I realize I will probably have to export all of my modified pictures into a file where they will become the base photo again.

    This is a major decision for my photo efforts and I need to move carefully.

    What do I give up, such as key words, and what do I gain?

    • Jimmy Beech July 12, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Vin. That’s an interesting idea. I don’t think that you’ll miss out on keywords if you export your images. At least, that’s what this Macworld article says.

  41. Jim September 25, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Is Alien Skin useable on a 4 or 5 K monitor? Does it have scaling problem like Adobe Bridge that need a macro lens to use the program?

    • Jimmy Beech September 26, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Hi Jim,

      Exposure X2 doesn’t not currently support ultra high DPI systems on Windows. On larger monitors it’s often not a substantial issue but on a 13 inch screen it will certainly be a problem.

      There is a fix for this issue that the helpdesk can help you with. Just fill out a support ticket and they’ll show you how.

  42. steve glasgow February 23, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Maybe a bit late but still wondering about keywords in Exposure. I migrated to LR because…… and am moving to an alternative because the Catalog is so frustratingly inflexible. Key words are important and since the original question was posed back in December 15 I am wondering on the plans to integrate keywords into exposure.

    • Jimmy Beech February 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

      Hi Steve,

      Not yet. Keywording is on the list for a future version of Exposure.

Comments are closed.