Exposure X Sneak Peek: Catalog Free

Exposure is growing into a full-fledged photo organizer when it becomes Exposure X later this year. We designed it to completely eliminate hassles that drive us crazy in other products, with the goal of making it a powerful yet simple photo organizer. The catalog file in Lightroom is a big source of confusion. There are entire classes on how to manage it and get around its limitations.

Exposure X doesn’t have a catalog file. That makes many things easy, such as rapidly browsing photos. You don’t need to import photos into Exposure X. Just visit a folder and get to work. Exposure X can quickly organize photos like Photo Mechanic or Bridge, but it can also non-destructively edit them like Lightroom. You get the capabilities you need, while still having a simple photo organizer.

Exposure X stores the edits for each photo in the same folder where it lives. That makes it easy to take the folder on the road or back it up. Just move or copy the whole folder and you’ll have the photos along with their edits, star ratings, flags, etc. You can even use a cloud storage service like Dropbox to work on the same photos from multiple computers.

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. Enjoy the benefits of a simple photo organizer that provides you the tools you need.

Exposure X4

Try Exposure X4 free for 30 days, and discover a new world of creativity with gorgeous customizable looks and a complete set of editing and organizing tools.

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. David Tate October 21, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Catalog looks very impressive, can’t wait to try it. Do you have Beta testing available? Thank you, David

    • Jimmy Beech October 30, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      The beta testing window opened and closed pretty quickly this time. So we’re packed to the gills at the moment. Keep an eye on our Facebook feed and in the Exposure Users group on FB for the next public invitation.

  2. Jerry Cagle October 21, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    That’s all really cool stuff, but if you really want to impress me, allow me to create multiple iterations of a single photo while roundtripping from LR CC.

    • Jimmy Beech October 30, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      Jerry, we’ll put it on the wish list for Exposure X2. Just for you. *fist bump*

  3. Dan October 22, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Exposure X looks amazing!!! I’ll be shifting from LR cc and have a few questions:

    1) I know Exposure X is non destructive… are the files that are saved in the Alien Skin folder duplicates or data (this would make a difference in overall storage needs)?

    2) Does Exposure X allow you to work with virtual copies (i.e., having several variations of processed images)?

    3) Does Exposure X have any built in spot removal or healing capabilities?

    Can’t wait to give it a try. Looks like tons of improvement in ease of use and overall workflow. Nice job Jeff!!!

    • Jimmy Beech October 30, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      The sidecar files are tiny files, so you shouldn’t have to be too concerned with storage for them.

      No you can’t make duplicate versions in the software. You can save a preset for the applied look in Exposure, which would allow you to see different versions with one click of the mouse.

      We will be coming out with more and more information about the new version as it get’s wrapped up, so keep your ears out for announcements coming from us.

  4. Marco Cavazzana October 23, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Hey Jeff!!

    I’ve developed a cool process using some of your products to turn digital footage into flowing pieces of motion art.

    Hope you guys dig it!



  5. Raimund October 27, 2015 at 4:19 am

    I use Exposure 7, but unfortunately it does not work with DNG files. Will Exposure X support it?

    • Jimmy Beech October 30, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Yes, but why not use the native RAWs from your camera?

      • Henrik Bengtsson November 1, 2015 at 9:25 am

        Well, if i’m handing off my work to an external retoucher i always give them DNG’s. to keep the original native RAW with me. So there are definately instances where having Exposure handle DNG’s directly would be beneficial. Of course, all my retouchers use photoshop which will handle the DNG part anyway (or Lightroom for that matter).

        But if it’s added, then yay 😀

  6. Wim November 2, 2015 at 5:07 am

    YES! Hurry up!!:-) Can’t wait!

  7. Jiri Thomas November 2, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Hi.. So, when is exposure X ready for purchase? I dont wanna buy 7, if x is coming soon 🙂

    All the best, Jiri Thomas

    • Jimmy Beech November 2, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Jiri!

      We haven’t released the available date of Exposure X yet, but I’m sure it’ll be soon. Stay tuned in to the blog for the latest.

  8. michaelbeach November 3, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Where can I find a detailed description of the organizational process in Exposure 7/X? There are some things i like about the catalog in LR. Collections especially. Is there some equivalent in Exposure?

    • michaelbeach November 3, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      Apologies for the inclusion. Thought it was to be the thumbnail.

    • Jimmy Beech November 4, 2015 at 10:34 am

      We will be coming out with the most up-to-date information about Exposure X right here on the blog. You’re in the right place! Exposure X has a much more robust file management features than version 7. You could check out some of the video tutorials for version 7, but consider that things are changing.

  9. michaelbeach November 3, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    If we liked the catalog, and especially collections, in LR, would we be disappointed in Exposure X?

    • Jimmy Beech November 5, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Exposure is more than just a photo browser. It is a full nondestructive creative photo editor. We chose to not rely on catalogs because we wanted to eliminate the burden of complicated photo management.

      Exposure is fast at organizing and filtering. We don’t have collections implemented yet, but our design allows us to add this capability in the future. I recommend watching our videos and giving the software a trial after it is released. You may find that you don’t miss Lightroom’s catalogs!

  10. michaelbeach November 3, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    If we like the catalog and it’s database abilities in LR, and collections, will I be disappointed with Exposure? Does that mean also that Exposure is just a browser like Bridge?

  11. Awn November 5, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Does Knoll Light factory plug-in comes with it?

    • Jimmy Beech November 5, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Nope. That’s not an Alien Skin Software product.

  12. Jay November 6, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Looks great! Before I get too excited! Any content aware tools or adjustment brushes going to be included with this release?

    • Jimmy Beech November 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      There’s plenty of reasons to get excited about the new version of Exposure! We will be releasing more info about Exposure X periodically, so stay connected with us here for the latest news!

  13. Hélena November 14, 2015 at 1:21 am

    This looks fantastic!
    Are we talking about one month, tre months or six months?

    • Jimmy Beech November 16, 2015 at 9:38 am

      By the end of the year, Helena!

  14. OldRacer November 22, 2015 at 11:37 am

    “You can even use a cloud storage service like Dropbox to work on the same photos from multiple computers.’

    We keep our photos on an NAS box on our network. Will we be able to just work with them there? We are now using Dropbox to allow multiple people to work in LR but it is a huge hassle because only one can work at a time and we have to make sure the LR files get completely synchronized before the next person can work. I infer from the sentence above that we won’t have all of the hassles but I really don’t want to use Dropbox or any other file replicator.

    • Jimmy Beech November 23, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Absolutely! Network attached storage will work just fine.

  15. Wim November 23, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Hello Jimmy,
    will Exposure X get a Histogramm? Keep up the outstanding work!

    • Jimmy Beech November 23, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Nope, no histogram in Exposure X. Sorry Wim.

  16. Dayo November 27, 2015 at 7:24 am

    I love what I am reading.
    I have always loathed the use of different UI Modules and totally welcome your decision to ditch this.
    My only small nit so far is the use of sidecar files but I suppose I can live with that.

    However, a critical feature missing from many programs today is the simple single edit.

    So, I want to be able to right click an image in Finder and select ” Open With Program XYZ” and edit that image without the program trying to read in all the images I have on that folder.

    I don’t necessarily mean trying to read into a catalogue, but trying to render thumbnails etc based on the assumption that I want to browse using the program’s interface.

    Essentially, I am asking that you please ensure you allow the option for those of us that do not want to use you program browser to select images.

    If you ever use Capture NX2, you would understand that I mean.

    Nonetheless, goodluck and best wishes.

    I have never use your products before as they were apparently tied into Adobe programs but as a standalone, it becomes interesting to user of the orphaned Capture NX.

    • Jimmy Beech November 30, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Hi Dayo,

      Exposure X is available from the r-click menu. You can also drag and drop files onto the Exposure UI and it will automatically open the images inside of the containing folder.

      • Dayo December 8, 2015 at 1:03 pm

        Downloaded the trial and having a bash. the 15 day trial length will be an issue. I must have tried Bibble (remember that?) half a dozen times over a decade without ever buying it simply because the trial period was just too short (14 days).

        I still use Capture NX 2 after a single trial unlike with Bibble. Why? it came with a 60 day trial and I was able to look in detail and commit to it.

        Workflow is a big deal and two weeks of toe dipping is not enough to convince me to dive into a product and commit everything. Please ask your guys to reconsider. A longer trial period is needed and with a release around this time of the year, definitely not enough hours in a day to properly evaluate.

        One slight comment on the right click thing … well, it still loads thumbnails but it is generally fast although it would be nice to be able to totally skip this. Anyway, a small issue with this is that when you right click in Finder and choose “open with”, it simply loads the Exposure X browser and highlights the image instead of actually loading the image ready to go.

        • Jimmy Beech December 8, 2015 at 1:37 pm

          Hi Dayo!

          I’m glad to hear that you’re giving Exposure X a go. The trial period should be enough to kick the tires and get a feel for the software, but you’re right in that this time of year is busy for a lot of people. Should you want to reevaluate Exposure X during a time when you are less busy, just fill out a ticket with our helpdesk and explain your situation.

          The r-click open command is working correctly by your description. When the image is open in Exposure, it’s ready for any edits that you would like to apply.

  17. Zach November 29, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Custom camera profiles?

    • Jimmy Beech November 30, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Hi Zach,

      Unfortunately no. Exposure X doesn’t have the option to create custom color profiles.

      • Zach November 30, 2015 at 1:51 pm

        Bummer. I use Lightroom + vsco for color film emulations and ASE7 as a plugin for B+W conversions. Lightrooms custom camera profiles helps compensate for varying digital sensors. Would be excited to switch fully over to Exposure X but not sure how I’d handle this limitation. Thoughts?

        • Jimmy Beech December 1, 2015 at 10:13 am

          Hi Zach,

          I see what you’re saying. It may be possible, but I don’t want to promise anything without being absolutely sure it’ll work. We need a bit more data to see what you’re wanting to do exactly. Reach out to the helpdesk and we can go from there. Thanks!!

  18. Kim Hardy December 22, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Histogram?? Don’t understand why it doesn’t have one?

    • Jimmy Beech December 28, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Kim,

      Histogram is on the list of feature requests for the next version of Exposure X.

      • Kim Hardy January 3, 2016 at 2:24 pm

        Cheers Jimmy. Really love the work you guys are putting into this, it’s great. the histogram is so important to me to see highlight and black point clipping. Looking forward to it 😉

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