Black & White & Read All Over

I’ve always been a big fan of monochrome photography and even wrote a book about it—Creative Digital Monochrome Effects. The book is now out-of-print but inexpensive used copies can be purchased on Amazon. In my September ’15 Geared Up column for Shutterbug magazine I wrote about ‘Black-and-White Film Emulation Software.” (Check it out it’s on-line.) But one of the products I didn’t mention is Alien Skin Software’s Exposure X, because it was still in beta. Now it’s not. It’s worth mentioning that Exposure X, while it does produce monochrome effects, also lets you create color effects, including an amazing collection of cinema-like effects.


Exposure X for OS X and Windows lets you organize, edit, and enhance your photographs. It does this with built-in library of analog looks with each one covering everything from Lomo-style cameras, classic Kodachrome, modern portrait film or Daguerreotypes and autochromes.

Exposure can be used as a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom, or as a standalone app. Exposure X is configurable so photographers can move tools exactly where they want them and hide ones they don’t use. Pam.BW.XYou can browse presets with a visual grid of images but Exposure X edits non- destructively, so an original photo is never touched and changes can be undone. Proprietary algorithms lets the software handles RAW images from a wide range of popular cameras.

Exposure X doesn’t use a catalog, so users don’t need to manually import photos into a database. Just browse to a folder of images and immediately get to work. Exposure X can use cloud storage for working on the same photos at home and on the road or even collaborating with other photographers, which is not my style. The software doesn’t rely on separate modules, so the full set of editing tools are available at all times. This means there’s no time is lost switching between modules.

Exposure X is available now from for $149. Owners of any version of Exposure may upgrade for $99. Free upgrades will automatically be sent to everyone who purchased Exposure 7. To get you started, the Alien Skin website has a library of tutorial videos and example images.

System Requirements

When used as a plug-in it requires one of the following host applications:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS6 or Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 or newer
  • Adobe Lightroom 6 or Adobe Lightroom CC 2015 or newer
  • Apple Mac users need OS X 10.10 Yosemite or newer
  • Microsoft Windows users need Windows 8 64-bit or newer
  • An Intel Core 2 processor or compatible
  • A monitor with 1280×768 resolution or greater

Author: Joe Farace

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