This is just one example of the differences. The Exposure RAW has more balanced contrast and great-looking highlights. It’s also a little brighter and and it has a tinge more saturation. At a deeper view, I see the tans and oranges being a little warmer, and the greens are a little more green.
One of the other reasons I really dig Exposure is the huge selection of film emulations and presets. I have a handful of looks that are my go-to choices. For instance, if I want to convert an image to black and white, ninety percent of the time I start with B&W Films – Fuji Neopan 100 Acros. I love the look of it, and it’s still my favourite black and white film to shoot with! Exposure does a lot more, though, so I can always try something fresh and new. For these images, I dug through the Bright presets and settled on Creamy Highlights as the starting point for my editing.
Typically I will apply a preset, then make adjustments with the Overall Intensity slider. You can easily reduce the impact of the effect if you feel it’s too much. I appreciate working with Exposure because it provides me with lots of control over the look and feel of my photos. Sometimes I want a hint of the effect, and sometimes I want it all.
Next is a portrait of Khan, a very kind gentleman and Falconer in Dubai. Straight out of the camera, the image looks just fine, but it’s significantly more bright and engaging with a few tweaks. I added the Bright – Creamy Highlights preset and performed a subtle dodging on the eyes to enhance the shot.
One of the features that’s really great to work with in Exposure is the layers. Layers let me work on bits and pieces of the photo however and wherever I choose to. Exposure’s presets provide me with starting points to build on for my own style of finish. This creative process retains more consistency in the final look of the images.
Below, Pandora the Falcon grabs a snack from Khan’s hand. Again I used the Creamy Highlights preset. I like the slight warmth the preset adds. I also added a little overall brightening.
Xbox the owl, is a chatty guy with some fantastic, piercing eyes. He was perched on the arm of another person, so I grabbed the snap, below. I am still in love with the Bright – Creamy Highlights preset. This time, I added it as a new layer, then added a second layer for essential edits, especially with contrast and tone curve.
The fellas in the photo below are called Oryxs, which are a distant relation to the Antelope. We passed a heard of them as we were leaving the reserve, so we stopped to take some photos. I stayed in the Jeep, which didn’t give me the exact framing I would have liked. As a result, I cropped this first frame and spent some time cleaning up the sand with the Spot Heal tool set to clone. With the power combo of the Layer panel and the Brush tool, I can work to clone out all the little footprints in these images, which were abundant!
I appreciate that I can turn the layer off and on to display the progress I’m making during editing. Using layers is the easiest way for me to undo something. I can simply hide or delete the layer if I no longer need it. I also make an effort to rename all my layers, naming them to the task they are being used for. If I’m cloning/healing, then that’s what I name the layer. If I’m playing with tone curve, that’s what I name that layer. The reason I do this is that I can go back in a year, or more and if I want to re-edit a particular layer, I can get to it!
Using Exposure for editing portraits makes sense on many levels, including all the elements I’ve already mentioned such as editing consistency of the look and style, and the large selection of presets. Again, the Fuji Neopan 100 Acros preset is one of my absolute favorite B&W presets because of its lovely contrast. In this photo of my good friend Stephen, I used brushed the background to make it a little brighter. When editing, I think about the mood of the image. Stephen always has a smile on his face, so the edits were made to emote the happy, bright vibes he brings with him.
The following image is much moodier. I started with the same Fuji Neopan 100 Acros preset, but I kept the original mood of the highlights and shadows as I captured in the camera. With the emotion in the image, a more dramatic look makes sense. I made a few minor adjustments to the exposure and contrast, and I retouched a few areas with the Spot Heal tool.