Project Description

This video tells the first things to know when you’re starting to use Exposure with Adobe Lightroom. It gives a brief tour of the UI, and suggestions for how to work.

Photos: John Barclay


Exposure works great with Lightroom, but running it standalone has several advantages. You can work directly on RAW files, saving the time and disk space used in the external editor process. It handles your full editing workflow, from copying images, culling, non-destructive RAW edits, special effects, exporting, and printing. And it works quickly, without imports, catalogs, or separate user modules. To learn more about using Exposure as a complete solution, watch our series of organizing videos on Exposure.

I’m starting with Lightroom launched. Here is the grid view showing some of my images.

I’ll select the images I want to edit by holding down on the Mac or Ctrl on Windows, then clicking each image to select it.

Let’s launch Exposure and do some editing. To do that, I right click one of the images I selected and choose Edit In, then Exposure from the menu.

Lightroom brings up a dialog with your edit options. I recommend choosing Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments so that any Lightroom edits will be preserved. Click Edit to continue, and Lightroom will make copies of each of your images for Exposure, and will launch Exposure.

Here is Exposure’s main window. In the middle is the image that you’re editing, and at the bottom you can see all of the images you selected in Lightroom.

You can switch to a different image by clicking, or by using the left and right arrow keys.

If you want to edit multiple images simultaneously, hold down on the Mac or Ctrl on Windows and click to select, just like in Lightroom.

You can also use +A on the Mac or Ctrl+A on Windows to select all images. Let’s select all images and start editing.

On the left side of the main window is the Presets list. This is where you’ll find Exposure’s large library of creative effects. The presets are organized into folders. You’ll find color and black and white films, focus effects, faded looks, lo-fi looks, and more.

I’m starting with a portrait that could benefit from a low contrast treatment, as well as some touch up. So I’ll choose the the Color Films – Print – Low Contrast category.

Here you’ll find a number of subtle color effects that work great on portraits, because they make skin look smooth and healthy. The small thumbnails show what the effect looks like on your image.

Notice that as the cursor moves over each small image, the large preview image in the center updates so you can see the effect at full size. Once you find one that you like, click to select it.

To compare your edits with the original, hold down the key. Now that we have chosen a preset, we can make some refinements using the sliders on the editing panels.

I’ll start with the Basic panel, which has sliders for basic adjustments like exposure and saturation. Let’s increase exposure a bit, then bring up our vibrance. Note that the edit controls are available all the time. Even when you are looking at thumbnails you can edit photos.

Exposure’s histogram helps you avoid clipping in either the shadows or highlights. You can make adjustments directly on the histogram to edit your image. You can drag, as well as reset shadows, exposure, and highlights.

Exposure’s presets are great for achieving more dramatic effects, too. I’ll choose a landscape image and apply a black and white film emulation. After hovering over a few options, I’ll go with Fuji Neopan 1600. This preset works great for this shot because it enhances the detail in the sky and the foreground grass.

I like this effect, but it’s a little too strong. Let’s turn it down by adjusting the Overall Intensity slider. This controls how the effect is blended with the original image. For black and white images, Exposure can adjust the overall blend on either a color or black and white base image.

Exposure features a Brush tool and a Spot Heal tool, so you can quickly retouch your photos. These work especially well for portraits. I’ll make a few quick refinements using the Spot Heal tool. To learn more about using these tools in Exposure, watch our non-destructive layers video.

If I want to undo an edit, or see a record of my creative edits, I’ll expand the History panel. Here, I can see the exact values for each adjustment I made.

That looks good. Now that we have finished editing our images, click Save to confirm the changes and go back to Lightroom. Now we’re back in Lightroom’s grid view, and you can see a new copy of each image with Exposure’s edits next to our Lightroom originals.