Project Description

Exposure Editing - Exposure Workflow Essentials

Exposure handles post-processing from beginning to end. Its workflow is reliable, efficient, and helps you spend less time managing files so you can focus on creating beautiful images. We made this video to demonstrate the essential steps of the process.

Photo: Kyle Allen Photography


Photo Organizing

Organizing images is the first step in post processing, and Exposure makes it hassle-free.

Copy From Card

Processing usually begins with images that need to be copied from camera cards. Insert a card of images into your computer, and Exposure will automatically bring up the Copy from Card dialog. On the left, step one is to select the source. Click the camera card you want to copy the images from. You can also select multiple cards, an archive drive, or a shared folder like Dropbox.

In the center section, step two is to review the images to copy. Exposure handles RAW files from lots of camera systems, TIFF, JPG, DNG, and Photoshop PSD files. The Check All and Uncheck All options, and the thumbnail size slider help make this review process quick.

Step three happens on the right, where you set the destination options such as the folder the images are copied to. Set the destination folder at the top, which can include a subfolder structure.

Set the naming template for the copied images; it might include the original name, capture time, or use one of the naming presets. Apply metadata to images to get organized right at the copy stage. Assign personal or business information using a metadata preset. Apply keywords, add images to collections, and even apply Exposure’s film emulation or creative presets to images as they are copied. Click OK to start copying files.

Exposure doesn’t use a catalog, which enables you to get to work immediately. There’s no reason to wait for importing to complete. The edits you apply in Exposure are non-destructive. The data is stored in sidecar files, which makes backups, transferring edits to other computers, and working with retouchers simple.

Folders and Collections

The folder structure in the Folder panel is the same as your computer hard drive. Right click in the Folder panel to access file management commands such as delete, move, copy, etc. Below Folders, Collections are a way to group images from various locations on your computer without making duplicates. You can create as many as you like, including sub collections within a collection to create an easy-to-navigate hierarchy. These are useful for curating photos for a specific purpose, like a blog article, or a photo album.

Culling Photos

A great place to start narrowing down to just the best selects is by assigning a reject flag to any photos that will not be included in the final selection. The mouse or the shortcut keys can be used to cull through a photo shoot. Shortcut keys cover most of the culling steps in Exposure, and help you work faster. Assign a pick flag with +, or reject with --. Apply star ratings to images with the numbers 1-5. Color labels are helpful for tracking and classifying images for specific uses, like print, or share on social media. Use the numbers 6--9. Holding Shift will assign these organizing designations and move to the next image in the folder automatically. It makes organizing photos very quick.

Use the filter controls on the bottom dock to sort and locate the best image options from the shoot. For example, image metadata such as camera make, lens type, or f-stop can be used to filter through photos.

Photo Editing

Editing adjustments can be for correcting issues in a photo, or they can be used for a creative effect. Correcting issues in photos is typically the first thing to address.

Fixing Routine Issues

Lens correction is a great place to start applying edits. The lens correction profiles in Exposure automatically correct distortion. Vignette and chromatic aberration caused by the design of the lens can be selected. Each aspect of the correction can be manually controlled.

The Detail panel has controls for corrective sharpening and noise removal. Both are important steps for any post-production processing. Be careful when sharpening low-contrast areas like smooth skin because it can appear rough and speckly.

Correcting tilted or skewed perspectives can be performed with the Transform tools. Turn on the gridlines for an extra level of accuracy. These are powerful tools that can apply strong adjustments.

Set a new aspect ratio for the photo, or perform minor straightening with the Crop tool. Use the presets to assign common aspect ratios, or perform creative cropping freehand.

Retouching photos to remove distractions is part of the process. For blemishes on skin, or small unwanted elements the Spot Heal tool is a great choice. To remove elements from a textured area, or next to hard edges, switch the tool from heal to clone. 

The Basic panel tools are used for making corrections to image exposure, white balance, and color saturation. When making adjustments in Exposure, start at the top of the panel and work your way down through the sliders.

Apply precise color adjustments with the Color panel tools. Introduce a tint across the entire image with the Color Filter. Detailed tweaks to image colors can be made with the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance sliders. Use the Targeted Adjustment tool to quickly identity and adjust in-between tones.

The Tone Curve provides an alternate way to control image tones. Use one of the presets to get started, and then make adjustments. Split toning, at the bottom, offers control for applying separate color tones to the dark and light areas of your image.

Applying Creative Effects

Exposure’s rendering engine was built to accurately emulate film — even down to the subtleties of individual film grains.

The presets in Exposure simulate a variety of iconic film looks that span the entire history of photography. They can be used unmodified, or as starting points for creative adjustments. The presets are organized into categories that are easy to browse. Check out our Applying Film Looks video for a tour of where to locate each look.

Creative vignettes are a great way to subtly draw attention on your subject. Exposure’s vignette tools include distortion controls, which add an organic feel to the vignette shape.

Bokeh (bow-kay) applies creative blurring effects that reinforce drawing attention on the subject. Set the amount and style of blur with the sliders, or select from the list presets and make customizations. Control where the blurring is applied with adjustable focus regions. 

Exposure provides the most advanced grain controls available. The effects really look like film grain, not pixelated grain or uniform noise. Control where the grain appears in the image, how strong it is, and even the appearance of the grain structure.

Layers offer flexibility to creatively blend edits. Placing effects on separate layers gives you more control over them. A layer in Exposure is made up of two things: a combination of editing adjustments and a mask to designate where they apply to the photo. The layer mask is monochrome, where it’s fully black the layer doesn’t affect the image at all, where it’s white, the effects from that layer are applied at full strength.

The Brush tool designates where the layer effects apply to the image. A quick method is to use a brush tool preset. Then, simply brush to define the mask. The mask thumbnail is updated with the brush strokes. Use the layer Opacity slider to back off the strength of the layer effects.


Your editing history is remembered by Exposure, so you can revisit the changes made to an image at any time. Simply hover over the editing steps to revisit that stage in the workflow.

Because Exposure stores image data in small sidecar files next to your images, you can synchronize edits across multiple computers using a tool like Dropbox. As long as you’re working in a shared folder, edits made on one computer will sync to the others.

Exporting images is the last major step in the workflow. Exposure’s quick export recipes greatly speed up the process. There are variants for web, social, publishing, and more, each with different image sizes, format settings and folder locations. Click the profile you want to use, or select more than one.