I often look at my twin lens Rolleicord and old Kodak and Nikon F3 film cameras that sit proudly on the shelf in my office. The shelf is situated to my left as I walk towards my desk where I have all my digital equipment−almost to remind me of the way it was! There was just something special, even magical, about the feeling I had when I picked these cameras up to photograph something and later went back to my darkroom or over to a custom lab to see the images come to life.
But now I use DSLRs and post-processing to achieve my vision. Software programs are getting better all the time, as they incorporate algorithms for adjusting sharpness to noise to everything in between. The programs we use are, or should be, dictated by what we want to accomplish, possible client or gallery requirements, and the ease of use and control that they give us to create that final image−our vision of the scene we saw when we pressed the shutter. However, I still love the look of film and that’s why I jumped at the opportunity to experiment with the latest Alien Skin Exposure version 5.
For those that are not familiar with Alien Skin, the company has been known for its quality products since the mid-1990s. Even so, the products are very far from “old tech” as the company has continually innovated over the years. Their attention to meeting customer requirements, support and great software is what defines them.
Software companies work hard to differentiate their products, and it’s not easy to be unique in a world that provides photographers with so many choices. But the latest version of the Alien Skin Exposure product does just that. I’ve spent quite a lot of time with this version and this article describes just a few of my favorite features with examples of how I used them.
Exposure 5 Features
Version 5 expands on the ease of use and rich feature set of previous versions of the software. For example, the new darkened background and panel interface resembles the look of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. It’s easier to use than previous versions and if you use the Adobe products it feels more like part of the general workflow. An important feature is that you can also use Exposure 5 as a standalone product, so Lightroom and Photoshop are not even required. Just open Exposure and select the image file that you want to work on. Contrary to the way some other tools work, you can access all the color and black and white presets and controls from the same interface−there’s no need for separate products. This means that you can more easily experiment to achieve your vision of the final image.