I’m usually not in love with large “pre packaged” groups of actions or effects. I’m old school, and like to pick and choose one or two of my favorite from here and there around the internet and just use those. So needless to say, I was skeptical about how useful I would find Exposure 3 when Alien Skin contacted me about doing a review.

I wanted to give it a comprehensive run  so I’ve used it now for editing my past two weddings and a few portrait sessions and I’m hooked.

What I like about Exposure 3…

  • Variety- They literally mimic nearly every type of film and processing effect I’ve ever heard of and they do it well. The effects are not overly dramatic (with a few exceptions) and are easily tweakable. My wife, not a photographer at all and sometimes my harshest critic said last night out of the blue while looking at a recent portrait session that she liked how I varied the colors and offered options.  Kudos to Exposure 3 for that.
  • No Photoshop- If you’re like me you’re spending less and less time in Photoshop these days. With Exposure 3 I find myself going there even less because I can create many of the effects I used to do in PS via a right-click  and selecting edit in Exposure.
  • Quality- Things like realistic grain and aging are hard to pull off yet Exposure 3 does it with gusto. I couldn’t be more pleased with the Black and Whites, the grain and the dirt/grit.
  • Ability to Tweak- Tweaking a preset is easy and simple to do. Great for when you want to tone something down a bit to bring it closer to reality. But realistically I didn’t find it necessary to do this often.

What I didn’t like about Exposure 3…

  • I wish it would load faster.  This might just be a quirk of how I work  but I edit each image as I come across it. If you edit in Exposure via batches it would be faster. Once you click the edit in Exposure 3 you need to wait for it to load. It takes about as long as it does to open Photoshop via the edit in command in Lightroom. It’s not a deal breaker by any means but it is a tad slow. But only until it opens then it’s rather fast at rendering changes
  • Having to pick between black and white and color editing options upon launch. The main problem with this is if you change your mind you must cancel the edit and reload the image into Exposure again. It would be nice if you could just see all of the effects in the same load. There is probably a very geeky explanation for why they don’t do this however and it’s only a minor annoyance and not a deal breaker.

Overall I would recommend Exposure 3 to anyone looking for a comprehensive effects pack to use via Lightroom.

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