Time Traveling with Alien Skin Exposure 7

© Chris Boswell, Old Buddha

© Chris Boswell, Old Buddha

Original Photo before editing with Alien Skin Exposure 7

Let me start out by saying I am a bit of a software junkie. I have most of the photo editing programs out there and I am a master of none of them. I tend to use bits and pieces of each program to create one of the worst workflows on the planet. I have been exploring Alien Skin 7 Exposure 7 for a few days now and I like what I see. It’s a great way to start the creative process with a lot of control behind the scenes.


One of my favorite areas to explore is the look and feel of historic photographic processes using digital photography and software. I also like the look of toy cameras and old film emulsions. Exposure 7 makes it easy to scroll through the various effects to achieve the look ‘m going for. One of the best features is that your working image is the preview and you don’t have the click to see the effect. Below is just a sampling of some of the features found in the new Exposure 7 that I found very useful.


  • Presets: There are 24 presets that are separated into Black and White and Color. My favorites are the Black and White Vintage presets and the Color Vintage The tones and borders are a very good representation of Daguerreotypes and the old Kodachrome films.
  • Borders: You can add borders to your images separately and have the ability to invert the selection. I used this to help create a worn look on the edges.
  • Textures: You can add your own here. You can zoom, scale and control the opacity as well as protect areas within the image.
  • Grain: I really like the feature of specifying the film size of grain. Most programs just give you grain and here you can start with the correct representation and scale. You also have the feature of controlling the grain within the highlights, shadows and midtones.
  • Bokeh: This section really has a lot of room to be creative. There are about 30 choices of lenses, shapes and the ability to control the grain within the bokeh.


Overall I found the new program easy to work with and most of the presets were a really good starting point. My original image of the stone Buddha was shot in harsh light and did not have any appeal as a color image. Shooting that day was really tough, no clouds, deep shadows and of course super hot weather. I knew when I took this shot it would be hard to work with but thought I could make the image a keeper. I challenge myself on a regular basis to turn discarded images into keepers. You could read between the lines here and know that my photo skills keep me busy with this endeavor! I decided to create an old photo/postcard look in keeping with the historic setting.


To make the final image I used, Bokeh,Grain, Borders normal, Borders inverted, two doses of Textures, Vignette on borders as well as Random vignette applied to the entire image. For presets, I used the Autochrome, Kodachrome and the Daguerreotype. I intentionally cranked up the highlights to make some of the leaves look like flowers and filled the background with texture to capture the look of an old paper base. The entire process took about 20 minutes.

-Chris Boswell