Moving from Lightroom to Exposure


This article guides you through moving images from Lightroom to Exposure X, X2, or X3. If using Exposure X4 or newer, use the Lightroom to Exposure Migration Tool.

Exposure 7 and earlier do not recognize Lightroom metadata.

Moving to Exposure from a Lightroom based workflow requires an understanding of what information can be carried from one to the other. Exposure can read much of the organizational information that has been added to your images in Lightroom.

Lightroom edits recognized by Exposure

  • Crop
  • Rating
  • Image Size
  • Orientation
  • Color Label
  • Copyright, Name, Address, and Email
  • Keywords

Exposure will not recognize any of the visual edits you have made to photos in Lightroom. Edits like exposure, white balance, and tone curves will not be carried over with the metadata. If you have adjustments that you wish to preserve, you must perform an export step. 

Lightroom normally stores changes to an image in a catalog file. But, you can instruct Lightroom to write those changes to a location Exposure can access.

Once you've done that, Exposure will read Lightroom's information and put it in a new Exposure sidecar file. If an Exposure sidecar file already exists, Exposure will ignore Lightroom's data because attempting to merge the information could lead to conflicts.

Preparing to import your Lightroom data

Get used to Exposure

Moving to new software can be challenging. It’s a good idea to spend some time getting used to Exposure’s organization and editing features for a little while before migrating your entire library. Set aside some time where you use Exposure only for new edits, while editing older images in the original program. A week or so of familiarization will make the transfer much easier. There are many useful video tutorials to help you learn.

Backup your images

Any time you are changing a large body of work it’s possible to make mistakes. Make sure your images are well backed up before moving anything. The migration will go smoother if you have confidence that you can start back from the beginning if needed.

Save Lightroom metadata to image files

Individual files

In the Lightroom Library module, navigate to the folder containing images for use with Exposure.

In Grid view select one or more images.

Select Metadata > Save Metadata To File(s).

The image files are now ready to add to Exposure.

Library Folders

In the Library Folders menu select all folders you wish to use with Exposure.

Right click (or control- click) and choose Save Metadata.

The folders and all image files in them are now ready to add to Exposure.

Bookmark folders in Exposure

Open Exposure.


Locate the Folders panel. By default it's at the upper left.

Click on the Add (+) icon in the Folders bar.

Navigate to the folder you wish to bookmark.

Select the folder and click Open.

The folder is now bookmarked in the Folders list.

All subfolders and image files can now be accessed. Exposure reads XMP files and metadata stored with the image files. When you make an edit it records all the metadata to the Alien Skin sidecar files stored with each folder.

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