Rutherford and McIntosh (J Autism Dev Disord 37:187–196, 2007) demonstrated that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more tolerant than controls of exaggerated schematic facial expressions, suggesting that they may use an alternative strategy when processing emotional expressions. The current study was designed to test this finding using photographs of real people. In addition, two control tasks were added to eliminate alternative explanations. We replicated the findings of Rutherford and McIntosh (J Autism Dev Disord 37:187–196, 2007) and also demonstrated that adults with ASD do not show this tolerance when evaluating how realistic the expressions are. These results suggest adults with ASD employ a rule-based strategy to a greater extent than typical adults when processing facial expressions but not when processing other aspects of faces.