Hey Everyone! Today I want to talk about a new (new to me) photo editing software called Luminar from Skylum. I have been hearing about this software for a while, but being an avid Lightroom and Photoshop guy, I wasn't looking for anything new. So I just ignored it. I was browsing YouTube and saw a tutorial on Luminar and gave it a look. I was intrigued with some of its features but still skeptical. So I started researching and found out a lot about the software. Now don't get me wrong, I am no expert on Luminar. I have used it for just a few days on a few photos, but here is some of what I have learned.
Luminar can be a stand-alone program or can be used in conjunction with Lightroom or Photoshop like a plugin. As of right now, it is not a Digital Asset Manager (DAM) like Lightroom is, but it is supposed to have a DAM in the near future. It does all of the editing things that Lightroom can do and more. It can also do "Layers" like Photoshop can, but it's a lot easier to do than in Photoshop. This is not a replacement for Photoshop. It cannot type in text or do a lot of the things that Photoshop can do, but it is another tool in my photo editing tool belt.
Luminar uses presets and filters to edit photos. Presets are much like Lightroom. Presets are on the left hand side of the Develop module, but they are more adjustable than the ones in Lightroom. You can individually tweak the adjustments and overall opacity of the preset to get the look you want. Like Lightroom, you can import presets that others have made or make your own. There are some free ones on the Skylum website and of course ones you can buy also. If you don't want to use presets, you don't have to. You can go straight to editing the photo with filters, or you can add filters to the preset if you like.
Filters are on the right hand column of the Develop module of Lightroom, where you have the Histogram, Basic ,Tone Curve, HSL panel etc... There are a lot of filters to choose from, 50 I believe, and there are some really cool ones. With filters you can use them globally, or you can brush the effect to a certain part of the photo. You can layer the filters like you can do layers in Photoshop. There are some unique filters that are worth the price of the software. Filters like "Orton Effect" or "Sunrays" are awesome. I'll show some before and after pictures of some of the photos I have done so you can see what you can do.
This software is a one-time purchase of about $60 depending on what kind of discount you can come up with. This will let you put the program on five different computers. It is not a subscription-based program like Lightroom and Photoshop. It is much like other HDR programs or Googles Nik Efex programs.
My overall first impression is that I really like it. Will it replace Lightroom for me? I don't think so. I've used those programs for so long it would be hard to change. But I do think that for someone starting out in photography that this would be a great photo editing program, especially when they get the DAM (Digital Asset Management) working. So if you're looking for something to get your creative juices flowing, this is a great tool to put in your digital processing tool belt. Keep shooting!