Luminar 3 was released in December 2018 and features many of the same innovative features as its predecessor, Luminar 2018.
However, Luminar 3 got a number of upgrades, not the least of which is a Library feature that allows you to import and organize images into folder and albums, sort and rate photos, and sync photos between your Luminar library and your desktop.
But Luminar with Libraries isn't the only feature and benefit worthy of note.
In this Luminar review, I outline some of its top benefits, compare it to Lightroom, discuss pricing, and more.
Luminar Key Features and Benefits
One of the best features of Luminar is that it has an interface that you can adapt to your specific workflow.
Not only is it scalable and adaptive to your needs, but it's also highly customizable.
That includes the ability to adjust the size and layout of the photo gallery, using shortcuts to find photos based on date, rating, label, or even editing status, and pre-made workspaces populated with tools for specific types of editing, such as for landscape photography, portraiture, and black and white photography, among others.
The benefit to you is that you can work faster, find images you want to edit with greater ease, and have a totally custom workspace that perfectly fits your workflow.
Another excellent feature of Luminar is that it has dozens of enhancement filters that allow you to kick off the editing process in literally seconds.
There are 51 filters in total, ranging from "Issue Fixers" like Clarity and Dehaze to "Creative Filters" like adding Golden Hour effects, Soft Focus, and Fog.
Likewise, more traditional filters like Curves, HSL, and Dodge and Burn are also available, each of which is easily adjusted via a series of sliders (as shown above).
But if you ask me, one of the best filters of the bunch is Luminar's AI-powered Accent AI Filter, which is shown in the GIF above.
The Accent AI filter analyzes your photos and applies about a dozen enhancements automatically, including improving the color, tone, and depth of the photo.
And while the Accent AI filter does all this on its own in a matter of milliseconds, you still retain control over the final product by adjusting a slider control. Simply move the slider to the right to enhance the filter's effects and move it left to reduce them.
Naturally, the benefit of using this and Luminar's other filters is that you can quickly make highly impactful edits to your photos. Not only does this save you time in the short-term, but it also helps you develop a workflow that saves you time in the long-run as well.
Luminar vs Lightroom
With every update from the Luminar folks, we're seeing more and more of this "Luminar vs. Lightroom" question coming up.
That's certainly true now that Luminar has a Library feature, which was one of the knocks against previous versions.
Above, Sawyer Hartman offers a detailed, hands-on review of Luminar 2018 with some insights into Luminar 3 as well.
He tackles the Luminar vs. Lightroom issue and provides his insights on the comparison between the two. Have a look, and you can be the judge regarding which program stacks up best for your specific needs.
Luminar for Landscape Photographers
Luminar has a variety of tools aimed specifically and landscape photography.
One such tool is the AI Sky Enhancer, which, like the aforementioned Accent AI Filter, is powered by artificial intelligence.
This filter analyzes a landscape image to determine which part of the photo is the sky. This analysis is done accurately whether the sky is clear or cloudy, whether it occupies most of the frame or very little, and if the sky is blue, orange, pink, or some other color. The GIF above shows the Sky Enhancer in action.
Once the filter determines which parts of the photo are the sky, it intelligently applies a filter mask and enhances it based on numerous factors, including its color, size, and texture.
Then, you can fine-tune how the filter is applied by adjusting a single slider.
Again, this is a feature that benefits users both in terms of ease of use and in time savings as well.
Get a detailed look at the AI Sky Enhancer in the video above by David Johnston.
Photo by Max Rive
Another innovative landscape photography feature you'll find in Luminar is the Sun Rays filter.
Again, Luminar smartly applies this filter to add realistic sun rays to any photo.
You exert a lot of control over the look of the sun rays, and can determine their location, look, and intensity.
The truly neat thing is that Luminar applies the filter in a way that it interacts with features in the shot. That means that if you place the origin point of the filter behind a mountain peak, Luminar will automatically mask the rays behind the peak.
You can see this process in action in the video above by Mads Peter Iversen.
How to Use Filter Masks in Luminar
Masking is a great way to enhance certain parts of a photo. The problem in some programs is that masking is a laborious process.
That's not the case in Luminar.
In fact, you can apply filter masks in a matter of minutes, and the results of applying edits in this very fine, specific manner can be quite extraordinary.
In the video above, David Johnston walks us through how to use filter masks in Luminar.
Luminar With Libraries
As noted in the introduction, Luminar 3 comes with a library feature that makes organizing and sorting your images a breeze.
But Luminar 3 has other enhancements and improvements that make it even easier and more efficient to use.
Have a look at the video above by Jim Nix to explore ten things in Luminar 3 that you'll be glad to know.
His tour of the Luminar interface will help you identify ways in which you can streamline your workflow for more productive editing sessions.
Luminar for Windows
Until recently, Windows users were left out in the cold as Luminar was exclusively available for Mac.
That's no longer the case...
Skylum, which was once called MacPhun, has expanded their universe to include Windows-based users and have started catering to the demands of photographers that use PCs.
What's more, Luminar is available on Windows and Mac as a standalone application or as a Plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop. You can even use it as an extension for Apple Photos if you're a Mac user.
In other words, Luminar offers you a whole host of ways to use it either independently or as an addition to programs you already use whether you're on a Mac or a PC.
Luminar Free Trial
From time to time, Skylum offers a free trial of Luminar.
You can check availability of free trials by visiting their website.
Ask any photographer what they think about Adobe's recurring fees for Lightroom and Photoshop, and you'll likely get an angry earful.
Skylum took that dissatisfaction to heart, and offers Luminar for a one-time fee of $69.00. Luminar affiliates often have Luminar discount codes available for a percentage off the purchase price, so keep your eyes peeled for those. You can often find discount codes on YouTube by searching for Luminar 3-related videos.
Not only that, but that one-time fee gets you one license for five Macs or five PCs. There's also a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Luminar 3 Download
If you're ready to pull the trigger and get a copy of Luminar 3, just visit the Luminar website.
From all indications from reviewers and in my own hands-on testing of Luminar, it's a more than worthy option for editing your photos.