Luminar Review: Powerful Photo Editing Software with Plenty of Presets

LUMINAR – Photo Editing Software for Mac


First Impressions & Review

Luminar is a new and complete photo editor developed by Macphun, a software development company based in California and committed to creating the best award-winning software for creative people with a Mac.

Macphun has been passionate about making powerful photography tools such as the Aurora HDR 2017 or the Creative Kit.


Update 11/10/2017: Luminar 2018 is Coming

Get the special introduction price here.

Luminar 2018 Pre Order Now

Luminar is More than Creative Kit

Luminar is their next generation photo software, which has everything their Creative Kit products offer, plus more.

So if you are into photography, own a Mac, and you don’t have Creative Kit yet, then buying the new Luminar Photo Software makes complete sense. And if you already have Creative Kit, it makes sense too, because Luminar is now the “one-package” solution for all your needs.

It does however not replace Aurora HDR 2017. If you use Aurora, you want to keep using it for your HDR work and do finishing touches in Luminar. has been testing the new Luminar Beta Version, and at first sight, it seems the photo editing software can do all the photo editing tasks that Lightroom can.

Luminar Review | PhotoWorkout's Experience

Review: Luminar Software Editing App by Macphun

The Luminar Software Editing App comes with 60 Presets and Plenty of Filters & is easy to use!

Luminar does however not organizing your photos into libraries and collections. But that’s just fine because there is a plug-in for Lightroom.

For now, it makes sense to keep on using Adobe Lightroom for organizing all your photos and edit them with Luminar.

Note: his may change in the new future. Macphun has confirmed that they are already working on an update which will make it possible for users also to catalog and store images (this means serious competition to Lightroom!)

What’s better in Luminar vs. Lightroom?

Luminar vs. Lightroom

Luminar vs. Lightroom: Luminar makes your photos great and you can use Luminar in addition to Lightroom (which is more of a Photo Library & Basic Editing Solution).

Luminar is Faster

Luminar opens faster and applying presets and filters in Luminar seems to be much quicker than in Lightroom (tested on MacOS Sierra, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5).

So speed is a big plus, considering that Lightroom sometimes freezes and loads for several seconds before the presets are applied.

Some functions take some time, though, e.g. the “Denoise Tool” for example took quite some time to load. Overall we find the Luminar photo editor runs smooth and fast 🙂

Ease of Use

We have taken no tutorials, watched no videos. Just downloaded the Luminar software, opened the app and loaded one sample images from our image folder. And we were ready to go.

Macphun’s Luminar Photo Editing Software is easy to use, and even photography beginners should find their way around quite quickly.

60 Artistic Presets

Luminar Preset Preview

Screenshot of the Luminar Presets: 60 Artistic Presets to choose from.

The installed presets which come with the Luminar photo editor for Mac are easy to apply, and you can preview each of the presets in the thumbnails below the images (it’s called the “Preset Panel”).

Related Post: Best Free Lightroom Presets

This is something which has been annoying with Lightroom because you have to click on each presets.

Luminar comes with 60 presets divided into six presets groups:

  • 12 Basic: Clarity Booster, Classic B&W, Detailed, Fix Dark Photos, Foggy Day, Foreground Brighter, Gloomy Morning, Image Enhancer, Sharp & Crisp, Sky Enhancer, Soft & Airy, Vivid;
  • 8 Street: 60’s B&W, Centre of Attention, Cold Morning, Enhanced Reality, Noble, Only Yellow, Peruvian Desert, Subway;
  • 8 Outdoor: Abandoned Place, Auto Smart Enhancer, Bright Day, Colors of the Fall, Daydreams, Fix Dark Landscape, Landscape Soft B&W, Misty Land;
  • 8 Portrait: B&W Fashion Magazine, Enhanced Portrait, Glamour, Mysterious Girl, Noble Beauty, Portrait Soft Glow, Smooth Portrait;
  • 13 Travel: Dark Moon, Dull No More, Explore Dark Alleys, Final Frontier, Ghost Ship, Happy Memories, Impressive, Marco Polo, New Discovery, Silver Crystals, Sleepy Valley, Vivid Dreams, Warm Sunset;
  • 11 Dramatic: Artistic Copper Strong, Bloody Mary, Cold Mood, Dramatic Grungy, Dramatic Look, Enigmatic Vision, Film Noir, Lost Soul, Mood Enhancer, Tears in Rain, Vintage Look;

Plus, the users can save custom presets and can mark presets as favorite presets.

Luminar Advanced Features

The fact that Luminar is easy to use and that even beginner photographer can figure out the basics quickly does not mean that there are only a few things one can do with this new photo editor.

Luminar comes with plenty of functionalities.

Here is the full list of the adjustable Luminar “Filters”:

  • Color: Adjustable Gradient, Advanced Contrast, B&W Conversion, Bi-Color Toning, Channel Mixer, Color, Balance, Color Contrast, Color Temperature, Cross Processing, Curves, Foliage Enhancer, HSL, Photo Filter, Polarizing Filter, Remove Color Cast, Saturation / Vibrance, Split Color Warmth, Split Toning;
  • Creative: Dramatic, Fog, Grain, High Key, Image Radiance, Orton Effect, Soft Focus, Soft Glow, Texture Overlay, Vignette;
  • Tonal Enhancement: Brightness / Contrast, Curves, Exposure, Highlights / Shadows, Tone, Top & Bottom Lighting;
  • Detail: Clarity, Details Enhancer, Micro Structure, Polarizing Filter, Sharpening, Structure;
  • Utility: Color Temperature, HSL, Remove Color Cast;
Luminar Screenshot | Software Review

Luminar Filters Explained

And to make even these advanced functions/filters easy to understand and learn, Macphun has added short explanations and sample images to each of their filters.

Just click on the plus sign next to the filter, then click on the left arrow and the description with sample images will show.

After playing around with the software for 10 minutes and you will be able to master the basics of these 36 photo adjustment options (they are called “Filters”).

Lightroom & Photoshop Like Features

In addition to the filters, Luminar has a brush, gradient mask, and radial mask tools at the very right panel to select certain parts of the image for selected adjustments. These tools are similar to the one’s you find in Lightroom under the histogram.

Four more tools complete the Luminar photo editing app a robust photo editing solution for your Mac: a size transform tool, a clone stamp tool, an eraser, a noise tool and a crop tool.

Related Post: The 3 Best Photo Editing Softwares

And the Photoshop-like layers make sure that you have control over all your adjustments and can quickly compare different settings. An easy “before and after view“, both “side by side comparison button” and “on/off button”, helps you to see what effect your changes had on the image.

Easy Export & Sharing

Once you are done with editing your photo in Luminar, you can share it on Twitter, Facebook or Flickr or send it by mail or open it directly in other photo editing apps like Photoshop, Lightroom or iPhoto.

If you open the image from Lightroom and click apply the edited image saves in the Lightroom folder.

Macphun Luminar Software makes sharing photos on Social Media Easy

It's easy to share your edited pictures on Social Media like Twitter.

Related Post: On1 Photo Raw Review


Luminar is Now Available: Try it today for Free!

Or buy it for $59 (for $49 if you already own a Macphun software). This is a special launch price (Normal Retail Price is $69).

Luminar for Mac has Over 300 Tools and Features

The New Luminar Photo Editing Software by Macphun: Over 300 Awsom Tools & Features

We feel it’s worth the investment, considering that you get 60 presets and Lightroom & Photoshop-like functionality.

Buy Luminar for Mac

You can get a free trial of the Luminar Photo Editing Software here or buy it for a for only $69.

To see Luminar in full action you can watch this video by Macphun showing 3 example images:

Luminar Features and Special Price.

Luminar for Mac | Update: 17 December 2016

Earlier this month Macphun brought an update to Luminar to support the new Macbook Touch Bar as well as some other improvements.

Today they just released the latest major update to Luminar, called Pluto.

The Pluto update for Luminar is available since December 16th, 2016 as a free update to all current users and new users and includes new key features such as:

  • Batch Processing
  • Dehaze Filter
  • A new Golden Hour Filter (We Like it :-))
  • Improvements to the Color Temperature Tool
  • and much more.
Macphun Luminar for Mac Pluto Update

Macphun Luminar for Mac Review: Now Even Better with the Pluto Update.

You can follow this link to the full blog post about this new Luminar for Mac “Pluto Update.”



Is Luminar available only for MAC users?

Yes, currently Luminar is available only for Mac computers.

Do I need to be a Pro Photographer to use Luminar for Mac?

No, not at all!

We just edited an image of the Taj Mahal. We applied the “Outdoor” > “Auto Small Enhancer” Filter at 50%.

This it is. Super, simple. It took us only 10 seconds (!), with no tutorial/instructions.

Doing this with Lightroom or Photoshop would have taken us much longer (and would have been much less fun to do).

Luminar is very intuitive and works without any special photo editing skills. Yet it is powerful and comes with over 300 tools and features

Here is the result of our 10 second edit (drag the yellow button to the left/right to see before/after):


Does Luminar work with Adobe Lightroom?

Yes, Luminar comes with a Lightroom plugin that you can activate during the main installation. Luminar works great with Lightroom! 

Use Coupon Code “PHOTOWORKOUT” to Save EXTRA $10!
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We are a team of enthusiast photographers crafting every piece of content to help our readers.
The PhotoWorkout Team is always curious about the latest photography gear, post-processing software, up & coming photographers, and amazing photos from around the world. Stay tuned for more to come 😉

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We are a team of enthusiast photographers crafting every piece of content to help our readers.
The PhotoWorkout Team is always curious about the latest photography gear, post-processing software, up & coming photographers, and amazing photos from around the world. Stay tuned for more to come ;-)

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