Improve Digital Photos Painlessly

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #311

Last January I wrote about Luminar, an image editor that helps you improve digital photos quickly and painlessly. In that review, I said Luminar makes image editing easy and enjoyable with an interface that adapts easily to different styles and skill levels.

A new version — Luminar 3 — does all that and more, with features and tools designed exclusively for improving photos quickly and easily.

The biggest new feature is perhaps Luminar’s new Library panel, which makes it easier than ever to organize, browse, and rate photos, without regard for the folder or disk on which they reside.

But, while the new Library panel is convenient and useful, it’s not my favorite new Luminar feature. That honor goes to the ability to make edits and adjustments to one photo and then apply those edits and adjustments to other photos with a single click. It’s a huge timesaver for images that share the same (or similar) lighting. If you’re a fan of shooting in burst mode (I am), you’re going to love editing all of the shots in the sequence with one more click.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) That’s Pretty Darn Smart

Another signature feature is Artificial Intelligence (AI). The AI Sky Enhancer, for example, does a spectacular job of making the sky gorgeous in seconds. It works amazingly well on almost any photo that includes the sky.

Before (left) and after (right) - any questions?
Before (left) and after (right) – any questions?*

There’s also a Sunray filter that uses AI to add realistic-looking refraction rays to light sources and lets you customize their appearance.

Then there’s the Accent AI filter, which uses AI to analyze the whole photo and apply appropriate enhancements based on its content and composition. It’s awesome. It does what you wish the Auto-Enhance (magic wand) tool in Apple’s Photos app did and more. Much more.

The Accent AI and Sundays filter helped me improve this image in seconds
The Accent AI., AI Sky Enhancer, and Sunrays filter helped me improve this image in mere seconds.*

Looks Make it Easy to Look Good

There are also more than 60 presets known as “Looks,” which are created by professional photographers and can be previewed or applied with a single click.

Another nice touch is Luminar’s adaptable user interface, which makes it easy to switch between workspaces such as Professional, Portrait, or Landscape (to name a few), each configured with tools and filters appropriate for the task at hand.

Edits are non-destructive and there’s a fabulous History list so you can undo every edit you’ve ever made to an image, even after you’ve saved and reopened the file.

There’s much more to Luminar including fast, native support for RAW images; image masking; layers; histograms; blend modes; brushes for selective editing; and more. The only thing it (still) lacks are tools for adding text—an inexplicable omission in what is otherwise such a comprehensive image editor.

I’ve been using Luminar 3 for several months and am still impressed with how quickly and easily it improves my imperfect photos. If you don’t believe me, download the free trial and see for yourself.

Luminar 3. $69. Skylum (formerly Macphun).

*All photos by Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus.

4 thoughts on “Improve Digital Photos Painlessly

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.