Is Luminar any good? Your questions answered!

Question 1: Is Luminar any good?


I will not beat around the bush here. The short answer is yes! Luminar 4, Luminar 3 and Luminar 2018  is very good software. It delivers on what it promises. It offers fast, easy edits to complex editing methods. In the end, Luminar automatically edits stuff that normally requires advanced knowledge of Photoshop to do.

Circus artists between two train cars

Luminar skin enhance edit with smart contrast

For all the experience I have had with the Luminar 4 and Luminar 2018, I go to this software for the following edit types. These are not in order of importance by the way.

children running on a beach

Where it Luminar shines

  • Pro-level Portrait editing
  • Placing objects in photos and making fantasy like composite style photos
  • All landscape style adjustments: via AI Accent and AI Sky Enhancer
  • All lighting edits (Fantasy and real): via Sunrays, and the Essentials tab i.e. temp, color, and denoise
  • Some special effects are really convincing (erase objects, sky replace)

Where Luminar does not shine

  • Contrast AI effects, Content-aware AI structure
  • Library functions
  • Performance

Conclusion and answer?


Therefore, when you need a really good quality professional quick fix for these types of edits, you can count on Luminar.

It might be a good idea to head over to my tutorial gallery and full video review of Luminar 4 by clicking here

Question 2: Is Luminar better than Lightroom?


Whether Luminar is better than Lightroom is also an easy question to answer. When you want to get a finished photo that stands out and captivates, Luminar is, in my humble opinion, way better. Luminar’s flow gets to the point. You get pro photo edits really really fast.

Instant looks in Lightroom just don’t hook you as much as in Luminar 4. Instant results is just not a part of what Adobe Lightroom is all about.

Luminar general interface

Luminar has an extremely minimalized interface as well

Lightroom’s complexity allows for personalization


That being said, the complex can sometimes be a good thing. Luminar does not allow you to personalize your photo edits as much as Lightroom. Although, Luminar allows you to customize, it does not allow you to give your own personal touch. For those who like to make something that has their own signature, Lightroom might be a better way to go.

Lightroom tools for editing photos

Lightroom’s tools for photo edits


So, here is a little low down of both the Skylum and the Adobe photo edit approach.

Luminar’s way is – get results now and customize the photo later.

Lightroom way is – customize right now and learn the basics to take it to the next level.

Now, here is a question for you. Which philosophy fits you?


Lightroom flaggin and taggin niterface

Lightroom’s flagging and tagging interface is untouchable


Luminar also fails against lightroom on the all important function of cataloging. I sometimes think that cataloging is just not something that the Skylum software team thinks is important. Lightroom’s flagging, tagging, A/B and cataloging is, for now, second to none. Adobe Lightroom Classic is also just way better at generating previews, keywording content, and everything involved with classifying.

Question 3:  Is Luminar easy to use?


The short answer here? Yes!

What really makes Luminar 4.2, Luminar 3, and Luminar 2018  cool is its slider based edit approach to very complex and advanced photo editing techniques.

Luminar tools section of software

Simple slider editing and advanced settings for each parameter

Luminar uses AI (artificial intelligence) to decide where to take an edit. Although it does make some pretty wacky choices at times, 85% of the time it is spot on. This is a gamble I am very willing to take.

In Luminar, most photo edits involve a one slider move with an advanced tab below to play around with. So you get pro photo edits with the slide of one button. Wow!

Can Luminar Replace Lightroom? Is Luminar better than Photoshop?


The short answer? No!

For the reasons I said in the above answers- the answer is no. Adobe Lightroom classifies catalogs, edits, and delivers a final photo.  All this with a quite steep learning curve. In the end, Luminar ends up being a super elaborate lovely filter package.

Lightrrom main library interface

Luminar’s library page is hard to beat

Lightroom's a/b comaprison interface

The A/b comparison interface show Lightroom’s edge in classifying photos


Luminar shines as a plugin for Photoshop or Lightroom


I think that Luminar shines when it is an add-on to either Photoshop or Lightroom. How? In my workflow, Luminar has done wonders as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.


Luminar should step up its Libray game


Also, as a Luminar partner, I have made many attempts at using Luminar’s “newest” library but I just cannot get myself to sell this feature. But if you think of the price of this software at roughly 100$ (with a whole load of discount codes going around) as a plugin to a Lightroom or Photoshop workflow, it really is worth the money.


main Photoshop interface

Photoshop’s layer-based interface has proven its worth through the years


So my final conclusion is:


  • Get Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom and learn the basics
  • Get Luminar and install it as a plugin on both software
  • Catalog and do elaborate edits with Adobe’s photo editing software and export to your Luminar plugin for finishing flair. 

Now to leave you with some photos of some cool recent Luminar edits

close up portrait of a woman
Portrait edit using Luminar using AI Skin enhance
lady in leotard and heels
Mireille Luminar Black and white and Skin enhance
close up portrait of woman
Pauline AI Skin enhance with frequency seperation in PS

The Jacques Gaines Luminar 4 discount code

For those of you interested in buying Luminar, click on the link below in my affiliate section. Make sure you use the discount code: JACOLM4. It will give you an additional 10$ off the software

Extra Luminar 4 tutorials


Here are some Luminar tutorials you might like to watch to see the software in action.

You can also go straight to my YouTube channel playlist to see even more how-to videos

Latest Luminar tutorials

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