Fstoppers Takes a First Look at the Luminar Photo Editor With New Features and Bug Fixes

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at the Luminar Photo Editor With New Features and Bug Fixes

Today, Luminar 3 has been updated to version 3.02, and the company, after glitches in version 3, is moving toward being a solid Adobe Lightroom competitor.

The Skylum people have been very aggressive across their software releases and have been successful with both Luminar, a photo editor and cataloger, and Aurora, an HDR application. Both applications run on Windows and Macintosh computers and can run as plug-ins inside Adobe and other applications.

Here's some of what's updated in this latest release.

  • Faster import (Windows): Experience faster load times when adding new photos and folders to the Catalog.
  • Faster launching (Windows): When returning to Luminar, launch times are improved when reloading a Catalog.
  • Improved moving (Mac): When files are moved between an external and internal drive, the images are not duplicated multiple times in your library.
  • Improved sRGB exports (Mac): Some cameras showed color shifts when exporting with the sRGB profile, which has been fixed.
  • Improved Luminar 2018 import (Mac): Importing and opening native Luminar files (.lmnr files) has been improved.
  • Stability (Windows and Mac): Luminar 3.0.2 offers greater stability improvements.

Windows users will specifically see:

  • Subfolder management: Users can now create and delete nested folders inside their catalogs.
  • Offline file alerts: Users will see a visual alert indicating unavailable files and folders.
  • Shortcut keys: New keyboard shortcuts are available for View, Looks Navigation, Masks, Tools and Edit.
  • Adding folder improvements: Users can now cancel the addition of folders.

Mac users will also get:

  • Database management: Luminar image catalog databases are now automatically backed up to preserve edits and metadata.
  • Preference panel: Users can control preferences for Cache, Catalog and Automatic Backup.
  • Improved handoffs: If users are working with RAW or 16-bit image files and use the File > Open In command, a high-quality 16-bit file is exported.
  • Aurora HDR integration: Users can now send their photos to Aurora HDR, allowing them to merge bracketed photos and take advantage of Aurora’s powerful HDR features.
  • Adding folder improvements: Users can now cancel the addition of folders.

The Aurora integration is most welcome, although it's only on the Mac side at present. It was odd that Luminar did not support integration between its two biggest selling applications in the first Luminar 3 release.

The really good features are still in this latest Luminar. Along with all the regular editing tools, The AI Sky Enhancer is very impressive.

I've also been impressed with the Sun ray renderer, which gives realistic results.

I tried Luminar 3.02 on my Mac and it seemed well behaved. I know Skylum is really high on their cataloging/library functions, but it still doesn't compare to Lightroom. Worse, if you want to use Luminar as only an editor, you can't without setting up a catalog first. 

Many pro and semi-pro photographers will want to control their own workflow, and not be forced into working the way an app designer insists you work. 

Another gripe is that when you launch Luminar, the "Looks" feature is a default, taking too much of your screen space. Personally, I like to do my own editing, not use canned pre-sets, so I don't like to see that forced on me. Yes, I can turn it off, but it should be on a software switch so I can launch without seeing it. 

On1 and other editors have figured this out. Luminar hasn't yet, but I'm hoping they will.

I like the Skylum products. For editing images, Luminar is a first-class application. Still, there are quirks in even this latest version, and I'm hoping that Skylum will listen to users and eliminate some of the restrictions placed on the way Luminar works.

Adobe needs serious competition. Luminar is not there yet in terms of library functions, but is headed generally in the right direction. 

This is a free update for Luminar 3 owners. Mixed-computer households can share the same product key for Mac and PC, which can be activated on five devices, which is very generous.

If you are buying Luminar outright, it is $69.00 but there are frequent promotional offers that can lower the price. It's still very reasonable, and will appeal to photographers that don't want to be on a subscription plan.

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7 Comments

Mark Guinn's picture

I swear, I want to like Luminar SO MUCH. It's like a mashup of Lightroom and Photoshop, so you don't have to swap back and forth between apps. My problem with the previous versions is that there was just so much lag and odd little glitches and freezes. After reading this, though, I downloaded Luminar 3 for the 30 day trial. So far, it seems like it's working pretty well. Biggest gripe so far is that the sliders' sensitivity makes it pretty easy to turn your photo into one of those overcooked and unrealistic HDR images.

I'll use it for 29 more days and see what happens. Hopefully Skylum has the bugs worked out.

Have you tried holding down the Option key when adjusting the sliders?

Mark Guinn's picture

I'll try this, thank you! Most of my editing is done on a macbook pro using the trackpad, where even the slightest finger twitch sends Luminar's sliders into overcooked HDR zone. lol

Those are Max Rive's photographs in the title and I can almost guarantee he does not use Luminar.

I've been using Luminar since Nov. 2018 and have found it to be a great starting point for my photo editing. I have a busy schedule and find the Luminar Looks give a photographer a great starting point on my phot editing. After some additional tweaks on my images I can then use Luminar as a plugin for Photoshop or Lightroom to clean up my images.

Skylum has a great support team that listens and helps their users. They have churned out a very user-friendly photo editing application that is geared towards all levels of photographers. Skylum offers educational tools also to help you along the way on the website and on the companies YouTube Channel

You can't beat the 30 day free trial and of course you can't beat the cost of $69.00 either, no subscription, one payment and you own it. Of course, if you aren't happy there is a 60 day money back guarantee.

Jean Claude Castor's picture

@casey colom pretty darn sure he is an ambassador for Luminar ;) like Daniel Kordan.

Woah this is pretty interesting for the photographers actually, lemme try this out and let <a href="https://titaniumtv.org/titanium-tv-apk/">you</a> know the result.

Cheers!