Lightroom Versus Luminar: Retouching the Same Raw Files

Over the past few years Luminar has taken huge strides in the post production space of photography. One photographer has decided to see how they fare side by side.

It took me a little too long to get around to trying Luminar. Once I finally did, I was thoroughly impressed. For me, it offers a different approach to editing raw files to Lightroom, and though many photographers (including this very video) pit them against one another, I have created space for both and they coexist in my workflow. 

With Lightroom, I use it clinically and edit images for commercial clients that do not warrant particularly creative changes in the post production process. Whereas editorials or images where I want to get creative with colors and my overall edit, I find myself drawn towards Luminar. However, I come from a photographic direction that doesn't have much landscape work. Landscape photographers are seemingly more torn on the topic, and so Serge Ramelli has decided to edit raw files on both software suites at the same time to compare the experience and the results.

Do you use Lightroom over Luminar, or vice versa? Do you use both? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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13 Comments

Rhonald Rose's picture

I find going to Capture One Pro first, make necessary fine adjustments and then export to Luminar to do certain tweaks.

Luminar is good, but it's not good to replace LR or C1P yet.

Andy Hutchinson's picture

God he's the worst of the slider-wagglers, isn't he. Just a clueless experimenter with no actual knowledge of what the various sliders actually do. If you watch at the 5:20 mark he talks about the Luminance slider in the HSL section and describes what it's doing, but he's actually in Saturation. Literally every single video he does is, "Open the shadows, drop the highlights, stick a massive yellow radial blob off to the left of the screen, dick around aimlessly with the black and white points." There are far more knowledgeable people than him whose videos you could share here.

Thomas Andlauer's picture

Could not have said it better :-D

Void Source's picture

Hello and thanks for your comment. I do notice he does tend to experiment what sliders to use when editing. I do think the luminance part of the video could be a simple error, after all we are all prone to doing mistakes.

But I would like to hear about editors or photographers that have more experience and use LR with less of "guessing" around and are more direct in their approach. If you can name a few, I would like to follow.

I am am editor and I have taken the time to know what the sliders do and so now my editing is based on what I see needs fixing and go towards that directly. But am always open to learning from others who also edit.

Mark Smith's picture

Yes .. and what does this "comparison" add up to anyway? Completely inconclusive.

Edward Anderson's picture

Nice video - but if you had used the layer function on Luminar you would have been able to create a new layer with other color tones - this would have been helpful for the 2 circles for example with the mountains, and for some of your other edits, with the lavender fields. - Thanks for the video!

Dave Morris's picture

Looks like a paid article to me. With all the respect to the Luminar team, their software is no near to being in the same league as Lightroom or Capture One on the color management, performance and the output quality.

Wesley Kristopher's picture

Sick to death of those bloody birds doing the rounds! Luminar is very hit and miss with the AI stuff but used subtly it can give some extra punch to pictures processed elsewhere.

D L's picture

Talking about Luminar is like talking about a beautiful car, with a big engine, with a wonderful design, but without wheels.
It is impossible to use in real life, because it is an exceptionally slow software, so slow that it is unusable.
I admire the Luminar team, how they manage to survive with this software that is impossible to use due to the huge time it takes at the end, when you turn a raw into jpg
Too bad, because the idea is great and theoretically you can make interesting edits with Luminar

David Pavlich's picture

Pretty much! I use it as a plugin for LR to make special edits that aren't easy in LR, but Luminar isn't near good enough for me to consider it as my primary processing software.

Dave Morris's picture

Same impression. It feels like a nice-looking yet fundamentally flawed software. The only possible purpose of all those articles about Luminar is tricking an investor into thinking they're buying a lightroom-killer.

Aditya Agarwal's picture

Easy Sky replacement at times and that’s it. Can’t use it for work or personal edits in any other way. With due respect I feel Skylum is just about pump and dump. They dumped development on Aurora and stopped adding new cameras.

Steve Powell's picture

I like LR, but don't like the Adobe bs. Started using Capture One. I do like Luminar, and might try it.