A Year in Review With Luminar Neo

A Year in Review With Luminar Neo

With 2023 well underway, it's time to look back at what has been a busy year for Luminar Neo, the AI photo-editing software from Skylum. Since its launch back in 2021, Luminar Neo has seen many updates, performance improvements, and major feature enhancements, including new AI-powered tools, and has established itself as a powerful editing tool for both amateur and professional photographers alike.

Despite being relatively new software, Skylum has gathered its experience from previous software in its line, including Luminar AI, and has refined the experience and editing features to create a new standalone product in Luminar Neo.


As with any new software launch, there are, without a doubt, going to be bugs and hiccups along the way, considering the different platforms and computer configurations. Some users encountered performance and stability issues initially, which Skylum responded to quickly, resulting in a more stable and easier-to-use program. Masking ability was improved, allowing for easier user experience, plus a whole host of other refinements addressed to facilitate both Mac and PC users.


As the software matures, Skylum has been hard at work with updates over the past year, including preset improvements, multi-language updates, the configuration of your favorite tools so that you can access your most used ones, portrait background removal, duplicating layers, dodge and burn tool, clone tool, and support for new cameras, to name but a few. With 29 updates, improvements, and bug fixes in the past year alone, you can see that Skylum is putting its all into this software so that it can constantly evolve and improve even further so it can provide the user with a great editing experience.


Seven new extensions were also added to further improve your editing capabilities.

HDR Merge: Allows you to merge up to 10 bracketed images to provide the best possible dynamic range for your image.

Noiseless AI: Reduces noise within any image, raw or JPEG, and keeps the details intact.

Background Removal: Automatically remove the background by selecting the main subject and up to nine other elements.

Upscale AI: Upscales and enhances your photo up to 6X.

Focus Stacking: Allows up to 100-photo stacks, helping to define detailed images captured at different focal distances.

Supersharp AI: Helps to refine blur on objects outlines created by slower shutter speeds or camera shake.

Magic Light: Allows you to add more visual emphasis to lights in scenes.

Full-fledged Editor

Over the past year, Neo has become a fully fledged photo editor, from the basic edits, like exposure and color correction, to full AI editing panels that quickly and easily adjust your images, providing even the newest editors with an easy workflow that provides great end results. It can be used as a standalone raw editor with no need for any other software or can be used as a complementary plugin for the likes of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for those of us that have an established workflow.


Over the years, the Skylum team has received numerous awards for their dedication and innovation of their products. In 2021, they won both the Red Dot award for user interface and the TIPA award for Best Imaging Software Enthusiast. A testament to the team for the quality of the software and their hard work. It's worth noting that Skylum's core development team is based in Ukraine, and despite the challenges, they have worked tirelessly to improve Luminar Neo and to provide the best possible experience for their users.

Future Platform Developments

Skylum is constantly striving to enhance the user experience and is dedicated to evolving the software and creating a seamless editing experience that enables photographers to bring their creative ideas to life. This ongoing development means that we can expect to see even more new features and capabilities in the future.

Special Offer

To celebrate the year, Skylum is offering a special promotion for Neo. For a limited time, you can buy one copy of Luminar Neo and get another one for free, allowing you to share it with a friend or colleague. They are also offering a special discount on extensions, marketplace items, and X Membership. 

You can check out the anniversary offer here.

Gary McIntyre's picture

Gary McIntyre is a landscape photographer and digital artist based on the west coast of Scotland. As well as running photography workshops in the Glencoe region, providing online editing workshops, Gary also teaches photography and image editing at Ayrshire college.

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I ordered Luminbar NEO in November 2021 and it was delivered in mid-February 2022. Advertised as the best Sykylum product, it unfortunately turned out to be a completely unusable product ... unless you buy the extremely expensive additional functions in the additional packages. If Skylum had come clean right away, I would never have bought it.
These additional packages should have been included with the first delivery or at least as free function updates. To try to take the money out of the customer's pocket after the initial order is more than just taking the customer's money for a ride. For me, Skylum is a highly dubious company that I unfortunately fell for, believing in an excellent product. Never again.

i feel the exact same! I feel tricked by skylum. They marketed it as the best and most complete software for photo editing and then AFTER the release and without EVER having mentioning it before, they start to release add ons.

How would you feel if you pay for an app that doesn't have in-app purchases and that say they have all the features you want, and then after paying and downloading you find out that new features that actually didn't exist from the beginning as they should, will now be releases as add-ons?!

Skylum, I'll tell you what - never again.

"and then AFTER the release and without EVER having mentioning it before, they start to release add ons."

I don't get why you feel tricked. It's obviously not possible to release ad-ons BEFORE it's released - that would be a feature not an add-on.

There were trial downloads of the product to check if it works for you before purchase - pretty much the opposite of a trick.

The gripe seems to that they want to charge for new features rather than send them out for free. But that is not how selling software works. For instance DxO added a new noise add-on to their excellent PhotLab product, but you must upgrade from PL5 to PL6 if you what it.

If you want a longer garden hose you must pay for it. You can't just wait for the upgrade.

Skylum has great marketing that just doesn't match the product. I've found Neo to be slow and underwhelming at best. It's was ok when you could buy it outright for a relatively competitive price but now that it's a pricey subscription, forget it

I would also agree. I have lost track with the naming and versions of their ''new'' software, to the point that I dont want to be bothered anymore. Want a serious company ? Try Topaz labs as they deliver what they promise.

I concur. They have had a long history of not being responsive to their consumers as well. As shown by their BBB rating. Never seen a legit company with such a low rating. How much confidence can someone place in them? https://www.bbb.org/us/wa/bellevue/profile/computer-software/skylum-soft...

I understand that the move to using extension was controversial. But even without the extensions the product is still very good value. And available as a lifetime subscription, which is important to many.
I would agree their marketing/pricing is at best confusing though.
That said I love the software and the fact that it just keeps getting better. They are growing, fast so we get the benefits of a great development paths, but the downside of messey marketing.
I have pre-ordered product from Skylum all the time and always been pleased with what I got.
All the more impressive considering their home country was recently attacked by the Russians.