How I use Luminar in my workflow for almost all of my work

Love and hate

I have been a big fan of Skylum Luminar since 3.0. At that time I was considering the software to switch to from Lightroom. I wasn’t suspecting to fall in love with the creative editing capabilities at that moment.
Luminar 3.0 use as a catalog program disappointed me very much. The software was terribly slow and crashed often because of the large library I tried to use it with. It was clearly no match for Lightroom so after trying it for a couple of days I regretted my decision to buy the software and moved on.

It was months later when I was stuck with a work I was creating and I was searching for a creative spark by trying a bunch of Photoshop plug-ins. I do this sometimes because seeing your work in a whole different way sometimes sparks your creativity.
I opened the work I was stuck on in the Luminar plugin in photoshop and started to play with sliders and quickly found a solution for the work I was stuck with by using the sunrays filter. Since that moment I started to use Luminar more often.


My workflow is pretty similar for most works I create. I start by doing the Raw editing of individual parts followed by composting. Next I do special effects, colourwork and sharpening before I export the final result. For these last two steps I came to fall in love with Luminar the most. Adding a bit of mist, sunrays or glow as special effects and doing creative toning and contrast became the two last steps in my process and were all done in Luminar.

When Luminar Neo was announced I immediately pre-ordered a copy since the software was now a vital part of my workflow. And I was not disappointed when I started to use Luminar neo myself. It took a little bit of getting used to the new user interface. Making adjustments means you add the adjustment on a stack of all your adjustments and when you want to change such an adjustment you have to go to the edit tab to find all these adjustments. It’s a change that takes some getting used to but also add’s more power because you can stack multiple filters multiple times.

The supercontrast filter is really amazing and will be something I will start to use on pretty much all my works. The glow filter I was using a lot in Luminar 3.0 had had a big upgrade and is even more powerful in Luminar neo. I use the glow filter in my work to soften the high contrasts I use. This creates a look or style I really like.
The mood filter has become better also and is a quick creative way of brainstorming colour-wise.

Lately I have been experimenting using Luminar Neo for the RAW development also, but after so many years of Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw I don’t know if I will make that switch soon.

Is it perfect?

The only problem I have with Luminar Neo at the moment is using the plugin as a smart filter doesn’t seem to work as it should. Because I like to work non-destructive I tend to use smart objects and smart filters which makes it really easy to change parameters later on in the edit. Opening Luminar Neo as smart filter does work, but reopening the smart filter just resets all the adjustments so you have to start over with all the edits you made in Luminar Neo. Hopefully this is just a bug that the programmers will fix in the future. This might take some time because Skylum, the company that develops Luminar is Ukrainian based so software development is probably not very high on their to-do lists at the moment of writing this blogpost. All the more reason to support this amazing software!

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