Skylum Luminar Review

The New Luminar from Skylum Review

This is a very positive review, I’ll tell you right now. If you just trust me, then go grab the new Luminar now!

This is simply a quick review with some comments and quite a few screenshots. This will be a living review, so I will be sure to add to it over time.

For a limited time you can save 20% on select Skylum products (including Luminar) over in their store by following this link and using the coupon code STUCKINCUSTOMS during checkout. Already a Skylum user? Then you’ll save even more, just sign into your account after clicking the link!


What is Luminar?

Luminar is a great photo editing program that is simple, fun, and fast.

It comes from Skylum (formally Macphun), a company I teamed up with to make our own HDR Software called Aurora HDR, so you know it’s gonna be good. These guys have been making award-winning software for years.

Luminar is an extremely powerful and fast photo editor that can do not only the most basic adjustments, but literally millions of “looks” for your photo. It’s extremely easy and fun to use and designed for all skill levels.

What are the top 3 features of Skylum Luminar?

1) The AI Slider! One simple slider that can have a tremendous effect on your photo.
2) Speed! It’s so much faster than Lightroom for editing photos. My Lightroom has been chugging lately, and Luminar is so fast.
3) Customizable Panels. If you only do Landscape and not Portrait, you don’t need to have all the Portrait panels over there to confuse the situation.

Mac Only? Nope! Luminar 2018 runs on both Mac and Windows!!!

Check out the Luminar website to grab it.

Better than Lightroom?

That’s the big question you’re wondering, right? Well, YES, it is better in many ways. Remember, this currently is only a way to edit your photos — not to organize them. As of the time of writing this, I’m still using Lightroom to organize my photos. Lightroom is so slow it makes my skin crawl with pain as I howl into the night, a thousand dark shadows chasing my anguish into the abyss.

You’ll find the controls in Luminar are much more powerful than the ones in Lightroom. I’d also wager to say that Luminar has at least 5 times as many control options as Lightroom.

A Tour Via Screenshots!

See that slider up in the top right – “Accent – AI Filter”? That’s where all the action is at! The first time you load up a photo, you will not see this slider. You have to first select the Quick and Awesome Workspace just above it. This one slider is so handy; in most cases, it’s all you’ll need!

When you select the Workspace dropdown, you see these many selections. Based upon your selection, Luminar will load a series of panels in that are appropriate for the type of photo you’re working on.

Here, I’ve chosen the Landscape workspace, and you can see all the panels that opened up underneath it. Well, you can see about half of the panels. Notice you also get the Accent – AI Filter in this workspace as well.

I chose the “Portrait” Workspace for this strange photo of Olya, my videographer. We shot this in Budapest when we were making some new tutorial videos. Don’t ask me why I was in a Turkish bath with a bunch of men while she was videoing me; that’s another story. Anyway, as you can see there are different panels over on the right now from the Landscape panels. There is some overlap, of course, but Portraits typically use different sorts of controls.

If you don’t know what Workspace you want, just pick the Essentials. As you can see here, it has everything that is, well, essential. At the bottom of all the panels is also an option for you to add you own filters as well. And yes, you can even build your own workspaces!

One of my favorite Filters is the “Structure” Filter which you can see if you scroll down in the Essentials. It helps give photos a bit of that HDR Look.

Here’s a little tip if you’re working on a photo that may not have that much color to begin with. The Accent – AI Filter may not be strong enough to give you all that oomph you want, so don’t be afraid to find some other filters and move them around until you get the effect you want. Be like a kid and have fun with the sliders!

Miscellaneous Screenshots and items of note

All of the screenshots below were made with the previous version of Luminar. All of these functions still exist in the new Luminar, so I decided to leave a few of these items from the previous review!

Here’s a great example of some of the power you can’t get in Lightroom alone. You can see I’ve chosen the “Orton Effect” filter. It’s extremely fast and this is a “look” you just can’t get in Lightroom because it involves a blending of layers (all of which is automatic in Luminar).


Yes, Luminar has layers, but you can see how much you can do with a single layer. Here, I’ve made use of a really cool filter called “Foliage Enhancer.”


Naturally, there are many vintage-feels to the filters as well. There are a ton of presets if you’re feeling lazy or just in a hurry!


I was also impressed how it is quite easy to get an “HDR Look” by using some of the filters.

For a limited time you can save 20% on select Skylum products (including Luminar) over in their store by following this link or using the coupon code STUCKINCUSTOMS during checkout.


  • marnixava

    I’m relatively new to MacPhun products and still learning how to use the Aurora that I bought last year. I don’t quite see why one would buy Luminar if one already has Aurora. I do see a few new controls, but mostly it looks like there would be a lot of duplication. It seems to me that Luminar and Aurora ought to be combined in one product, perhaps where some features would be added at additional cost.

  • Stu – SIC

    I think you’d be surprised just how much of a difference there is in the processing options available. Try out the free trial of Luminar 2018 when it launches on the 16th of November. 🙂

  • avinash sonawane

    The promotional code STUCKINCUSTOMS doesnt work and it gives an message saying ‘The Promotional code you entered doesnt exist.

  • Stu – SIC

    Hey Avinash, I believe Macphun/Skylum have disabled all coupons while their pre-order for Luminar 2018 is running (the product already has a discount applied during the pre-order). This link will take you to the pre-order with reduced price/extra bundled items but it only has about 24hrs remaining before the promo is over:

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