I have been testing the new Luminar for Windows software beta for the past month. Luminar was first introduced by Macphun as an Apple Mac software, and is promoted as a tool that takes the “work” from photo editing “workflow” and makes image editing fun and easy. That is an accurate description. In the age of Instagram we have seen the rise of push-button visual effects photo editors. Luminar for Windows follows that trend. Select a filter, move a slider or two. Done. That is Luminar’s strongest appeal. But is it for everybody?
If you are a photographer who has traditionally used Adobe Lightroom, DXO Optics Pro or Capture One for raw photo editing you probably do so to extract the best quality from your images. You want granular control. You are not looking for instant ‘effects.’ Likely, you may not find Luminar to be the best tool for your needs. The editing controls you need are given a secondary role in Luminar, this software is all about instant effects. You will be better served by sticking to Adobe Lightroom and other professional photo editing products. Most likely, you will add Luminar to your present photo-editing toolkit, not replace it.
Luminar best serves the generation that uses smartphones as their camera of choice and has grown up in the Social Media age. For many of them, Instagram filters, not Photoshop or Lightroom is the photo-editing tool of choice. Luminar is fundamentally Instagram filters on steroids. It extends the range of instant effects to all of your images including raw files and adds a bonus set of fundamental image editing tools. And I must say, it is very very good at what it does. Here are three images that show what Luminar can do. The first is the original image I edited in Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom. The second and third images were edited by simply selecting and applying a filter in Luminar. The results are impressive.
Luminar knows who its market is and gives it what it wants. If you are a serious photography hobbyist with some experience, it’s safe to say that you are not the prime market for this product. However, if your first photo editing experience was in Instagram, then it is quite likely that you will fall in love with Luminar.