Luminar, by Macphun, is a photo finishing tool for Mac computers, and I’m really impressed. It’s simple and intuitive to use. I think if you’re a new photographer that this is probably the best photo software for you. As a new photographer, it’s important to remember that software doesn’t make your pictures better, it can only put the finishing touches on them. Practicing composition and mastering all your camera’s controls and their effects will make your pictures better, and then Luminar will help you refine your pictures so they convey the feeling and mood that made you want to make the picture in the first place.

Luminar is Simple and Intuitive

Luminar has a clean interface which invites exploration and experimentation. Not only does it have the classic adjustment tools like all photo editors, it also has filters for particular effects and the filters all have sliders so you can see what happens as you add more of the effect. Each effect has a good description of what it does. The effects are things that can be done in Photoshop, but I personally don’t know how to do most of them, and certainly not without doing lots of selections and masking and adjustment layers. It reminds me of Nik’s Color Efex 4, but it includes more powerful tools. We can clone stamp to remove unwanted objects and build effects selectively with adjustment layers. The more I use it, the more I find that everything I need to do can be done in Luminar without Photoshop.


Frequent New Features and Updates

What’s more, Macphun are aggressively updating and improving it. Luminar launched in the middle of November, but just one month later they launched the Pluto update with more filters and functionality like Batch Processing. I used the brand new Golden Hour filter to get started with this panorama of Delicate Arch.Then it was so simple to use so I kept going, adding filters and brushing in adjustments. This is a great tool for beginners, but I’m excited to keep using it as part of my professional workflow, too.


Whether you just got a new camera or you’ve been shooting for decades, I think Luminar belongs in your workflow because it makes it easy to finish your photos quickly with a very short learning curve. That means you can get out shoot again sooner. As good as Luminar is, it won’t make you a better photographer. But it will allow you to spend less time finishing your pictures so you can get out and shoot more, and shooting more will make you a better photographer. If you’re a Mac user, I highly recommend Luminar. Coupled with Macphun’s Tonality, it may be worth switching if you’re a PC user.