Luminar 3, also known as Luminar with libraries is the long-awaited starting point of Skylum adding digital asset management — DAM — to its standalone image processing/editing software.

Adding photos to the library

Before using the library, photos have to be added to the library. Open is the first button on the upper left of the toolbar that runs across the top of the screen. It offers three options.

  1. Import Images To > Copies photos to a folder. Use this choice to pull images off of a memory card or other drive. (Tip: Double-click the folder where the copied photos will go.)
  2. Add Folder… Add a folder of photos that are on an existing hard drive or SSD.
  3. Open Images for Quick Edit… Open a single photo for editing in Luminar. This is the way the previous versions worked before the addition of the library.
Add photos to Luminar 3's library by clicking the first button in the toolbar.
Double-click the destination folder to open the navigation dialog.

After import

Luminar will take some time to read the photos and make them appear in the gallery view. When they pop into view shows an initially fuzzy preview that quickly becomes totally sharp in a few seconds. Of course, that is, if the photo is in focus, to begin with.

Luminar honors the folder structure of the drive the photos added to the library. In fact, any changes made to the folder in Luminar, like renaming it, happens on the hard drive.

Library tab

Shortcut buttons

Click this tab to show the shortcuts for fast navigation of photos.

  1. All Photos: This shows all of the photos in Luminar’s library. There are sorting options by clicking the By… link.
  2. Favorites: If photos are flagged as “picks” a heart icon will show. Click it to show all the picks.
  3. Recently Added: See the latest photos that have been added to the Luminar library.
  4. Recently Edited: This option shows the photos that have been newly edited.
  5. Trash: Shows images that have been marked to be deleted. There are two options for this button — move the photos to the trash can or recycle bin or return them to the library in Luminar
The Luminar 3 Library Tab
The master folder “Kevin Ames Luminar 3 Library” holds all of the photos and their subfolders.


This section of the Library tab shows the folders that Luminar references and has imported data into its library. Any changes made to these folders will reflect on the hard drive where the photos live. New subfolders may be added by right-clicking and choosing New Subfolder. Click the + button to add a folder to the library.

Super feature: Synchronicity

The Luminar 3 engineering team has really set a high standard with two-way automatic synchronization of folders imported into Luminar. Add or delete photos in the folder Luminar is referencing on a hard drive will make the change in Luminar without any action on the photographer’s part. Luminar monitors each folder in its library.

Adding photos to a folder outside of Luminar

A photographer returns to the office with a day’s shoot on a hard drive. All that has to happen is for the photos to be copied to a folder already in Luminar. Luminar will see the photos as they are copied to the folder and updates the gallery automatically. No folder synchronization needed. This is an awesome feature.

Using the cloud

A photographer on a distant location can upload photos to the cloud. If Luminar has the folder on the cloud in its library, it will recognize the new additions and populate the gallery accordingly. Again, there is no need to synchronize!

Finding photo info in Luminar 3's gallery.Metadata

This is a “version 1” of what promises to be a robust DAM system. Right now, it has a ways to go. There is no image info in the gallery view. Image names, exposure, creation date, color profile and other metadata just aren’t there. This does make for a very clean look to the gallery. The Luminar team did not ignore the need of photographers to see information about their work. Most of it is available by showing the sidebar — View > Sidebar > Info or click the show sidebar icon in the toolbar and clicking the Info tab. The keyboard shortcut is I. Click on any photo in the gallery. Its data will show in the Info tab.

The bottom line

As Luminar’s prowess in image processing and editing has evolved, so will the library feature. It’s not ready for heavy-duty photo management. Yet. Right now, it’s a great step forward from having to navigate to a folder and open a photo for editing. The library gives editing access with a simple double-click. Everything that’s needed in a version 1 is there and it works. The giant leap forward is Luminar’s automatic updating of folders in its library. This one is a game changer. Get a great deal on Luminar 3 here.