Adjusting the lighting of outdoor portraits is necessary when the conditions aren’t perfect. Since that’s just about all times except for the perfect golden hour lighting, being able to quickly adjust things in post is an important step in the editing workflow. Here’s how to use RelightAI to relight outdoor portraits.

Luminar Neo was recently released with the new RelightAI which solves this problem for many use cases. Let’s take a look at how it works.

How to use RelightAI to relight outdoor portraits

Using Luminar Neo Relight AI is perfect for this kind of photo, where the subjects are evenly lit. After loading the image into Luminar Neo, open up the Edit tab and you will see RelightAI in the Creative section of the Tools tab. The main options are:

  • Brightness Near
  • Brightness Far
  • Depth

These are pretty self-explanatory: Near increases the brightness of the subject (close to the camera) and far increases the brightness in the background. The brightness is a uniform lightness adjustment. To finish, make changes to contrast, blacks, whites, highlights and shadows after the lighting has been corrected (Tools > Essentials > Develop).

If you expand the RelightAI Advanced Settings you will also find:

  • Dehalo
  • Warmth Near
  • Warmth Far

Dehalo removes the glow around the subject that appears when you push the relighting too far one way or the other. The default setting seems to work fine in the range of relighting changes that I’ve made so far.

Warmth near and far is a little too heavy-handed for my liking, because it only adjusts the temperature. I prefer to fine-tune my white balance with tint as well. It sometimes comes in handy for mixed lighting where the subject is in shade but the background is in sunlight.

Changing settings in RelightAI after editing

Because Luminar Neo allows you to apply the same tool more than once, you will find your edits in the logically-named Edits tab. If you want to adjust the settings without reapplying the tool, navigate to edits and expand RelightAI to adjust.

Use cases for using RelightAI to relight outdoor portraits

RelightAI works best when you have a uniformly lit subject that isn’t lit correctly: Backlighting, too dark or too bright. The software easily detects the subject and relights appropriately in these conditions.

However, it’s limited in that it adjusts lighting based on the subject being “near” or “far” in the scene. It struggles when the subject is in mixed lighting, such as in this photo of me (thanks Mum) below.

RelightAI helped to correct for the backlighting, but I had to use FaceAI as well to make an improvement to the lighting on my face. I also used some of the tools under Eyes (Tools > Portrait > FaceAI > Eyes) to boost the sharpness and contrast around my eyes, as they were slightly out of focus (sorry Mum, I know my camera is too complicated).

How to use RelightAI to relight outdoor portraits with complex lighting

Here’s another example of complex lighting. The shade over my son’s face combined with the harsh beach sunlight makes this a tricky one. I used RelightAI to adjust the near and far brightness to a closer match. FaceAI works for the shadow on his face. The eyes tools finished off the job.

Using RelightAI to relight an outdoor portrait is simple, like all the Luminar Neo tools, but powerful. It accurately detects the subject, and when paired with the other AI tools, is capable of relighting outdoor portraits in a wide range of situations. Don’t forget to set up Luminar Share when you are done editing, and your correctly lit photos will be on their way to your friends and family.