Luminar AI Review

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Photo editor: Luminar AI
Replaced by: Luminar Neo
Upgrade: Available
Luminar Neo price: From $7.95/mo

This is a thorough, unbiased review of the world’s first AI-powered image editor, Luminar AI.

In this review, you’ll find:

  • What you can do with Luminar AI
  • What was new in the latest updates
  • Luminar AI key features
  • Benefits and drawbacks
  • Who should use Luminar AI software

The artificial intelligence tools this software utilizes save a lot of time for image editors or content creators.

Plus, it does a pretty good job while also keeping the image editing process a lot of fun.

However, Luminar AI was replaced by the latest photo editor, Luminar Neo.

Note: Luminar AI was replaced by Luminar Neo, which is a much more powerful and creative photo editor that includes AI-based features.

Try Luminar Neo >>

Luminar AI Overview: What Is It?

luminar ai review thumbnail

Luminar AI is an advanced and powerful image editor based on artificial intelligence that allows creators to save time and achieve desired results. It is created to help you make complex edits and achieve professional results in the minimum amount of time.

You can use Luminar AI as a standalone image editor or as a plugin with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. So, if you are already using these Adobe products, Luminar AI can add great convenience to your workflows.

Moreover, you can use Luminar AI even if you are a complete beginner or a seasoned editor. But, advanced users might find using it as a plugin to other software more practical and compelling.

Despite its powerful features, anyone with zero experience can get started with it. Besides, you can always get the free trial and try it for yourself.

What’s New In Luminar AI Update 3?

  • More rapid software launch.
  • An improved Augmented Sky AI tool which makes it easier now to select sky objects.
  • Even better reflections with Sky AI.
  • A new additional “Softness” option in the Dodge & Burn tool for a better and smoother skin retouching experience.
  • Improved performance and a few more technical updates for a more convenient user experience.

Quick Reminder What Was New In Earlier Update 2:

  • Water Reflections to reflect skies in all kinds of water surfaces.
  • Relight Human tool for a perfect light on a person’s face when you replace a sky in your image.
  • More control for realistic skies – improved Grain, Defocus, and Atmospheric Haze tools for more genuine and eye-catching results.
  • Load your own transparent PNG files and use them for unique textures in your photos.
  • Support for several new camera formats.

What You Can Do With Luminar AI?

Skylum Luminar AI isn’t another photo editor that needs hours of work to deliver the results you want.

While a professional editor might take hours to retouch a product picture or change the sky in a landscape, Luminar AI won’t take more than a second.

In addition to the artificial intelligence tools, Luminar AI also allows you to adjust the exposure, temperature, and contrast.

Using the artificial intelligence tools of the Luminar AI, you can:

  • Add atmospheric effects such as fog, haze, mist, and drizzle;
  • Change the body type: make it thinner or fatter by adding or removing weight;
  • Produce the Bokeh effect;
  • Change the color of a person’s iris using the Iris AI;
  • Replace a sky and its reflection;
  • Boost the colors of your subjects using the Accent AI feature;
  • Add different elements such as clouds, birds, mountains, and rockets to the sky using the Augmented Sky AI tool of the software;
  • Balance the vibrance and saturation of a picture;
  • Remove dark circles, enhance lips, slim the face, and whiten the teeth;
  • Produce a sunset effect in your photos with the Golden Hour feature;
  • Adjust the mood of a picture using look-up tables and color palettes;
  • Remove blemishes from the skin while preserving its texture and pores. However, the AI may not be effective at telling acne from a mole. You’d have to work with them yourself;
  • Add sun to the image and control its position, glow, and warmth;
  • Adjust contrast in your images using the supercontrast feature;
  • Add texture overlays like watermarks, emoticons, texts, and more.

So, there is a lot that you can do with the Luminar AI.

Let’s now dig into the Luminar AI review and the features it offers.

Top Luminar AI Features Reviewed

Simple Workspaces

Luminar AI offers an easy-to-manage interface with fast workspaces that anyone can learn to use in no time.

Luminar AI comprises 4 workspaces:

luminar ai four workspaces

Catalog: It presents all the photos, which you can manage in folders and albums

Templates: There you will find fully customized presets that you can use to apply personalized effects to your pictures

Edit: This allows you to use the AI-powered image editing tools offered by Luminar AI. It’s subdivided into 4 tool panels:

  1. Essentials
  2. Creative
  3. Portrait
  4. Professional

Export: As the name suggests, “Export” allows the user to save their pictures to Mail, Disk, Messages, 500px, and SmugMug.

Moreover, you can add your images to the Luminar AI workspace by tapping the “+” sign at the top or by dragging and dropping them on the dashboard.

how to import photos to luminar ai

If you tap on the “+” sign, you’ll see the following option. The software allows you to add individual images of whole folders.

luminar ai picture importing example

Overall, the software is so convenient to use that even a complete novice can easily get the hang of it within half an hour.

Luminar AI Templates

luminar ai templatesTemplates are like presets, but highly advanced and smart.

While presets generally apply the same settings to all the images, Luminar AI’s smart templates make thousands of small edits to each photo.

For instance, a single template may produce different results on two different images.

So, it’ll make changes automatically based on your image.

Moreover, there are quite a few options to choose from.

On the right panel, you’d see a “For this Photo” panel where the software will suggest you a list of templates suitable for your image.

When you click on a template, you’d see a list of sub-templates. You can then apply them and see which one works out best for your image.

The results?

before and after luminar ai template

And this is just after applying the template. I didn’t make any additional adjustments.

The fact that you just have to click on a template to apply it to your photo makes the software impressively easy to use.

Templates make Luminar AI ideal for people that just want an easy and quick way to create eye-catching results.

Luminar AI as a Plugin for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

skylum luminar as a plugin

If you are using Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop already, shifting completely to Luminar AI won’t be the best idea. Unless, of course, you want to reduce your expenses.

Otherwise, using Luminar AI as a plugin would be the best choice as it would make your workflows easier and more effective.

Luminar AI isn’t the ideal standalone product, but it’s best utilized when paired up with software that offers what it does not.

That said, the artificial intelligence features of Luminar AI make it worthwhile even for people that don’t want to use it as a plugin.

Powerful and Efficient AI Tools

luminar ai tools

The AI tools Luminar AI offers do not only save time but are quite powerful as well. For instance, you can achieve virtually the same results in a fraction of the time it would take to achieve in Photoshop.

Plus, if you have applied an effect and don’t like it, you can always go back to an earlier edit in the history panel.

Manual Masking Tools

The manual masking tools are ideal for professionals that want to have better control over their edits.

Let’s say you have a group photo of your friends with different color tones. You have applied the face light tool to all of them, but one of them isn’t blending in perfectly. You can remove the filter from their face.

And, if you want to remove wrinkles from the faces of individual members in a group photo, you can do that as well.

Just erase the effect from the faces of the individuals that don’t require a smoothing effect.

Simple Batch Editing

Impressively, you can apply AI edits of one image to another. For instance, you can copy the Face AI edits from one group photo and apply them to another group photo.

This can be a gamechanger for pro photographers as it would save a lot of time and effort while delivering great results.

However, you cannot apply the edits to multiple images at a time.

Pros and Cons


  • You can use Luminar AI as a plugin with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom
  • The interface is user-friendly and easy to learn unlike other heavy-weight picture editing software like Photoshop
  • Ideal for small business owners and content creators who don’t have time to edit their photos in detail
  • Great bang for the buck (one-time payment)
  • Lots of templates (ideal for beginners)
  • Faster than the Luminar 4
  • Regular updates
  • Produce great AI-based results
  • Saves a lot of time


  • Doesn’t provide that much control over your photos as AI does most of the work
  • You can’t migrate your photo catalog from Luminar 4 to Luminar AI

Who Should Use Luminar AI?

  • Beginners who don’t have time to learn advanced editing;
  • Professional editors who want to save time on advanced retouching tasks;
  • Wedding photographers who need quick photo editing in batches;
  • Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop users who want to improve their results and save time;
  • Small business owners who can’t invest their time and energy into photo editing;
  • Content creators / social media influencers who want to impress their followers with quality pictures and upload great graphics quickly.

What Sets Luminar AI Apart Its Competitors?

There are many Luminar AI competitors used for photo editing. Some of them are:

  • Photoshop
  • Lightroom
  • Capture One
  • Exposure X6
  • Topaz Studio

And much more…

What makes Luminar AI unique is its’ simple tools and fast results.

For instance, Adobe Photoshop requires a lot of time and skill to achieve creative and high-end results. Luminar AI may have fewer editing possibilities, but it is perfect for photographers who want to save their valuable time.

If, for example, you are editing wedding photos (which, of course, you have A LOT) and you have a few that need just a slight face retouching. In that case, Luminar AI would be the best option and quickest option that requires the least involvement.

At the same time, Luminar AI has a simple workspace that is easy to understand even for beginners.

If we took Luminar 4 in comparison, Luminar AI is more efficient and lightweight. Therefore, you’d observe a substantial improvement in speed.

However, you may see a slight pause when shifting from one photo to another.

Another good thing about Luminar AI is its pricing. It has a one-time payment of $79 for one computer license (and $99 for two computer license). It is really cheap compared to some other software such as Capture One, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop which involves monthly pricing.

Luminar AI Review: Verdict

So here’s what I personally think:

If you are a beginner photographer – it’s a great tool to quickly start creating high-quality photos. If you are a professional already – it’s a great tool to save LOTS of your time.

Do I recommend this photo editing software?


The Skylum Luminar AI program is a powerful, fully AI-powered image editor that comes at a low price point.

The AI capabilities of this revolutionary AI image editor enable photographers to save a lot of time and still achieve great results.

You can also use it as a plugin with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to achieve more in less time. And, with so many features, you will be able to have great control over your edits.

Not only that, but it’s so easy to use that anyone with zero knowledge of image editing can start using it effectively within half an hour.

More articles about Luminar software

What is Luminar 4?

How much does Luminar 4 cost?

What is Aurora HDR?

How to get Aurora HDR free trial?