Luminar Neo Review (2024): Price, Examples & More

luminar neo review featured image

Luminar Neo is becoming a widely recognized photo editor among photographers and making its way to becoming a top-tier photo editing platform.

In this review, we’ve dug deep into the photo editor and covered these main topics:

  • What is Luminar Neo
  • Edited photo examples
  • Key features
  • Comparison: Luminar AI vs Luminar Neo
  • Is it worth it or not

Let’s get right into it.

Overview

luminar neo logo

Photo Editor:Luminar Neo
Release Date:February 2022
Lifetime Price:$269
Subscription Price:From $6.63/month to 14.95/month
Free Trial:7 Days Free Trial
Technical Support:24/7
AI Features & Tools:Included
Money Back:30-day money back guarantee

Luminar Neo is an artificial intelligence-based creative image editing software that simplifies image processing.

You can use it on Mac and Windows. It has many tools and layers that allow you to create detailed images. Moreover, the high-speed core engine of the software speeds up complex and heavy editing tasks.

Pros

  • Powerful and creative AI tools
  • Easy to use, extremely fast results
  • A number of built-in presets and layers
  • You can upload your own pictures as layers
  • Useful extensions with different functionalities

Cons

  • Slow loading for AI tools (might need a more powerful computer)
  • No Mobile App for editing

Luminar Neo Editing Process Reviewed

I’ve been using the full version of Luminar Neo for a while now. Here are the main points to help you understand what this tool is all about and how you can benefit from it.

The Fast Single-Click Edits Make the Process Pleasant

As a photography enthusiast, I’m always looking for tools that can make my editing process easier and more efficient. I have to say that I’m impressed with its single-click, AI powered edits.

example of luminar neo single click edits

With just one click you are able to see an instant improvement in overall look and feel.

The best thing is that they they’re not just simple, one-dimensional filters. Usually, they’re complex edits that take into account different aspects of the photo, such as its color balance, exposure, and sharpness. And the best part is that I can always tweak the settings if I want to fine-tune the result.

There is Slow Loading for Some AI tools

I experienced slow loading for some of the AI tools I’ve been using. It may be my slow computer, but I don’t experience this issue on, for example, Adobe Lightroom. In Luminar Neo, AI tools can take a while to load, especially if I’m working with a high-resolution image.

Now, this is not a dealbreaker for me, as I understand that AI-powered tools require a lot of processing power. However, I do think that Luminar Neo could benefit from some optimization to make these tools load faster.

Simplicity is What Makes Luminar Neo Stand Out

There is no denying that almost everyone who lays their hands on Luminar Neo for the first time has used other photo editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom before.

If you want to know the main differences how Luminar Neo compares to Lightroom and Photoshop, you can read our comparison articles:

When you start using Neo, you can instantly feel that it has something different. I believe it’s the simplicity and ease of use. Most of the results are generated in seconds, no need to use tons of brushes and masks.

While that is a unique feature, it sometimes can prevent full-time photographers from achieving high-end results. That’s why professionals should get a free trial before purchasing the photo editor and see if the software can keep up with their photo editing level.

Luminar Neo Features & Photo Examples

As a person who’s been using this creative photo editor, I can say it was really uncomplicated to start using it since the tools are quite simple and easy to learn. 

The AI features are really powerful, and I always manage to transform my pictures with a few clicks.

Here are a few examples to showcase some features Luminar Neo has:

1. Layers

before after layers on luminar neo

I’ve used the Sparkler layer that was included in the asset list. It immediately added a warm sunflare effect to the picture.

The good news is that you can add your own images and use them as layers.

2. Portrait AI Adjustments

before after portrait ai adjustments

The overall look of this portrait after the edits is immediately noticeable. 

All edits were made using Face and Skin AI tools.

You can see that the skin became brighter, more soft & smoother. And the 

I also added the Eyes AI effect, adding a clear brown color and glow.

3. Bokeh AI

This AI feature is very helpful for those who don’t have a portrait lens for the bokeh effect.

You just have to select the subject with a single click and choose the amount of bokeh you want to add.

before after bokeh ai luminar neo

Voila!

4. Noiseless AI Extension

before after luminar neo noiseless ai

The new Noiseless AI extension for Luminar Neo does a thrilling job of removing noise and restoring detail in dark images.

It might lag when loading if you edit large images and have a slow computer.

Other features

Image Relighting with AI

Luminar AI uses artificial intelligence to brighten up your dark images naturally.

For instance, you can make an evening image glow with the natural brightness of the day.

Remove Dust and Spots from Images

luminar ai remove dust

It’s normal to catch dirt, dust, and spots on your images, no matter how good of a camera you use.

Fortunately, you can do something about that in Luminar Neo. Using artificial intelligence, the software removes any unwanted spots on your images.

Remove Power Lines

luminar neo remove powerlines

This is a creative feature; you can remove any unwanted lines from your images with great detail using a brush.

For instance, it removes any unwanted power lines in your images.

Presets

Just like in Lightroom, you can use presets in Luminar Neo. You have the option to use the default presets included in the photo editor itself:

default luminar neo presets

Or you can create your own.

name your preset

Meaning you can save tons of time when editing large amounts of photos. What’s even more exciting is that we introduced Luminar Neo presets that you can download for free.

Editing History

The editing history feature is pretty useful in an image editor.

luminar neo editing history example

It lets you work with peace of mind and revert to a previous version of your photo at any time.

Manage Your Images with the Mobile App

Using the new phone app by Skylum, you can upload your phone snaps to your Luminar catalogue. After you’re done with the editing, transfer them back to your phone.

You can use the app on Android as well as Apple devices, however, as of yet, we can’t say anything else about it.

Precise Control

The company has worked with artists and photographers to come up with an image editor that lets its users control every aspect of an image.

The tool allows creative minds to make detailed tweaks to their images and come up with something new and exciting.

Powerful Performer

The new editing engine of the Luminar Neo makes it possible for you to apply multiple tools to a single image smoothly.

Moreover, you’d also be able to edit multiple raw images at a time in Luminar Neo without any significant performance loss.

How Much Does Luminar Neo Cost?

Luminar Neo lifetime access costs $269. You can try subscriptions starting from $6.63/month to $14.95/month.

With all plans, you will also get access to the Extensions pack. If you own an older lifetime version of Luminar Neo, you can buy each extension for $49 separately or get the whole pack containing all extensions for $299.

I personally recommend going for lifetime access if you are considering Luminar Neo as a long-term investment.

Below you’ll find the main differences between each plan.

Subscription vs Lifetime Pricing Comparison

LifetimeMonthly12 months24 months
$269 one-time fee$14.95/mo$109/year$159/every 2 years
Luminar Neo creative editorLuminar Neo creative editorLuminar Neo creative editorLuminar Neo creative editor
Extensions includedExtensions includedExtensions includedExtensions included
Access to small & technical updatesAccess to all future upgradesAccess to all future upgradesAccess to all future upgrades

With the subscription plans, you can choose either to pay monthly or yearly. Annual plans are much cheaper.

Basically, there are 2 questions you should ask yourself when considering which plan to choose:

  1. Do you need a lifetime license (are you planning on using the photo editor for a long period of time)?
  2. Do you need the Extensions pack?

Answering these questions should help you make the final decision. 

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI: Comparison

Here are the main differences and similarities between these editors:

Tools

Luminar AI

Luminar NEO

Layers

No

Yes

Luminosity Masking

No

Yes

AI-based masking

No

Yes

Basic Local Masking

Yes

No

Portrait Background Removal

No

Yes

AI Sensor Dust Removal

No

Yes

AI Power Lines Removal

No

Yes

AI Relight based on image depth

No

Yes

Sky Replacement AI

Yes

Yes

Enhance AI

Yes

Yes

Structure AI

Yes

Yes

Skin Enhancer AI

Yes

Yes

Composition AI

Yes

No

Atmosphere AI

Yes

Yes

Body AI

Yes

Yes

Face AI

Yes

Yes

Extensions

No

Yes

Mobile Sharing with Mobile Assistant

No

Yes

  • Layers

Layers are one of the main features that Luminar AI is lacking and Luminar Neo will contain. With Luminar Neo, creators will be able to use RAW images as layers.

Moreover, it will be possible to save layers with images and masks to a new Preset or Template for multiple uses. It also makes it possible to apply existing Presets or Templates to any layer independently from each other.

  • AI-based tools

Luminar Neo has a total of 13 AI-based tools while Luminar AI has 10. Luminar AI has just one AI-based tool – Composition AI that Luminar Neo is missing. Neo has more tools that help to unleash creativity in your photos.

Luminar Neo now also has AI-powered Extensions that can help edit photos in even more different ways than before.

  • Other Differences

Luminar AI is more for a whole “bundle” editing when you have lots of photos. While Neo has similarities to Photoshop AI features with the main focus on single image editing.

Luminar Neo is more of a one-click editing solution making it easy to use.

Compared to older versions, Luminar Neo is an improvement in terms of speed and performance.

Most editors were expecting Luminar Neo to replace its predecessor, however, it may not happen.

Luminar Neo Release Date

Luminar Neo was officially released in February 2022. You can already download and test this photo editor.

It was 6 months between the announcement of this creative image editor in September and its official release date in February.

The good news is that Luminar Neo is going to have some major updates in the future. These will help to improve overall performance and some new features are going be added. Some of these features are going to be:

  • AI Background Removal
  • Upscale AI
  • Other Luminar Neo extensions

And there should be even more.

By the end of the next section, you’d know most of its features available at the moment.

Updates

I like that Luminar Neo is constantly updated. In fact, there are updates almost every month.

With each update, the photo editor becomes more useful and contains improved functionality.

Is Luminar Neo worth it?

If you have used Skylum’s products in the past, you’d know that their software saves you lots of time when editing photos.

So, Luminar Neo is a great tool no matter if you are a beginner or a professional (recommended even by Peter McKinnon) photographer.

As a person who has 100% tested this photo editor, I’d say that it is worth it. Here are my main reasons:

  • The software is very easy to use
  • Saves tons of time which is important for busy photographers
  • Reasonable price
  • More updates are coming, so we are going to see more features and more value added to the editor

And even if it turns out to be unworthy, you can get your money back within 30 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s not only for photographers of designers but also for people who like creative edits. It’s also useful for beginner photographers – you won’t have to spend a fortune learning how to use the software. It’s designed for all folks who want to create visuals. I say it’s a nice replacement for Adobe Photoshop since it’s easy to use and have powerful AI tools to handle all the difficulties for you.

Luminar Neo costs $149 for a lifetime license and it also has 2 subscription options available. Explore plan for $8.25/mo or $9.95/yr and Pro plan for $9.92/mo or $14.95/yr. The price is cheaper for those who are upgrading from older Skylum software.

It comes with new and exciting features, allowing the user to make creative edits to their photographs.

For instance, you are able to remove backgrounds, blend images together, and more.

Whereas, Luminar AI is more geared towards users that want quick and AI-generated results.

Luminar Neo isn’t going to replace Luminar AI because the new software isn’t designed for that purpose. While both use AI to make things easier for an editor, the image editors offer unique features and capabilities.
In fact, you can use both the software to achieve more creative and professional results.

Yes, Luminar Neo has the HDR Merge extension for HDR photos.

Final Thoughts

The introduction of an entirely new AI image editing software by Skylum might be a surprise for some existing users.

After all, Luminar AI was equipped with some great features and also received a recent Portrait Bokeh AI update.

But, Luminar AI and Luminar Neo, while have some overlapping features, offer unique features as well. So, even if you already own Luminar AI, you’d love the extra creative features of Luminar Neo.

If you are a creative editor and like to save time on photo editing, be among the first ones to try this new photo editor.

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