March 26, 2023

Luminar vs Lightroom for Picture Modifying in 2023

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If you happen to’re available in the market for an incredible photograph editor right here in 2023, this Luminar vs Lightroom comparability ought to provide you with one thing to think about.

Luminar Neo vs Lightroom – Which is Higher in 2023?

The primary distinction between Luminar and Lightroom is that Luminar has a sooner enhancing course of than Lightroom. Luminar additionally contains a a lot easier-to-use interface than Lightroom, with one-click synthetic intelligence that helps carry out advanced edits in seconds. Luminar may also be purchased outright (a one-time buy), whereas Lightroom can solely be used as a part of a subscription to an Adobe Images Plan.

Adobe Lightroom has lengthy been the {industry} customary photograph enhancing software program, however as soon as Adobe moved to a subscription platform, many photographers started on the lookout for options.

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Now there are a selection of options to Lightroom, together with Sklyum’s award-winning Luminar Neo enhancing app.

Which you must select actually depends upon your expertise, your workflow, what stage of photograph enhancing you’re on the lookout for, and what you propose to do with the pictures.

I’ll be examing the most recent model of Luminar Neo and Adobe Lightroom Traditional.

Let’s dive deep and take an in-depth have a look at Lightroom vs Luminar and the way they carry out in varied areas.

Key Variations Between Skylum Luminar and Adobe Lightroom

1. Ease of Use

Luminar Neo’s person interface is exceptionally simple to make use of.

The distinction within the person interface is without doubt one of the most notable variations between Luminar Neo and Lightroom Traditional – at the very least for newbies.

(The cloud-based model of Lightroom (previously generally known as Lightroom CC) is definitely extra just like Luminar Neo, however doesn’t have as many options as Lightroom Traditional, so I’ll be evaluating Neo with Traditional on this article.)

Luminar is exceptionally simple to make use of and desires subsequent to no instruction to get began.

The catalog masses mechanically – no have to import or select vacation spot folders. The fundamental Presets are self-explanatory, as are the three workspaces: Catalog, Presets and Edit.

The superior instruments are additionally fairly simple to entry, with easy-to-understand names that describe the tip consequence.

Lightroom Traditional, however, has a reasonably steep studying curve. See our full assessment for more information on that.

It takes time simply to find out how the Lightroom catalog characteristic works, and also you’ll want to observe some tutorials to get your head round how the software program manages and organises your pictures.

As for the enhancing instruments themselves, it’s simple to turn out to be overwhelmed in Lightroom, with loads of intimidating buttons and sliders to play with.

I’ve been utilizing it for years and really feel like I’ve solely scratched the floor of what’s attainable with Lightroom.

With Luminar, nevertheless, it’s far more beginner-friendly – full novices to photograph enhancing can click on across the ‘For This Picture’ presets and have a great-looking photograph in seconds.

I’d go so far as to say that Luminar Neo is one of the best photograph enhancing software program for newbies.

2. File Administration


File administration in Luminar is straightforward and intuitive, permitting you to pull pictures straight in to start out enhancing.

So far as the catalog system is anxious, Skylum is fairly new at issues. They solely acquired Luminar’s library working just lately, and it’s nonetheless fairly fundamental.

You are able to do fundamental sorting like star rankings, choose/reject, and shade labels, however not far more.

It additionally permits for Albums, however the one solution to create them is to pull and drop, and that doesn’t actually work out so effectively for these of us with giant collections.

One factor Luminar Neo doesn’t but have is the flexibility to work with key phrases or IPTC metadata. That could be a main no-go for these planning on doing inventory images, including copyrights, or who prefer to seek for pictures through textual content.

This can finally get fastened in a future replace, however for now, the one solution to tag your pictures is to make use of rankings, flags and shade labels.

Lightroom, however, has a sturdy cataloging and group system. It takes a little bit of studying to get began with it, however as soon as it, it does nearly the whole lot.

Not solely are you able to set star rankings, choose/reject, create customized tags, and so forth., you can too filter your complete library primarily based on nearly any attribute out there within the EXIF and IPTC metadata.

You may even search by lens or digicam. (I’ve wanted this characteristic greater than as soon as!)

It additionally has Good Collections (that are actually helpful) and metadata import presets.

Mainly, Lightroom Traditional makes it exceptionally simple to arrange and tag your photographs any means you need.

On prime of that, most severe photographers want each key phrases and extra superior metadata.

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Personally, I don’t suppose I may dwell with out with the ability to search through metadata – I take advantage of it all the time.

WINNER: Lightroom Traditional

3. Modifying


As I discussed earlier than, each Luminar Neo and Lightroom Traditional have each fundamental and superior photograph enhancing instruments.

Changes resembling tone, distinction, HSL, vibrance, white stability, and so forth., are all simply out there in each applications. That is just like most different main photograph enhancing software program, too.

From there, although, the 2 applications diverge a bit.

Luminar’s intention has at all times been to hurry up workflow, primarily for the informal photographer.

In consequence, they put appreciable time into growing their AI filters. The crown jewel of those is AI Sky Substitute, which lets you do actually that – change complete skies in your photographs simply with one click on.

Each time I take advantage of the software, my jaw is left on the ground – it truly is that good.

Luminar additionally has numerous highly effective AI filters that add distinctive results. As a rule, these are simply abused. Used sparingly, nevertheless, they’ll add a wow issue that may take for much longer to realize in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Then there’s AI Portrait Enhancer, AI Pores and skin Enhancer, AI Construction… mainly an entire host of extremely highly effective picture enhancing instruments that take a number of seconds to make use of, with practical outcomes each time.

Watch the video above to see how the Luminar replaces skies, enhances portraits and does far more with minimal effort. 

(The video is about Luminar AI, however all these options are included in Neo.)

Different favorite results carried over from earlier variations of Luminar embrace the Orton Impact and Picture Radiance .

(It took me over a 12 months to discover ways to make the Orton Impact work for me, however as soon as I did, I beloved it.)

Luminar's Orton Effect

A light-weight use of Luminar’s Orton impact can actually add a neat look to your landscapes. This was first shot in HDR. | Sony a7iii + Sony 16-35mm

One key characteristic that Luminar has that Lightroom lacks is layers.

After all, since the usual Adobe photographer’s subscription bundle consists of each Lightroom and Photoshop, that’s not an enormous deal.

Nevertheless, for those who’re hoping for an all-in-one program, Luminar’s layer capacity is a large plus.

That being mentioned, I haven’t discovered Luminar’s layers perform to be of a lot use in my very own work. Hopefully future updates will see another options being added.

I’d a lot fairly use Photoshop paired with Lightroom for these.

So far as Lightroom is anxious, there are a selection of instruments that Lightroom has that I feel carry out higher than Luminar’s.

Crucial to me of those is the therapeutic software, which I discover to be far superior each in efficiency and remaining outcomes to Luminar’s erase software.

I additionally favor Lightroom’s sharpening, vignette and lens corrections to Luminar’s. The outcomes are simply far superior.

Lightroom additionally means that you can create digital copies – a giant deal for many people. 

I prefer to have completely different edits of my photographs. In Luminar you’re at all times enhancing the primary picture. Whereas it’s certainly non-destructive (you’ll be able to at all times set it again to the unique RAW model), you’ll be able to solely make different copies for those who export the picture (so far as I can inform).

Not too long ago, Adobe launched some updates to each Lightroom and Photoshop, introducing some highly effective AI instruments to the workflow.

Notably, the brand new AI masking software can shave hours off background elimination, and there are many different helpful functions for it too.

It’s truthful to imagine that Lightroom/Photoshop will finally provide all the identical AI options as Luminar, however this can be an entire away.

It’s additionally good that with Luminar Neo, the whole lot is baked into the one app – there’s no want to modify backwards and forwards to Photoshop.

As well as, Luminar Neo additionally presents ‘Extensions’ which add different options to the core software program.


It depends upon what sort of picture enhancing you’re on the lookout for. If you happen to don’t fairly know how one can edit or are simply studying, Luminar is a good choice. It has the whole lot you want. If you happen to want professional instruments which might be greater performing, I’d say persist with Lightroom.

4. Common Efficiency


Good Previews assist make navigating by means of a whole lot of RAW information a lot faster in Lightroom.

So far as common efficiency is anxious, Lightroom Traditional was pretty sluggish.

Nevertheless, after a variety of person suggestions, Adobe put a variety of effort and time into dashing it up, and it usually works effectively now.

With using Lightroom Good Previews particularly, you’re capable of vastly pace up your workflow, with Lightroom creating ‘mini RAWs’ which might be smaller and simpler for the software program to course of.

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Good Previews additionally imply you’ll be able to ‘disconnect’ out of your major arduous drive for ease of file administration/enhancing whereas touring.

Nevertheless, there’s nonetheless a protracted solution to go to make Lightroom sooner – many customers are hoping for an entire ground-up rewrite of the software program, however this isn’t possible any time quickly.

As for Luminar Neo, it’s a little bit of a blended bag. Switching between the varied modules is snappy – significantly better than Lightroom.

Nevertheless, enhancing pictures with AI instruments might be fairly sluggish, with the varied panels taking a number of seconds to load, and the energy changes lagging.

Current Luminar extensions have been programmed to run utilizing the pc GPU (versus simply the CPU), and I’ve my fingers crossed there’ll be related efficiency updates to the primary app sooner or later.

Most notably, although, with out the advantage of Good Previews, coping with enormous libraries of photographs in Luminar is slower than in Lightroom.

WINNER: Lightroom Traditional

5. Printing and Exporting

Lightroom's Print feature

Lightroom makes it tremendous simple to print photographs to your specs.

Two locations the place Luminar is especially weak are within the Export and Print departments.

For instance, the export window in Luminar is fairly fundamental, with only a few choices and no capacity to make use of presets.

This received’t be an issue if all you need is JPEGs or TIFFs, however you probably have a wide range of shoppers who all want completely different necessities for picture supply, you’ll be out of luck with Luminar.

With the ability to print can also be one thing that’s essential to some (largely professionals). Nonetheless, it’s fairly attainable that Skylum will deal with this in some unspecified time in the future with an replace.

As talked about earlier than, Lightroom has quite a few Print and Export choices – one thing for nearly each want.

WINNER: Lightroom Traditional

6. Pricing and Worth

Lightroom price vs Luminar

Adobe’s Inventive Cloud subscription mannequin is a giant turn-off for a lot of non-professional photographers.

Within the space of pricing, the first distinction between Luminar and Lightroom is the buying mannequin.

Luminar Neo is accessible as a one-time buy, with future updates being supplied at a reduction to present Luminar homeowners.

There’s additionally Luminar X Membership for individuals who need free lifetime updates and entry to all of the Extensions. 

Lightroom, however is barely out there as a subscription (month-to-month or yearly). If you happen to cease paying the subscription, your entry to Lightroom might be reduce off.

On prime of that, for those who’re nonetheless hanging on to the final non-subscription model of Lightroom – model 6, it’s lacking out on a lot of the finest new options and should not even work with the most recent macOS.

Primarily that signifies that all Lightroom 5 and 6 customers must transfer to a subscription mannequin to proceed utilizing it. This rubs many people the mistaken means.

So as to add insult to harm, Aperture additionally received’t run on Mac OS10.15, so Aperture and Lightroom 5/6 customers must decide fairly rapidly.

For the time being, Luminar Neo is round $89, and at present, that features some bonus ‘Inspiration Appears to be like’ price round $50. You may also save an additional $10 utilizing our unique Luminar low cost:

Use code shotkit10neo to save lots of an additional $10 when buying Luminar >>

The most cost effective subscription for Lightroom prices $9.99 USD per 30 days, however that features a full model of Adobe Photoshop, which many people want.

The Lightroom + Photoshop choice is at all times up-to-date, and the upgrades and enhancements are all included within the worth, which is round $120 USD per 12 months.

One massive disadvantage to Adobe’s subscription mannequin is that you simply’ll have to preserve paying ceaselessly.

As quickly as you cancel your Adobe subscription, Lightroom is rendered just about ineffective – you’ll have entry to your pictures, in fact, however you’ll be able to’t make any additional edits to them – see our information: how one can cancel a Lightroom subscription.

It’s arduous to beat a one-off cost for software program this highly effective. Professionals who’re used to the Adobe ecosystem might favor to proceed paying every month, however for everybody else, Luminar is the clear winner.

7. Cell Apps

mobile app

Modifying pictures on a pill utilizing the free Lightroom app is handy and enjoyable.

Though this text is a comparability between Luminar and Lightroom Traditional, it wouldn’t be truthful to not embrace a brief dialogue of cell apps.

A subscription to Adobe Lightroom consists of Lightroom Traditional, Lightroom, Photoshop and 20GB or 1TB of cloud storage.

This on-line space for storing is used to again up your information and edits, and sync them throughout all related units – iPads, iPhones, Android smartphones, tablets and extra.

For many photographers, that is well worth the worth of the subscription alone – with the ability to edit and sync your photographs on this means is actually liberating, to not point out some time lot of enjoyable.

The Lightroom cell app additionally features a nice digicam, able to taking RAW photographs, then enhancing them along with your saved presets or a choice of Adobe’s free presets.

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Any photograph taken with the cell app (or imported into it out of your digicam roll), is mechanically synced to your different units.

On the finish of every month, I like to make use of this characteristic to collect all of the photographs taken with all my varied cameras and telephones into one place, and create a web-based gallery of photographs for household.

Luminar, however presents a cell companion app, nevertheless it’s sorely missing in options.

Primarily, it’s only a solution to sync photographs from the desktop app to your cell, prepared for sharing on-line. These with Macs can already do that with AirDrop.

Customers have been eager for a full enhancing suite of Luminar for iPad Professional, however sadly, this can be a while away.

WINNER: Lightroom Traditional

How you can Use Lightroom with Luminar Neo

lightroom to luminar

You may simply open and edit any Lightroom picture in Luminar with a few mouse clicks. All Luminar edits are saved to a replica picture, which can then return straight to your Lr catalog.

The aim of this text is to pit Luminar vs Lightroom, however this assumes that you simply’ll be selecting one software program app over the opposite.

For present Lightroom customers who’re comfortable to pay every month for the privilege of utilizing what it, and possibly at all times might be, the industry-standard picture enhancing software program, Luminar really interacts very effectively with the prevailing Lr workflow.

If you happen to personal each items of software program, you’ll be able to simply proceed utilizing Lightroom as your major picture enhancing software program and/or file administration software program, then select ‘Edit In > Edit in Luminar 4’ to reap the benefits of probably the most highly effective AI enhancing options out there in 2023.

The perfect bit? When you’re completed enhancing in Luminar, you merely save the file for it to return straight again in to the Lightroom window.

From right here, you’ll be able to stick with it enhancing, transfer the file, add it to a Assortment, print it, export it… mainly, do something you usually would, simply as if the file had solely been edited in Lightroom.

This Lightroom workflow is definitely extremely highly effective and means that you can ignore every software program’s inherent weaknesses and as an alternative profit from their enormous strengths as an alternative.

What’s Luminar Neo?

What is Luminar?

Luminar is an award-winning non-destructive picture editor with highly effective and intuitive AI enhancing options.

Skylum Luminar Neo is a common photograph enhancing platform that was initially designed to perform each as a stand-alone software in addition to a plug-in.

Luminar started as a Mac-only software in 2016 however has these days developed into the most recent model: Luminar Neo – a multi-platform app with a DAM (digital asset supervisor) and all of the enhancing instruments most photographers will want.

Many are hailing Luminar as top-of-the-line options to Lightroom, particularly because it received the EISA 2019/20 finest product of the 12 months award.

It options non-destructive RAW and JPEG enhancing, highly effective AI filters, each fundamental and superior enhancing, layers and masking, a set of stellar results, and numerous glorious presets (referred to as appears).

What’s Lightroom Traditional?


Lightroom Traditional has lengthy been the {industry} customary.

It gives intensive instruments for an entire photographic workflow, from importing and keywording to enhancing, exporting, and printing. It actually has nearly the whole lot you want from begin to end.

It’s the selection most mavens nonetheless go for.

As a result of it’s been round for some years, there are a selection of third-party plugins and presets out there, in addition to full integration with different Adobe merchandise – particularly Photoshop.

Up to now, Lightroom was only a single program, however Adobe determined to separate it up into two separate applications: Lightroom Traditional and Lightroom.

Lightroom Traditional is the fully-featured desktop program that’s been round all these years and that a lot of the professionals use.

Lightroom is a barely pared-down model designed for cell customers preferring to work within the cloud. 

Associated: Lightroom Traditional vs Lightroom CC

Luminar vs Lightroom: Ceaselessly Requested Questions

Is Luminar higher than Lightroom?

As we’ve seen, there are areas wherein Luminar trumps Lightroom, however the reverse can also be true. Relying in your wants, Luminar is definitely the less expensive choice.

Can Luminar change Lightroom?

No, we consider it can’t change Lightroom. Nevertheless, for those who’ve by no means used Lightroom earlier than and want an easier solution to edit and handle your photographs, Luminar is a good choice.

What’s the finest various to Lightroom?

If you happen to’re fed up with Adobe’s subscription mannequin, Luminar is definitely a horny various to Lightroom at an inexpensive worth level. It presents most of the identical options as Lightroom and a few spectacular one-click enhancing capabilities that Lightroom doesn’t.

Luminar vs Lightroom: Conclusion

Whereas it’s clear that Luminar could have a broad enchantment to informal photographers and lots of lovers, professionals who rely closely on using metadata, shoot giant volumes of photographs, and/or want particular picture exporting options will nonetheless gravitate in the direction of Lightroom (or Seize One) – see our comparability of those two choices right here.

If you happen to’re an present Lightroom person and ingrained in its workflow, my suggestion could be to buy Luminar as effectively – each software program can be utilized collectively successfully, permitting you to reap the benefits of each’s strengths.

Both means, I’d nonetheless suggest giving Luminar a shot – the AI enhancing instruments are well worth the worth alone.

Regardless of the emergence of different AI-powered photograph enhancing instruments, there’s merely no different app that may replicate all that Luminar Neo can do.

Which looks like the best choice for you?