Macphun Luminar

Far from the most conventional entry in test, Macphun’s Luminar will suit those who prefer the ease of presets over comprehensive editing...

Macphun Luminar

Macphun Luminar

The main component behind the software is a series of one-click filters. Each filter, which sits at the bottom of the screen, will give you an overall effect which you can then increase or decrease with the master slider. These filters are divided up into categories – namely basic, outdoor, travel, street, portrait and dynamic – though more are available to download. 

Once you are happy with the overall effect that’s been applied, you can fine-tune it with a rather comprehensive list of tools, such as exposure, contrast, HSL and so on. 

Luminar has two before and after features, allowing you to see if you prefer the original or your edit. The eye icon allows you to switch between both versions, and a handy split screen slider lets you pull from one side to the other for the same effect. Both of these work well and allow you to see when you’ve gone a step too far. 

Layers are present, in the form of adjustment or image types (letting you tune the overall image or add a second image), and blending modes can be used to create the exact effect you’re looking for. The Adjustment Layers are extensive and powerful, though complicated to find via the Layers menu.

Anybody looking to clean up landscapes or skin can do so with the Clone Stamp Tool, though I found this to be a slow and clumsy affair. A RAW conversion aspect is also included, allowing you to use the one-click filters or Adjustment Layers and works well. Many of the filters feel very gimmicky and produce a highly processed look. 

While we wouldn’t dismiss Luminar out of hand, since some aspects are interesting, it doesn’t do quite enough to place higher in this test. However, it does offer a free trial, so you can see if this is the editing style that works for you before you commit.

Wide range of filters
Clean editing space
RAW conversion

Many filters look unnatural
Lacking features
Mac only

OS: Mac only
RAW conversion: Yes
Layers: Yes
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.10.5 or higher