photo editor app

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Learn what ‘picture perfect’ means with the Luminar photo editor

Finally! Picture editing software you don't need training for.

Jun 5, 2020, 1:40 pm*

IRL

Beck Diaz 

Beck Diaz

What if I told you that the first recorded instance of someone using what we would refer to now as a photo editor app was way back in 1860?

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It is said that the first-ever evidence of photo editing and manipulation was seen in a photograph of Abraham Lincoln. The photo itself was taken because the people thought him to be “the leanest, lankiest, most ungainly mass of legs, arms and hatchet face ever strung upon a single frame.” Lincoln sought the help of a well-known photographer named Mathew Brady and enlisted his help in capturing a photo that would quell the dissenting cries of the people (and maybe give him a little boost of confidence in the process). And so, born from Lincoln’s self-preservation and Mathew Brady’s Pennsylvania Avenue studio, his photo, which had been smoothed, altered, and refined, was presented to the people. 

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If you really think about it, with all the technology available to us today, how much of what we see is truly how it was captured? Photo editing and manipulation, which was once something that was done out of complete necessity or not at all, has become so common it’s nearly impossible to escape! Most of the media platforms that we allow to consume a large chunk of our daily lives have been flooded with unrealistic beauty standards, sexist ideals, and political propaganda supported by expert manipulation with the use of Photoshop and FaceTune. And when we say “expert,” we mean it. Because software like Photoshop isn’t the most user-friendly, it’s notoriously difficult to use and can be expensive if you’re looking to purchase more than one license or gain access to more than one Adobe app. And if you’re not manipulating photos before loading them into another Adobe program, there’s really no reason to use Photoshop as a picture editing software. Why? Because other apps make it easier to get your desired results (not to mention, cost less).

Take Luminar for example. This editing software makes breathtaking photos happen. Whether you’re a newbie looking to dabble in your first editing process or are a seasoned photographer searching for an adaptable software that has almost boundless limits, Luminar 4 will encapsulate all your editing needs. With new groundbreaking AI capabilities and over 80 “one-click” tools, let yourself get creative and make your next editing experience an exciting one. 

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What is Luminar?

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Luminar 4 is a non-subscription based photo editor by Skylum that makes your photos gallery-ready in one click. Available for both PC and Mac, and as a plug-in for other photo editing tools (Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom) or a stand-alone feature, Luminar offers beginner and pro photographers the easiest AI-based editing system. Luminar prioritizes organization and user experience with its two primary workspaces tabs: library and editor.

In the library tab, flag, rate, label, and consolidate your photos, new and edited.

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In the editing section, explore the extensive, and newly updated, side panel which separates its tools into four categories; Essential, Creative, Portrait, and Pro. The essential tab is where you’ll most likely be toying with photo developers with the help of AI and basic settings such as light, b&w conversion, AI-structure, AI-enhance, details enhancer, and more. In the creative tab, delve a bit deeper into altering the structure of your photo with one click, editable, image simulations. Play around with the famed AI sky replacement and augmentation, sunrays addition, fog, film grain, texture overlay, and more to exude the exact mood you want your image to portray.

In portrait mode, discover tools that will enhance portrait images, as well as landscape images. Edit the glow and focus of your subject with the Orton effect tool, enlist the help of the AI skin enhancer and portrait enhancer to put your models’ best complexion forward, and experiment with light adjustments with the high key tool. And Pro mode, which might sound a little intimidating, has actually been crafted with beginner and seasoned photographers in mind. Adjust gradient, enhance color, split tone, add photo filter, and more with ease and precision. No matter what edits you’re making to your photos, Luminar makes sure that they can all be achieved easily and effectively while saving you time and money. 

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Cost of Luminar

Unlike some of its top competitors, Luminar is not a subscription-based editing application. While it does offer the ability to pay in monthly installations, after the base price has been paid, the software is yours!

So, while the basic Luminar license for two computers is priced at $89, the site offers payment plans in three month increments. This payment plan option becomes especially helpful when it comes to the deluxe bundles priced at $99 (which includes the California Sunsets collection, and the Amazing Planets collection) and $169 (which includes the sunsets and planets collection, as well as access to Aurora HDR).  The best thing about the software in regards to price is that once you own it, you’re eligible to experience all the updates that continuously roll out throughout the year and, if Skylum rolls out an entirely new app (just like it did with this current version of Luminar 4), anyone who is a current user of the software will be able to purchase the upgrade at a lesser price. 

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For a limited time, new buyers can save 25% on any single Skylum photo editing app and if you purchase more than one product you’ll save even more because Skylum is giving 30% off to those who bundle purchases.

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Benefits of using Luminar 

Since Luminar can be used as stand-alone software or as an add on to Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and MAC photos, the possibilities of what photos can be produced are endless. While Luminar is optimal for beginners because of the astounding amount of one-click edits available on the software, Pros shouldn’t view that as a con.

It has been said that the Luminar as a stand-alone program is “too easy” for Pros and more fit for beginners, however, the beauty of Luminar is that if the Pros want to incorporate more advanced techniques available to them in any of the software compatible with Luminar, they can! When coupled with more advanced software, Luminar can be a fun, easy way for Pros to get creative and step outside of their normal editing comfort zone while still maintaining their photos integrity. As well, for beginners and Pros looking for a solution to time management when it comes to editing, Luminar’s ability for batch processing, and supporting RAW, JPEG, TIFF, and other popular files come in handy like never before. 

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What can Luminar do better? 

I want to preface this by stating that I’m not a professional photographer or photo editor and because of that, I would say that the stand-alone Luminar software, while easy to navigate and understand, is more geared towards beginners and intermediates. Yes, the Luminar software can be coupled with other interfaces that can lend to a more professional experience overall, but I believe that if Luminar took it upon themselves to expand their “Pro” tab and added more comprehensive tools, not only would their consumer base expand, but it would allow for an overall cohesive experience that is currently missing to those experts in the field.

Another, slightly less problematic issue that Luminar should tackle is the lack of cohesion from the Luminar 3 software to the Luminar 4 software. Not only does Luminar 4 offer a wide array of new tools to use, but the interface completely changes which can be challenging for past users. If editors using the software have to completely re-learn how to use the software after each massive rollout, it could cause major frustration.  

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Professional, intermediate, and beginner photo editors will all benefit from this breakthrough software. Photo enthusiasts can kick back, relax, and get creative with each new tool offered. Whether it be experimenting with the AI skin enhancer tool in portrait mode, trying out new sky-scapes, adding planets, and tweaking sunsets with the add on augmented sky packages, or radically editing landscapes and debris with the canvas tools, Luminar truly unlocks the creativity and fun of quality, easily edited photos.

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*First Published: Jun 5, 2020, 1:39 pm