Luminar 4

Luminar 4 review

Mar 19, 2020 Luminar 4.2 is available now as a free update for existing Luminar 4 users. If you are interested in trying Luminar 4 for the first time, you can download a free trial from Skylum. For a limited time, if you purchase Luminar 4 for $89 USD, you will also receive the Inspiration Looks pack, a $49 value, free of charge. Nov 12, 2020 Luminar 4 is an AI powered image manipulation program that’s easy enough even I can use it! One of the challenges though is that it doesn’t formally support Affinity Photo out of the box, and Affinity Photo is my photo manipulation weapon of choice. Luminar 4 automatically identifies objects (including people, clouds, water, buildings, and more) and improves them in an intelligent, content-aware way. Hyper-realistic sunrays Add a source of sunlight with the Sunrays tool.

You might have wondered how the professional photographer delivers awesome quality photographs time and over again.

However, you may wonder why you often fail to churn out great pictures each time even though you have the latest single-lens reflex digital camera and use the best flashlight along with a bounce adapter with accessories like lenses (macro, zoom, telephoto, wide-angle), filters, and studio umbrellas.

Be prepared for a surprise when you visit the home of a photographer friend and find him seated beside his computer, retouching photographs he had taken the previous day.

You might not believe that most professionals have full knowledge of lighting and photo shooting angles, but most of them are rarely able to click stunning photographs at the first instance.

They use special software to edit the digital photographs to remove unnecessary background as well as make color correction with the help of color, hue, and saturation controls available in those programs.

Once done, they save the RAW images in .jpeg format and send it to a processing studio to print the digital photographs on high quality glossy or matte paper.

You too can achieve the same quality photographs as those shot by professionals with the help of two of the leading photo editing programs, Luminar and Aurora.

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Is Luminar Better than Aurora?

Go through this Luminar versus Aurora comparison to find out which is best and if Luminar is better than Aurora or vice versa. I shall be reviewing both of them separately, and then highlight the differences between the two so that you can decide which one best suits your requirements. By the way, Skylum produces both these programs.

Luminar 4 Price

What is the Difference Between Luminar and Aurora?

The major difference between these two offerings from Skylum is that Aurora HDR is exceptional when merging multiple images and is designed for more enhanced details and toning whereas Luminar allows for starting editing and enhancements with single exposures and more stylistic editing. Both programs can be combined.

If you have bracketed photos to merge, Aurora HDR will still be useful to you when using the released Luminar AI.

Luminar 4

Luminar 4, being marketed as an alternative to Adobe's offering has caused a stir in the market. Thanks to the Adobe Lr-esque catalog of this program along with its powerful editing tools. It has been able to convert thousands of users of Adobe Lr to this more affordable program.

Unlike Adobe, Luminar 4 does not charge a yearly subscription, and this itself is a game-changer.

In this review, I shall check what the software is capable of and whether it can live up to its expectations. This is the latest version of the program. The vendor offers a free update to those who already own Luminar 2018.

Fast Processing Speed

The developers have burned the midnight oil to make this version a league ahead of its predecessor. Forget the slow editing speed of the previous version, as this version almost instantaneously applies changes to the photograph made by the slider. This is what I was looking for.

This software is a hybrid between Photoshop and Adobe Lr and permits you to apply layers on the photographs when you are editing them.

One important point: Make it a habit to switch layers before changing the workspace or you will lose the edits. The ideal method is to set up the workspace for a single layer, make the requisite edits, after which you can create a new layer.

Workspace Galore

The software offers you the choice to choose from many pre-determined workspaces. As different filters are used to make each workspace, you can easily do everything you desire and much more.

I loved this feature because it allowed me to design my personal workspace as well as get rid of filters I would never need.

I was also able to create a methodical process by creating workspaces for individual stages of my photo-editing workflow. In fact, I created a workspace that permitted me to make my primary color changes and RAW adjustments, before creating a new layer and switching over to a de-noising workspace. I could then shift to a different layer and workspace, dedicated to sharpening my file.

Easily Recover Edits

The “undo” feature of this software is a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to undo any changes I made, which also includes workspace switches. This implies that you can recover your edits if you swap over and lose them.

Flexible and Adjustable

The structure of Luminar 4 allows you to customize the program according to your personal preferences and for smooth editing process. You can also configure the software to ensure that it fits into your workflow, and eliminate anything unnecessary that gets in the way.

The fact that this program permits you to work in layers is beneficial as well. Unlike Adobe Lr that allows you to apply masks and a limited number of alterations to areas selected within the mask, Luminar 4 allows you to apply a mask to any layer or filter. This implies that you can make numerous adjustments to just a single area of the image.

One in All

Unlike other programs, Luminar 4 consists of an entire editing bundle and allows you to do everything you require from within the program itself.

After you have completed the editing task, you have the choice of leaving the edits within the library or export them as a file for use with any other program. I was slightly disappointed with the size of the export window, but I am not complaining as I know this software only has the absolute necessities.

Good Price for Great Value
Luminar 4 price

Luminar 4 Review

Do not crib as this program offers a standalone software at a pocket-friendly price. The latest version of the software also includes a digital asset manager, in the form of an image gallery, which allows users to organize photos in a better way than Adobe Lr.

Much More

The slider feature of Luminar 4 allows you to move a single slider to make slight changes to the picture or add multiple layers and masks, as well as experiment with third-party plugins.

Unique Filters

There are some filters which are unique to Luminar such as top and bottom lighting, sunrays and AI sky enhancer. All of them combined allow for endless opportunities for artistic and creative editing.

As mentioned above, the latest version of Luminar has a huge range of new and exciting updates such as:

• Organizing photos automatically with smart shortcuts
• A brand new Accent AI filter
• Folders that remain in synchronization with images on the hard disk drive
• Ability to synchronize adjustments between multiple photographs
• Multiple viewing options (filmstrip, gallery, and single image view), and
• A library for viewing, organizing, and editing multiple photographs

Luminar 4 has the ability to do everything that the offering from Adobe does and also has certain improvements over it.

I was surprised to note that the program's library scanned the hard disk drive of my computer and updated itself to match what my HDD looks like.

I was a bit dismayed by the slow import feature, but this should not be a constraint for first-time photo editing software, considering the low price of Luminar 4. The new version of Accent AI speeds up your workflow immensely.

Use of Artificial Intelligence

The single slider adjustment employs artificial intelligence to access an image and enhance it. This is a powerful feature if you want to develop your photographs quickly. This module handles everything from contrast, color, exposure, details, depth, and tone with remarkable accuracy.

The software is available both for the Windows and Mac operating systems.


The manufacturer offers a free version. However, it lacks all functionalities. Therefore, you should purchase one of the following versions of Luminar 4:

• The Inspiration version costs $89
• The Plus Edition costs $99 and includes “Inspiration Looks” and “California Sunsets” (you save $64)
• Max Edition costs $169. It includes “Inspiration Looks” plus “Aurora HDR” (you save $93).

By the way, the company is offering a special discount on their home page.

Luminar 4 Promo Code

Aurora HDR

This is, without any doubt, one of the easiest photo editing programs I have come across as you will find out in this Luminar vs Aurora 2021 review.

Luminar 2021 vs Aurora HDR 2021 Comparison

This comparison explains why I prefer the latter and the differences between the Luminar and Aurora Bundle.

Easy to Use

I prefer to use photo editing software that gives me the desired results without having to go through a steep learning curve.

Despite being sophisticated, Aurora is user-friendly and easy to use. The 2021 version of this photo editing tool creates a finalized tone-mapped file in a couple of steps, pushing it one step ahead of its competitors.

The 2021 version boasts of a Quantum HDR Engine that has an updated tone mapping algorithm over its predecessor.

I was pleasantly surprised by the immediate and natural improvement in the dynamic range of the bracketed shots I opened in this program without making any adjustments. This means that I can have a quality base image to use as a reference point for advanced tone control.

Following this basic tone improvement, the software provided me with a wide range of editing possibilities, with the help of the intuitive slider-based interface of the program.

HDR Panel that is Easy to Understand

Those who have used Adobe Lr will feel at home with the HDR Basic Panel, as this tool employs a very similar control layout. The friendly control layout also makes the learning process simple for beginners.

Easily Edit Photographs Even At Night

This is the tip of the iceberg as Aurora HDR also has an impressive range of style customization tools, which provides precise control over both detail and color.

Those who like editing photographs at night will love the “dark color scheme” of the software that makes slider and menu nomenclature easy to read and also helps in accurate assessment of brightness and color.

This puts Aurora HDR ahead in this Luminar 4 vs Aurora HDR 2021 review and will help first-time purchasers decide whether they should opt for Luminar or Aurora.

Features that Help You Compare Luminar and Aurora

The vendor has added a number of useful updates in the 2021 version despite the fact that the overall functionality of both are the same.

Luminar 4 Presets Free

Be prepared to be surprised by the HDR Enhance Panel that offers a quick way of adding enhancements to micro contrast and structure. You can easily extract fine image details without introducing over-processed and unnatural effects with minor tweaks to the positions of the slider in this section.

This area too takes advantage of the new Quantum Engine. This updated algorithm permits you to push sliders further for attaining stronger effects without image degradation artifacts like edge halos from creating an impact on the integrity of an image.

This version also includes an inbuilt noise reduction capability, allowing you to address luminance or color patterning without the need to import the image to different software.

I am sure that by now, you have understood more about Luminar compared to Aurora, and the power of the latter.

The “denoise” function of Aurora is a useful feature that makes this software a one-stop HDR option, even though this function is not as effective or powerful as a dedicated noise reduction plugin. This feature permits you to minimize noise real-time while you change the tone mapping.

Luminar 4 Trial

Easily Go Back to Any Point of the Editing Process

I loved the history function that keeps a track of all of the changes I make to an image. This allows me to revert to any point during the editing process. Thanks to this, I hardly wasted any time revisiting any image stage without interrupting the creative process.

Luminar and Aurora HDR Further Compared

Aurora HDR allowed me to keep colors within natural limits following tone mapping without having to undertake extensive editing in Adobe.

Another advantage of Aurora is its capability to apply alterations to Adjustment Layers from within the software itself. I was amazed by the degree of details I could extract from just one RAW file.

I could get images that effectively duplicate the human vision's dynamic range through orthodox tone mapping of bracketed exposures. The new version boasts of a “color lookup table,” which, in combination with the amazing gradient tool and tone curve, provides dynamic color control, which was, in the past, only possible with dedicated RAW editors.


This advanced photo editor costs only $99 and works on both Mac and Windows operating systems. You can purchase both Aurora HDR 2021 and Luminar 4 for a discounted price of $169.

Hopefully, this review of Luminar vs Aurora HDR 2021 will allow you to decide on which to go for between Skylum Luminar and Aurora and purchase the software that is suitable for your needs. Or better still, getting both as a bundle.