In this article, I am going to step through a typical post-processing workflow in Luminar. When enhancing their photos, many people only ever use the Luminar Looks panel. It’s true that you can get some good starting points or ideas on how to enhance an image from this. However, every image is different, and a Luminar Look was only ever really designed around a single image.
The great thing about Luminar is that a standard post-processing workflow is designed for creative workflow. The steps are simple and intuitive. This allows you as the image creator to focus on being creative.
Opening our image in Luminar
To start, I opened the starting image (Figure 1) into Luminar. The image is slightly under-exposed, and the shadows are just too dark. However, there is a lot of detail that we can draw out from this image using Luminar. We should be able to make this rather flat looking image stand out.
Luminar AI Enhance
I selected the Essentials panel by left-clicking the sun symbol on the right-hand side menu. Then I left-clicked the AI Enhance tab. This tab offers us two options:
AI Accent. This one little slider analyses and fixes more than a dozen aspects of your photo. AI Accent looks at shadows, highlights, contrast, tone, saturation, exposure, and details, and then intelligently corrects your image.
It’s always a good idea to start with AI Accent in your post-processing workflow, as it gives you such a good baseline to start from. Increasing the slider from zero then allows you to decide how much of the enhancement to apply to your photo. This really is a huge timesaver compared to other post-processing software, because in those you need to edit each aspect individually.
Anyhow, for this image I set AI Accent to 64. This really brought out the details in the foreground pebbles as well as lifting the shadows in the mountains. The sky though was still a little dull, so I moved onto the AI Sky Enhancer Tab
AI Sky Enhancer. This slider is specifically for the sky, as its name suggests. Luminar analyzes and detects the sky in an image to improve the texture, tone, and colours of the sky. I upped this to 18 and has improved the tone and colour in the sky portion of the image. Any more than that and the sky started to look a little over-saturated.
Luminar Light Adjustment Tab
Next, I left-clicked the Light Tab in the Essentials panel. It’s right at the top of the Essentials panel options. I also left-clicked the Advanced Settings tab options to bring up the histogram.
As expected, Luminar AI Adjustment has already done a pretty good job balancing the image. However, the highlights in the sky were still a bit bright so I reduced these to -15. Likewise, I wanted to lift the shadows a little more so raised the slider to 16.
As a final edit in this panel, I added a little s-curve to the histogram curve. An s-curve has the effect of pulling the histogram in at each end to tighten the whites and blacks in the image. It also lifts the mid-tones, and gives the image more punch. To do this you literally just left-click on the line. This adds a draggable edit dot.
Pushing the colour balance and tones in the image has the tendency to add noise to the image. I therefore typically take a look at any noise in the image as a final step in the post-processing workflow. I could see a little noise in the sky region, so I left-clicked the Denoise Tab and gives is two options.
Luminosity Denoise. The Luminosity noise slider targets greyscale noise pixels in your image I upped this to 28.
Color Denoise. The Color Denoise slider targets the coloured pixels in your image. I upped the this to 17.
Tip: It’s easy to get carried away with noise removal, but too much and your images become washed out and lacking detail.
Luminar Workflow – Conclusions
Our starting image had good composition but lacked contrast and colour balance. With a few simple edits in Luminar we have fixed that, and are left with a usable image.
If you don’t have a copy of Luminar AI, and are thinking of getting one, then check out their Luminar Website.
If you found this article useful, then please check out our other Articles & How To Guides.
Here are some other Luminar articles that may be of interest to you:Luminar Articles
Luminar Workflow – Post Processing
Compositing Sunrays with Luminar
Using Layers to Change Hair Colour in Portraits
Is Luminar Better Than Lightroom
Realistic Sky Replacement using Luminar
Luminar vs Lightroom a feature comparison
Luminar 4 Sky Replacement storing presets
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