Photo editing with Luminar AI

I’ve been a Lightroom user for many years and in fact I was probably one of the early adopters.

Over time you become a bit complacent when use the same product. I was starting to think that it was time to look at another way to edit and organise my images that would improve the end result and at the same time improve my productivity.
So, when I first heard of Luminar a year or so ago, I bought it and have been playing around with it ever since.

So I was about to post some info about Luminar 4 when Skylum introduced Luminar AI.
Whilst Luminar 4 is an editing program with some AI (artificial intelligence) built into it, Luminar AI is an AI program with a large selection of editing tools. So for the last 3 months or so I’ve been playing around with it and I’m impressed.

Let me tell you where I’m coming from. I did a lot of editing but nowhere the amount I should do. I have RAW images that are sitting on my hard drive that, apart from the odd one, go back 10 years plus waiting for me to get off my arse and process!
You see, I have a love/hate relationship with editing and find that I’m going down a rabbit hole with it. I try and keep out of Photoshop and will try to use just Lightroom but it’s not always enough.
So when Luminar AI came along It seemed like a way of reducing my edit time (and consequently inspiring me to start processing my back catalogue). Enough of that.

Firstly, let me clarify that the info I will provide is for Luminar AI specifically the latest update 2. Secondly, I’m an affiliate so if you decide to buy through this link and use the code katinimages
I’ll get a small payment.

Over the next few weeks (could even be months) I’ll post a more articles on my experience and opinion.

So today is about comparing Luminar with Lightroom, as so many of us are Lightroom users.

One thing you need to consider is the difference in terms of price. Luminar is a once off payment for the software not a subscription.
Having said that new versions – as opposed to updates, are an additional cost.

I originally had Luminar 3 which I can still use but when Luminar 4 was released I had to pay for it, admittedly at a discounted rate as I was an existing owner (approx. 25%).

How much is it? In USD it’s currently $89.00 (which you can get USD$10 off using this link and the code katinimages).
Adobe’s photography plan is USD$9.99 per month which is approx. $120 per year but you do get Photoshop as well as Lightroom plus a few other apps like LR Mobile and Cloud storage.
Having said that it’s not necessarily one or the other. It can be both as Luminar can be use as a plugin in both Lightroom and Photoshop.

So, the differences between LR and Luminar AI are briefly as follows:

Luminar is a great AI software with a large selection of editing tools with some limited organising tools
Lightroom is an organising software with some really good editing tools

To compare their organising ability let’s look at this chart

FoldersY8Y9L AI is easier to see
KeywordsY8NNAComing in a future update of L AI?
CaptionsY10NNAComing in a future update of L AI?
Copyright MetadataY10NNAComing in a future update of L AI?
Individual Image EditY3Y8Editing a single image in LR is possible but difficult because of its import requirements. It’s easy to do in L AI.
Smart PreviewsY8NNAA real differential if you edit images away from a remote drive
Import toolY7Y9L AI Import facility is very easy and quick due to it’s simplicity
Export toolY9Y7L AI is simple to use. LR gives you lots of preinstalled presets and the ability to create your own as well.
Export to 3rd PartiesY9Y3L AI is Limited to SmugMug and 500PX and one image at a time
Network CatalogueNNAY8This is handy for me it means I can access the catalogue across my network from any computer that has L AI installed

There are other differences that are not listed above but these are the main ones that I’ve encountered.

The keywords, captions and copyright is a big one for me. If I don’t edit an image in Lightroom then I have to enter these details into the platform I have exported to. In my case that’s SmugMug or WordPress. Alternatively once you finish editing you can export to your hard drive and then import to Lightroom for captions, keywords and other metadata like copyright.
I thought that using Lightroom to enter the metadata and then using Luminar as a plug in would be a workaround but unfortunately when you bring back the image to Lightroom it’s all gone. Likewise, flag, star or colour ratings are not retained either.
This means to use Luminar I’ve had to change my workflow.
With Lightroom my workflow was

  1. Rate
  2. Import with copyright, and basic keywords
  3. Enter keywords, title and captions
  4. Edit
  5. Export

With Luminar AI I now:

  1. Import
  2. Rate
  3. Edit
  4. Export to SmugMug*
  5. Enter keywords, title and captions


  1. Import to Lightroom
  2. Rate (if I want to)
  3. Export

Note. I don’t enter copyright. This is because the OMD1 MKII that I have has a facility for copyright to be entered on every image.

*The Keywords, Caption and title can be entered during export to SmugMug or 500PX if you want to avoid Lightroom. The beauty of using Lightroom is you can batch export to both SmugMug and 500PX

In summary, on the one hand, using Luminar AI has saved me some time as I now don’t rate every image and only enter keywords, title and captions to images that have been exported. On the other hand it’s restriction of only one image at a time can be exported to SmugMug is more time consuming.
That’s my way of handling the logistical differences between Lightroom and LuminarAI and may not work for everyone

Below is a video brief summary of Luminar AI’s editing power:

In the next post I’ll review what Luminar AI is really all about and that’s it’s editing tools.
If you want to try for yourself then click on the this link and use the code katinimages to get a US$10 discount.

Categories: Editing Software, Luminar, photographyTags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: