Best Photo Editing Software for MAC | Luminar by Macphun

Macphun has released many great apps for the Mac in the past and these have won countless awards. Recently they unleashed their all-one photo editing software LUMINAR.

The software takes the idea of a photo editor one step further by allowing the User Interface to adapt to the photographer’s skill level. This is a revolutionary idea that further pushes the boundaries of digital photo editing.

Luminar has a free trial and if you are interested in purchasing it you can get a 15% discount if you apply the code lukezeme, click the box below to go to the Luminar site… or read my lengthy overview and and look at a few Before/After Photos.

Watch the Video!

NEW Luminar Photo App by Macphun, Overview

What is Luminar?

Luminar is a supercharged photo editor!!!

You can use it as a standalone or as a plugin to your favourite Photo editing software including Lightroom, Photoshop and Aperture. What it does well is allow you to use a plethora of tools (+40 Filters at the time of this article) on the same layer and then stack even more layers on top of these.

For beginners it takes the complex and narrows it down to a single click to gain amazing results. For advanced photographers you can get behind the curtain and tweak till your little hearts content. It comes with a built in powerful noise reduction feature, along with a clone-stamp and heal tool plus gradient and radial masks. It allows you to crop and resize your images all whilst working with RAW format.

Currently you need to load an image into it from Lightroom or your MAC Finder, but there is a catalogue feature that is very close to being released as a free update to all Luminar users. With the addition of a Library catalogue this makes this one piece of software a direct competitor to Adobe Lightroom and On1 Photo 10.

How does Luminar adapt to your style and skill level?

To answer this question it would be best to first look at what Machpun states about this feature…


“An adaptive interface that inspires you to do more.

While other photo editors make you adapt to their interface, Luminar adapts to your skill level. There is no need to face dozens of sliders if you simply want to remove an object or apply a preset. But if you do need to perform some serious tasks, you’ll easily access all the advanced features.

Enjoy using only the tools you need and the features you actually use for your photography.”


So what they’re saying is that the User Interface on other software can be too much for beginners where as with Luminar you can just hide all the advanced sliders and just be faced with pictures of preset windows along the bottom. Then if you want to get into the nitty gritty of the presets and filters you can by opening up the sidebar where you will find the Filter Panel, histogram and Layers. All the Filters are adjustable with sliders and it makes the whole process extremely enjoyable to use.


There’s nothing new in a photo filter program that offers up thumbnails for its effects, but where Luminar has made advancements is in your ability to control which Filters you have at your disposal. At the time I wrote this blog there were 40 Filters, each with all their little sliders to customise them. At launch I believe there were just over 30 filters and they have been adding new filters with updates. The Filters (e.g. clarity, curves, dehaze) are like blocks that can be dropped in and out of filter panel, as well as being reordered within the Panel itself. You can then save a particular set/group of Filters as a Workspace. So if you have say 10 particular filters you use a lot for Portraits you can save these as a Workspace and open it up at any time. A workspace can even be added on another layer on top of another workspace.

Is Luminar a Lightroom replacement?

As photo guru Trey ratcliff states…

“he is still using Lightroom to edit his photos and Luminar fits in as another photo editor in his workflow. He also believes that Luminar has 5-7x as many tools as Lightroom”


Lightroom still has a few big features that Luminar doesn’t have like the catalogue, as previously mentioned, and others like a lens profile correction. The Lightroom tools like perspective correction and camera + lens profiles are very high quality and aren’t available in Luminar yet. These features are being worked on by the development team at Macphun and will be available in updates soon to all users free.


But not everyone wants such pro-features and that’s what is great about Luminar. It knows what it is and it’s VERY good at being that. Not just that, it also has left room to grow from here and really challenge these other photo editing platforms. As we see future releases it wouldn’t surprise me to start seeing a lot of people converting to Luminar from LR. Mainly because of the cost of Adobe’s CC monthly plans whereas with Luminar there is just the one upfront payment. Plus if you get it on sale and with the use of a discount code like my own (code lukezeme), you can get another 15% off.

Who is the software aimed at?

I’d say the software is aimed at everyone! If you have a camera and you take photos then you can utilize this software. The other great thing is that Luminar comes pre-packaged with a bunch of preset packs and you can also download more packs from the professional photographers to get you going. The built in preset pack categories are outdoors, street, basic, portrait, dramatic and travel.

What the PRO's say about Luminar

Trey Ratcliff, world famous photographer & traveler:

Luminar is currently only a way to edit your photos. I’m still using Lightroom to organize my photos. But you’ll find the controls in Luminar are much more powerful than the ones in Lightroom. I’d also wager to say that Luminar has 5-7X as many control options as Lightroom.


Matt Granger, world-class photographer and educator:

Finally a creative editing software that has an intuitive layout that is simple to use and helps me create unique looking images. Luminar is a great addition to my workflow- I can drop in images and be confident I can quickly turnaround a cool image ready for sharing.


Will Burrar-Lucas, award-winning wildlife photographer:

Luminar is a fantastic RAW editor packed full of innovative features: the layer-based editing is extremely powerful and flexible; the workspaces can customized to perfectly reflect my editing workflow; and the plethora of filters enable ultimate creative control.


Richard Harrington, Photofocus publisher:

Luminar is a welcome addition to my digital toolbox…even a software guru like me found that my control-freak expectations were met or exceeded. Highly recommended for all photographers who have a Mac and are looking for more options to change the look of their photos or fix tough problems with precise manual controls.

Does Luminar hit the mark?

Luminar hits the mark in many ways. Firstly the adaptive UI is ground breaking allowing it to be easy to use for beginners and then as the photographer learns more it opens up to reveal quite a lot of advance features. This kind of UI also makes the whole experience a personal one with the software becoming what you want it to be. It can be used by all types of photographers from Landscapes, weddings, portraits, drones and any kind of images you can think of!

The amount of presets and variety of them was a breath of fresh air. Where I’ve found myself going back to the same filters in programs like On1 Effects and Topaz Clarity, I now have a another option to go to- LUMINAR!

Personally I like to use Luminar as a plugin launched from Photoshop and then I use other tools to get the final look I need for my prints and web sized images.

With the catalogue feature on its way it will be a complete standalone product that doesn’t require Photoshop and Lightroom. Im told this feature is not far off and is a free update, like all Luminar updates thus far. Luminar is built in a way that the developers can supply new tools in their updates. This is a very powerful way to keep building on an already great product.

Example Photo's & Screenshots

Thanks if you made it this far!

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