Saving time editing using Skylum Luminar

Over the next several posts, I plan on covering some of the features of Skylum's Luminar photo editing software. I've been using Luminar ever since the beta for Windows was released several years ago. It has always been a great editing tool, but the recent addition of AI tools has made it a great tool for those who want to spend less time editing, and more time taking photos.


In today's post, I am going to cover how to quickly edit a photo using the essentials panel in Luminar. We will begin with a photo of an old farm building that I took in southern Minnesota a while back.

Clicking the plus symbol gives the options to open either a single image or a folder of images. For now, we are going to select a single image. As expected, this opens up a browser.

We select our photo and click open.

The photo opens and we can now begin editing. Notice that the Essentials Panel is available on the right side of the screen. There are two sub-panels that provide a quick start to editing photos. These are AI Enhance, and AI Structure. Like most editing tools, it is easy to go overboard. Start with opening the AI Enhance sub-panel.

The two tools contained in this sub-panel are AI Accent and AI Sky Enhancer. I like to begin with the AI Sky Enhancer.


The AI Sky Enhancer makes for very easy adjustments to bring out details in the sky. In other tools, I have to typically use a graduated filter tool, luminance mask, and mess around with hue, saturation, and luminance.


The AI Sky Enhancer determines where the sky is, and by moving the slider determines the changes that are needed to bring out the detail in the sky.


AI Accent, analyzes the entire image. Moving the slider results in adjustments to highlights, shadows, contrast, exposure, saturation, and other details. This is a huge timesaver. After just working with these two sliders, the image now looks as follows:


As you can see, just working with 2 sliders, has made a big difference to the photo. The next sub-panel is AI-Structure. AI Structure, analyzes the photo and determines buildings, people, sky, trees, and other objects. Moving the slider results in the details of the objects being adjusted as appropriate. For example, buildings will get more detail adjustment than the sky. People in the photo will have little to no adjustment. In this image, with the foreground, a little bit of adjustment goes a long way.

The Light sub-panel allows some final fine-tuning to the tonal range of the image.

The final thing I want to do to the image is warm it up a bit. Another sub-panel is the Landscape Enhancer.


In this sub-panel there are three sliders. Dehaze works similar to other editing applications. The Foliage Enhancer is great when there are trees in the image, and works magic with fall colors.


Golden Hour can be thought of as a smart warming filter. In this image, even though it was shot late afternoon, I would like more of that golden hour effect. Simply by sliding the Golden Hour slider I can add as much or as little of the effect.

After cleaning up the dust spots, my photo now looks as follows:

How much did we accomplish with just those few steps? The following image provides a comparison:

Starting on July 2nd, Skylum is having a sale on Luminar. You can get more details clicking here. You can save an additional $10 by using the discount code FROZENHIKER.