Luminar - Professional Photo Editing

Luminar for Mac

Luminar for the Mac1 is a professional video editing application with over 300 tools and features that will allow you to edit your photography in a professional manner. Luminar has native RAW processing support, and Luminar supports over a dozen different cameras; DSLR, Point and Shoot, GoPro or action cam, iPhone, and Drone images, you name it. Luminar only cost $69, you can read more about Luminar or purchase Luminar by visiting the MacPhun website.

Think of Luminar as a digital darkroom on your Mac. Luminar picks up the slack that was felt for Mac users when Apple did away with Aperture over two years ago. Apple did launch Photos on the Mac; but, Photos is not up to par with more advanced photo editing. Photos is nice for managing your photos on your Mac; but, you need an application like Luminar if you want more advanced photo editing features, which Luminar has those.

Luminar as a Photos extension

A neat feature built into Luminar is that Luminar will work as an extension in Photos on the Mac. What that will allow you do, you can continue to use Photos to manage your images, but, you can open up Luminar right inside the Photos app to edit your images with the more powerful Luminar, then you can save your work right back into Photos.

Touch Bar

Another feature in Luminar is that it offers Touch Bar support and Force Touch support for the new MacBook Pro that Apple launched last year. I have a new 15” MBP, and I love the fact that Luminar supports the Touch Bar as I have started using the Touch Bar more and more on my MBP. Two of my most used Touch Bar buttons are the Quick Preview (allows you to see the original photo vs. the edited image) and the Filters button on the Touch Bar. When I tap the Filters button on the Touch Bar it opens up all the filter options quickly. This keeps me from needing to scroll over to the Add Filter button on the screen; sometimes you have to scroll to the get to button depending how many filters you are working with. The Touch Bar buttons are more convenient for some options when editing my images.

Touch Bar Support


I want to mention the Presets that come bundled with Luminar, there are 6 Preset options: Basic, Street, Outdoor, Travel, Portrait, and Dramatic. These Presets are similar to Instagram filters in that you can easily add an effect to your image, without having to adjust the curves, brightness, or adding vignette to your image, as an example. The Presets take the hard work out of editing and allow you to choose some pre-made filters to spice up your images. If you like a certain effect that you have applied; but, you feel that the effect is too strong, you can easily adjust the amount of the effect applied to the image. Not only that, you can still further edit your image even after adding the Preset effect/filter. Inside each Preset option, there are a handful of effects/filters to choose from. As an example; Basic has 13 filter effects you can add to your image. If you want more effects than what ships with Luminar, you are in luck. Macphun has a Preset store where you can download a few free Presets, and they also have some paid Presets as well; those Presets range in price from only $5.99 to $9.99. One of the Preset packs I recommend is the Insta Inspiration, which is an Instagram inspired Preset pack that mimics the Instagram filters that you find on the mobile app.


A few other tidbits I’d like to mention in this review; Luminar supports up to 5 Macs. In other words if you have more than 1 Mac in your household you can install Luminar on four additional machines, at no additional cost. Another important tidbit is that all of your edits in Luminar are non-destructive, what that means is you can edit an image and the edits you make will not harm the original image. The original image will remain unedited, only your exported image will show any effects you have applied to it.


  • Clone & Stamp
  • Eraser (Object removal)
  • Transform
  • Crop
  • Image Resizing
  • Noise reduction
  • Photo Effects
  • Blend Modes for Filters
  • Masking with Filters
  • Change the order of applied filters
  • Favorite Filters
  • Filter categories
  • Search
  • Built-in descriptions
  • Image examples
  • Reset Filters

Final Thoughts

I have been using Luminar for about 3 weeks now and I foresee myself using Luminar for a long time to come. If you have been shopping for a photo editing application for your Mac then I can highly recommend you give Luminar a look. Luminar is feature packed, it has every tool I can think of that most photographers would need to process their images. If Luminar is missing something, Macphun, the company behind Luminar has a suite of image editing applications to choose from. I feel that for most photographers, or photography enthusiasts who want to quickly and easily edit their images, Luminar is more than enough to satisfy their need. The Presets are great, the tools are all there. Luminar has a beautiful, uncluttered UI, it has that Mac feel to it. If you don’t want to take more word for it, visit the Macphun website and download the free trial for yourself, and give Luminar a spin.


  1. Luminar:
  2. Luminar Presets:
  3. Luminar User Manual:
  4. Luminar Video Tutorials:

  1. Soon available on Windows too ↩︎