Luminar Neo vs Lightroom: What Software to Choose

By Ann Young 4 days ago, Software Reviews

If you compare Luminar vs Lightroom, it might be a daunting task to select a better option unless you know what things to pay attention to. Luminar allows you to edit your images more quickly. Luminar Neo stands out among other software for its streamlined interface and AI-based tools that enable you to edit pictures in one click. It makes it perfect for pro-level photographers. At the same time, Lightroom has advanced color correction and photo organization tools.

Luminar Neo is an advanced image editing software based on artificial intelligence technology. Using it, you can speed up your workflow and solve complex tasks with little to no effort. The program has versions for Windows and macOS. It enables you to edit pictures using layers and create images with a high level of detail. The program has a variety of tools. You can customize their settings to your liking.

Lightroom was created specifically for photographers who need to edit and organize their photos. What makes it unique is that it enables you to divide the process of editing photos into different stages. To edit your images, you can use separate modules with different sets of tools and settings.

What Is Luminar Neo

luminar neo logo

Luminar Neo is a powerful image editor with advanced tools based on AI technologies. This cross-platform software has versions for Windows and macOS. Using its tools, you can solve complex tasks more quickly. The main advantage of this software is that it has automated tools that allow you to quickly adjust the lighting, replace the sky, delete powerlines and various imperfections from the frame, as well as enhance portrait photos by adding various effects in a few clicks.

Besides, Luminar Neo has an impressive choice of basic editing tools that are much better than the tools available in other photo editing software. To spend less time on image editing, you can use a variety of presets. You can expand the in-built collection by purchasing additional presets. After analyzing your image, the program will automatically suggest you use some presets.

Luminar Neo is complemented by Luminar Share, an easy-to-use mobile app for iOS and Android devices. It enables you to quickly copy photos taken with your smartphone to the desktop version of the software and transfer them back using a wireless connection. Thanks to it, you can edit your photos and share them on social media quickly.

  • luminar neo interface
  • luminar neo photo editing

    Luminar Neo: Pros and Cons

    AI-powered editing tools. To make the tools available in Luminar Leo easier to use, the developers used machine learning and AI technologies to streamline the process of editing and introduce one-click edits. Using AI tools, you can edit your photos like a pro without putting in much effort. You no longer need to create masks manually as the program had automated tools that will help you solve this task more quickly.

    Use tools multiple times. Users often complained that LuminarAI allowed using a specific tool only one time. Before releasing Luminar Neo, the developers solved this issue to make it possible to apply the tools several times. This handy Luminar Neo feature is especially useful for situations when you need to use one tool at different levels to edit different parts of an image. You can use a tool multiple times to make an effect more striking. It will help you to maximize the effect in case it’s impossible to achieve the result you want using sliders.

    Editing history. This option allows you to view the history of your edits and decide whether you want to undo any of them. It makes it easier to restore a previous version of your image in a few clicks.

    RAW photo editing. Photographers like using Luminar Neo as it allows them to enhance RAW photos. The program uses a top-level RAW engine created by Skylum. Check if your camera is on the list of compatible models. You can find the list on the official website of the program.

    Creative layer editing. If you enjoy combining different image editing techniques and are interested in double exposure photography, you will like the fact that this program allows you to work with layers. Thanks to layer-based editing, you can add photos to different layers to combine them and achieve the most creative results. This option was removed when the developers upgraded Luminar 4 and released Luminar AI. However, it was restored in Luminar Neo.

    Professional Luminar Neo extensions. This AI photo editor has a module-based interface. It makes it easier for you to access the necessary tools. You can also use the Extensions Pack. It comes with HDR Merge, Noiseless AI, Upscale AI, AI Background Removal, Supersharp AI, and Focus Stacking extensions. The developers promise to add more extensions in the future.

    Integration with widely used software. If you often use other programs for organizing or enhancing your images, you can use Luminar Neo as a plugin. It is compatible with Lightroom Classic 6 and newer versions, Photoshop (starting from CS5), Photos for macOS, and Photos for Windows.

    Lacks some important elements. While Luminar Neo is an advanced software, it doesn’t have some tools that many photographers use quite often, such as Clone & Stamp and Dodge & Burn. Besides, you won’t be able to undo and redo your edits or use hotkeys.

    No mobile photo editing app. If you compare Luminar vs Lightroom, you will see that the former doesn’t allow you to edit photos using mobile devices. You can only use the Luminar Share app to connect your PC to your smartphone. After editing your images, you can transfer them back to your smartphone to share them online.

    What Is Lightroom

    lightroom logo

    Lightroom is a batch editor with a convenient interface that allows you to organize, edit, print and even share images. In Lightroom, you can perform almost any kind of color correction: fine-tune colors, adjust exposure, white balance, and sharpness, edit with curves, use HSL, convert to grayscale, remove vignetting and chromatic aberration, etc.

    Lightroom is called the best noise reduction software. This program delivers quick performance even when you need to edit hundreds of large files. If needed, you can use the integrated library and arrange folders in it the way you want.

    It supports non-destructive editing techniques. In case something goes wrong or you dislike the result you got, you can instantly reset the changes and return to the original photo.

    • adobe lightroom interface
    • adobe lightroom color correction

      Adobe Lightroom: Pros and Cons

      Streamlined interface. You will have access to five modules. The first one is used for uploading and organizing images. You can also use it to search for photos on your hard drive. In addition, you can adjust colors and tones, create stunning slide shows, and print your photos using custom parameters. There is also a module that enables you to create web pages to quickly publish your photos online.

      Convenient sorting. Unlike Luminar Neo, Lightroom enables you to create custom tags and filter your entire library based on almost any characteristics available in EXIF and IPTC metadata. You can search by lens or camera and, most importantly, by faces, which greatly simplifies the organization of photos.

      Smart Previews. Creating multiple virtual copies of one photo and editing them in different ways is one of the unique opportunities that you will get when using Lightroom. When you make a virtual copy, you don’t manually copy the source image. Lr just stores editing info in the catalog. This is a very beneficial approach as you don’t clutter the space on the disk.

      Spot Healing Tool. Lightroom offers the Spot Healing Tool (Luminar Neo doesn’t have it). Using it, you can substitute a certain part of a photo by sampling another piece of the same photo. For instance, it comes in handy when you need to clean up a landscape shot by removing distracting elements.

      Professional presets. Lightroom is more popular and exists on the market longer, so the variety of presets that you can download for free is huge.

      Advanced import/export features. It is possible to convert to DNG, apply presets, add metadata, copy photos to any location, create albums/collections from available photos, change the name of a file and more. While exporting images, you can create a watermark (text or transparent image), define the metadata that will be included, save settings as presets for future use, etc.

      Great mobile app. You can use a free app without a subscription. There is no need to buy Creative Cloud products either. However, unless you are a Creative Cloud member, you won’t be able to synchronize your Cloud storage. The app has an upgraded interface, which makes it quite convenient to use. You will quickly find all the tools you need. What makes it stand out is that it allows you to use HDR effects and curves. When using the app, you can edit RAW files and apply Lightroom presets to your images. However, it doesn’t allow you to edit multiple files at once.

      No advanced photo retouching. When writing this Luminar Neo vs Lightroom comparison, I noticed that both programs can hardly be considered flagship software when it comes to image editing. Both of them allow you to perform basic editing.

      You can’t customize the interface. Even though the interface in Lightroom is perfectly adjusted and doesn’t require modifications, I don’t like that I can’t move a couple of tools, as well as delete or add tabs.

      Luminar Neo vs Lightroom: Price

      luminar neo vs lightroom pricing

      After comparing Luminar vs Lightroom in terms of prices, you will see that they offer different subscription plans.

      Luminar Neo is available through a recently introduced subscription model. To use it, you can choose between monthly, yearly, and lifetime subscriptions.

      Explore Plan - $8/mo (when billed monthly) or $260/year (when billed yearly) - allows you to get 1 license for using Luminar Neo. Besides, it includes 40 presets and overlays;

      Pro Plan - $11/mo (billed monthly) or $582/year (billed yearly) - enables you to get 2 licenses for Luminar Neo. You will also get 40 presets and overlays and all available and future extensions;

      Lifetime Plan - $260 - it lets you use 1 Luminar Neo license, 40 presets and overlays, (besides, for $322, you can get access to all the available and future extensions).

      Note: You can buy these plans with a 10% discount if you use the FIXTHEPHOTONEO code.

      Lightroom offers its users to purchase either a monthly or an annual subscription. If you skip the payment, your access to this software will be discontinued.

      Photography Plan (Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop on desktop and iPad, and 20GB of cloud storage (1TB available)) – $9.99/month;

      Lightroom (1 TB Cloud storage) - $9.99/month;

      Creative Cloud All Apps Plan (100GB + collection of 20+ apps) - $54.99/month.

      Note: Regardless of the software you choose, I recommend using a Lightroom trial. Besides, don’t forget to check available Luminar discounts and Lightroom discounts.

      Luminar Neo vs Lightroom: Who Wins?

      If you are still wondering, which option, Luminar Neo or Lightroom, is more suitable for enhancing your photos, keep in mind that both of them are perfect for different purposes. Luminar Neo supports streamlined one-click editing and features an AI-driven toolset. It’s mostly suitable for photographers who need to perform basic photo processing in the shortest time.

      At the same time, Lightroom comes with top-level photo organization and image editing tools. It’s often used by photographers who need to perform deep color correction and who use different types of Adobe software. It will allow them to synchronize their files between different Adobe programs.

      Bonus Tools

      fixthephoto luminar presets

      Using Luminar presets which are called “Looks,” you can quickly enhance your photos and make them look as if they were taken with a professional camera. They allow you to adjust exposure, make colors pop, and fix other issues.

      Luminar has an in-built library of presets, however, you won’t be able to use it for many tasks. Because of this, many photographers download free and paid presets for Luminar to extend the functionality of this software.