Luminar vs Lightroom: what is better for batch edit? After Skylum turned the photo industry upside down with the release of Luminar 4, both beginner and professional photographers are trying to decide what software is better.
Which program is my favorite and is Luminar 4 better than Lightroom? To answer these and many other questions, I’ve compared Luminar vs Lightroom, two professional color grading software.
Luminar is very popular among beginners, since all the tools are located on a simple interfaced being grouped in certain modules.
After a recent update that I’ve already described in my Complete Luminar review, developers significantly increased functionality, and also made it possible to use the program not only autonomously, but also as a Photoshop plugin, Lightroom, PS Elements and Apple Photos.
Unlike Lightroom, which requires a monthly subscription, Luminar 4 is a one-time purchase. The price includes ongoing updates and technical support.
AI for landscape photographers. In order to edit the sky in a landscape photo, you do not need to use masks, as it has become an automated process – intelligent algorithms select only the sky, leaving small details such as leaves, grass, birds or hair intact. In addition to the main tasks, the tool removes unnecessary artifacts such as halos and hard edges. Thus, the original image corresponded to the edited sky.
Customizable workspace. Luminar has fully customizable panels and tools. You can delete, add or transfer a needed tool to a certain panel. This feature is significantly inferior to the same Capture One Pro, but it is still better than Lightroom, which has nothing similar to offer.
Advanced batch editing features. Being one of the best photo editing software for PC, Skylum Luminar 4 has profound batch editing capabilities. You can not only apply presets, but also adjust other parameters, such as brightness, contrast, shadows, white balance, and even HSL. Noise settings adjustment during batch editing is limited only to brightness and color sliders.
Automated Dodge and Burn. Luminar 4 has Dodge and Burn. Moreover, the developers went further and automated it.
Multi-Layer editing. You can apply several layers on top of each other or use them separately, to get exactly the look you need.
Top-quality filters and effects. Plug-ins and filters such as Smart Tone filter, Sun Rays filter, Orton Effect, Golden Hour are unique and designed exclusively for this software. The Smart Tone allows you to easily adjust the exposure without mixing colors and brightness, and, the Orton Effect, will give the image a special glow, making it sharp, but with a soft look.
NO face recognition. Preparing this Luminar and Lightroom compare post, I found out that searching in the former in possible by tags and keywords. There is no face recognition feature. This is not a crucial problem, but the time spent on working with the entire photo album will increase greatly.
Poor export capabilities. Luminar offers only basic export options, such as image size, color space, file format.
Lightroom is even called the best noise reduction software. This program can keep high speed working even with hundreds of large files. If needed, you can use the integrated library and arrange folders in it the way you want.
The best feature is a non-destructive technique. In case something goes wrong or you dislike the result you got, you can instantly reset the changed and return to the original photo.
Convenient sorting. Despite the fact that Luminar 3 and higher offers searching and sorting files by geo-tags, tags and stars, in Lightroom you can 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 photographers using Lightroom get. 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 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 which you can download for free is huge.
Camera profiles. Lightroom photo software includes a collection of color profiles and allows users to apply them to various brands and cameras. Luminar comes with 1 default profile and its set of camera profiles is suitable for a smaller number of cameras (e.g. there is no fitting option for Fuji models).
Advanced import/export features. It is possible to convert to DNG, apply presets, add metadata, copy photos in a second location, create albums/collections from available photos, change the name of the 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.
NO advanced photo retouching. Comparing Luminar vs Lightroom in terms of photo retouching, I can say that the latter is much inferior to the Skylum product. Unlike Luminar, where you have Dodge and Burn and Layers tools at your disposal, Lightroom is focused only on color correction. Lr offers the possibility to make basic adjustments, but unfortunately, it is far from the capabilities of Luminar.
You can’t customize the interface. Despite the fact that the interface in Lightroom is perfectly adjusted and, possibly, doesn’t require modifications, I don’t like that I can’t move a couple of tools, delete or add tabs.
Only for image color correction. The program is aimed at satisfying color grading needs.
If we talk about Luminar vs Lightroom from the point of view of their pricing policy, there may be some confusion. The thing is that when you buy Lightroom, you need to get the subscription. It implies monthly expenses ($9.99 - $20.99).
Luminar 4 is available as a stand-alone software, for $89.99. But the problem is that the price of the program does not include further updates, and when a new version is released, you will have to buy the software again.
Evaluating all the pros and cons of both programs, I can name my winner. It is the Adobe product. Luminar is a serious competitor, but in some aspects, Lightroom is far ahead of it. Advanced photo organization settings and export features are weak points of Luminar. The photo quality and image retouching are on a decent level.
Luminar 4 is highly-praised by novice users due to a broad range of automated features, which make image editing fast and effortless. The results you get in Luminar look professional and beautiful.
Lightroom is a go-to program for pros and aspiring users, who like to be in full control over the photo color correction. Though it doesn’t have embedded layers, you can quickly transfer your project to Photoshop and finish editing images there. Generally, I recommend resorting to Lr.
Each program has interesting features and tools, so the choice solely depends on your personal requirements and desires. Anyway, use these freebies to reduce the time spent on image color correction.
Need presets to edit street photos? This filter may be a perfect variant. It raises contrast, accentuated ted tones and makes color rich. You can also use it for portrait, wedding and fashion shots.
Use this matte Lr plug-in to enhance close-up portraits. It will help fix the skin tone and highlight important details. The photo will become lighter and tender. If you want to edit your pictures in accordance with modern standards, you will be on the right track with this tool.
To boost brightness and contrast a bit, make use of this preset. The foreground will become more pronounced. I suggest applying this filter to landscape photos, but you can experiment with other genres as well.
This free film filter gives your photo a vintage and blurry effect that will surely attract attention. By softening the glare and increasing blacks, the preset makes colors more saturated, adding a dramatic atmosphere.
Use this free preset for images with dull colors and slight overexposure. It will increase contrast, which results in brighter colors and will add a gentle dark shade to make the skin tone beautiful.