Learn How To Add A Dramatic Glow Effect To Your Pictures In Just A Few Easy Steps. This Technique Is Perfect For Creating Professional-looking Photos That Will Stand Out From The Crowd.

Ever wondered how some photos have that magical, dreamy shine? That's the photo glow effect in action. It's a favorite tool among photographers to make images stand out!

Want to learn how to make a glow in your own pictures? You're in the right place. This guide will break it down for you step by step.

Let's dive in and give your photos that special touch!

What is It?

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(2)

The glow effect is like a soft light that seems to shine from a photo. Think of it as a gentle halo around the things you're looking at in a picture. Here's a simple breakdown:

  • Where It Comes From: Sometimes, it happens naturally, especially when photos are taken during the golden hour – that's the short time after sunrise or just before sunset.
  • Digital Magic: If we don’t get that natural glow, no worries! With photo-editing tools, we can add it later. It's like adding a sprinkle of magic to the picture.
  • What It Looks Like: It is soft, maybe a bit blurry, and can be warm like candlelight or cool like moonlight.
  • Where We See It: It's not just for portraits or landscapes. This effect can be added to almost any photo, from products to buildings, making them pop and look special.

Overview of the Glow Effect's Impact on Photographs

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(3)

The glow effect isn’t just a fancy term in the photography world; it's a transformative tool that can change the very essence of a photograph!

Depth and Dimension

This effect can add depth to photos that wasn't present before. By subtly highlighting certain areas, it gives images a three-dimensional feel, making them pop off the screen or page.

Emotion Amplifier

A subtle glow can evoke strong emotions. It can create a sense of nostalgia, make moments seem magical, or infuse images with warmth and softness.

Focal Point Enhancement

Using this effect strategically can draw the viewer’s eye to a particular part of the photo. Whether it's a person's eyes in a portrait or the sun setting behind a landscape, the glow can be used to emphasize what's truly important in a picture.

Professional Touch

The glow effect gives photos a polished, professional finish. It's often what separates amateur shots from those you might see in magazines or art galleries.

Mood Setting

Depending on how it’s applied, the glow can set the mood of a photograph. A gentle glow can create a calm, serene atmosphere, while a more pronounced one can generate excitement and energy.

In essence, the glow effect is more than just a visual enhancement; it's a powerful tool that influences how viewers perceive and connect with an image. As we delve deeper into how to create this effect, keep in mind its potential to elevate every shot you take!

Bringing Out a Dreamy, Ethereal Look in Photos

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(4)

When you look at a photo and feel it has a magical or dreamlike quality, chances are, you're witnessing the charm of the glow effect. But how does it create this feeling, and more importantly, how do you add a glow effect to a picture? Let’s break it down:

The Dreamy Touch

The glow effect wraps images in soft light, blurring harsh edges and making every detail seem like it’s from a dream. It's the visual equivalent of a soft lullaby or a gentle whisper, making everything appear softer and more distant.

Ethereal Ambiance

"Ethereal" means delicate and light, almost otherworldly. This effect captures this by adding a halo of light around subjects. This can give the feeling of a moment suspended in time or a scene from a fairy tale.


One of the common tools photographers use to get this effect is the "soft glow filter" available in many photo-editing software, including Luminar Neo. This filter instantly diffuses sharpness and introduces a gentle radiance, making it easier to achieve that dreamy look. 

Luminar Neo, in particular, offers advanced AI-driven tools that provide both precision and simplicity in adding such effects.

Simplicity in Application

Adding a glow effect isn’t about overpowering the original photo. Instead, it's about enhancing its best parts. So, even beginners can sprinkle a touch of magic onto their images!

So, the glow effect is a bridge that connects the real and the imagined. It invites viewers into a realm where everyday moments become extraordinary memories.

When to Use It

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(5)

The glow effect, with its variations like the "glow outline effect," can bring an enchanting touch to photographs. Knowing when to use it and in which form can make the difference between a photo that feels authentically radiant and one that seems artificially enhanced. Here are some ideal scenarios:

Backlit Portraits

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(6)

What's a backlit portrait? Imagine a person standing with the sun or another light source behind them. This creates a natural halo or rim light around their silhouette. Applying the glow effect here for a more defined edge enhances this natural illumination, making the subject stand out while infusing the image with warmth and depth.

Landscapes with Light Sources

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(7)

Whether it's the glow of a setting sun, the shimmer of a city skyline at dusk, or the twinkle of stars in a night sky, landscapes with prominent light sources are perfect candidates. The effect or its outlined counterpart can intensify the brilliance of these lights, adding a magical touch to the entire scene.

Golden Hour Shots

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(8)

The golden hour, that brief time after sunrise or before sunset, offers a naturally diffused light that’s just begging for a touch of glow. Photos taken during this time can benefit from a subtle effect or the outline for more distinct highlights, accentuating their inherent beauty.

Images with a Soft Mood

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(9)

Think misty mornings, fog-covered landscapes, or dreamy beach scenes. Any photo that already has a soft, ethereal mood can be further enhanced with the glow effect, deepening its dreamlike quality.

However, a word of caution: Overusing or applying it where it doesn't fit can lead to images feeling forced or overly edited. As with all editing tools, it's essential to use the glow effect judiciously, always keeping the story and emotion of the photo in mind.

Key Tools

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(10)

Achieving a captivating glow effect involves leveraging a combination of photo-editing tools and techniques. Here’s a succinct guide:

  • Photo-Editing Software: Luminar Neo stands out with its AI-driven tools designed for effects like glow, simplifying the editing process while producing professional results.
  • Soft Glow Filter: A common feature in editing software, including Luminar Neo, instantly adds radiance to images, allowing customization for the perfect intensity.
  • Blending Modes: Techniques like 'Soft Light', 'Overlay', and 'Screen' help enhance the glow's brightness and integration into the image.
  • Plugins: Extensions, like those supported in Luminar Neo, add specialized functions for refined glow effects.
  • Brush and Masking Tools: For selective application, these tools allow you to pinpoint where the effect appears or is removed.

Advanced yet easy-to-use photo editor

Get Luminar Neo Now

Armed with these tools, you can effortlessly transform your photos, adding that dreamy touch!

Step-by-Step Glow Effect

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(11)

Preparing the Image

  • Backup Layer: Always start by creating a backup layer to preserve the original image.
  • Settings Adjustments: Tweak basic settings like brightness, contrast, and sharpness for an optimal base.

Creating the Glow

  • Selection: Identify and select areas you want to glow.
  • Brush Settings: Adjust opacity and size for desired intensity.
  • Gaussian Blur: Apply this to the selected areas for a soft, diffused glow.

Final Adjustments

  • Enhance Contrast: This makes the glow pop while retaining image depth.
  • Natural Look: Make slight tweaks to ensure the glow effect blends seamlessly with the original image.

By following this roadmap, you'll have a beautifully glowing image in no time!


Adding a glow effect to pictures has the power to transform ordinary shots into extraordinary memories. As we've discussed, it's not just about how to make a glow effect but understanding the essence and subtleties behind it.

When applied correctly, this effect can elevate your photographs, capturing moments in a dreamy, ethereal light. Whether you're a seasoned photographer or a beginner, by harnessing the tools and techniques, especially with platforms like Luminar Neo, you can introduce a magical radiance to your images!

 Dive in, experiment, and let your photos shine with a dramatic and captivating glow!

Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(12)

Experience the power of Luminar Neo

Try free Try free
Make Your Photos Stand Out With A Glowing Picture Effect Technics I Skylum Blog(14)

Advanced yet easy-to-use photo editor

view plans