Previous Skylum products were designed almost exclusively to serve hobbyist and professional photographers. Luminar AI continues to serve hobbyists and professionals while reaching out to a new, underserved audience.
“There are millions of people who need images to help build their businesses or personal brands, sell their services, or tell their stories to the world.” — Alex Tsepko, Skylum CEO
At first glance, it may seem obvious. But it points to an enormous and often forgotten audience that LuminarAI is purpose-built to serve: communicators.
Who is a communicator?
Not everyone who needs great images to tell stories is a photographer or has access (physically or financially) to a professional photographer. But most of these folks do have access to a mobile phone or, perhaps, an entry-level DSLR or Micro Four Thirds camera.
Many also understand the basics of photography. They can capture useful photos, but they have neither the time nor the desire to learn how to capture great photos. What they want is to take useful shots and have photo editing software that makes it easy to get the most out of them. They may struggle with exposure, composition, and other technical details and lack the confidence to consistently achieve the results they imagine.
We call these folks communicators.
Let’s consider real estate agents. High-end agents hire pro photographers to promote multi-million dollar homes. But every home listing needs good photos to attract buyers, particularly since the advent of Zillow.
Currently, most real estate photos are pretty poor. They’re usually captured on a phone and are poorly framed and underexposed. As home buyers, we accept this as the norm, and so do most realtors. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
How is LuminarAI built to serve communicators?
How might LuminarAI make a realtor’s life easier? It starts with Templates, which power a new AI-guided workflow at the heart of LuminarAI. I’ll share specifics about how Templates work in a future post. For now, consider the following.
- The realtor or homeowner takes photos of the home.
- The realtor does one of the following:
- Posts the unedited photos to the online listing
- Hires an editor to clean up the images, then posts edited photos to the listing
- Little happens, as the photos don’t show off the beauty of the home and the property listing fades into obscurity.
- The realtor or homeowner takes photos of the home.
- The realtor opens one photo in LuminarAI.
- LuminarAI automatically analyzes the photo and suggests several Templates to optimize the color, exposure, and composition.
- The realtor selects the Template they prefer and applies it to all photos of the home. If desired, they can easily adjust the Strength of the Template or customize it in seconds for individual photos.
- The realtor posts far more appealing images to the online listing, making it stand out from the crowd.
At first glance, it may seem LuminarAI is adding extra work. But in reality, it only adds one simple decision: which Template to apply to all the photos. The difference is in the results — photos that stand out and help the business in its mission.
LuminarAI does all the rest, and the results are remarkably better than the unprocessed, flat, poorly composed source photos.
Won’t this impact professional photographers?
The short answer? No.
In meeting the needs of communicators, the ability of LuminarAI to serve advanced photographers — both professionals and hobbyists — is in no way diminished. To the contrary, by thinking of how best to serve communicators, Skylum has developed new approaches and workflows that make life easier for pros and hobbyists while still providing the fine control they require.
But if Skylum makes editing too easy for communicators, won’t that harm professional photographers’ businesses?
Again, the answer is no.
I was fortunate to cover the event where Apple announced the impending release of Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). Like LuminarAI, FCPX represented a sea change in the way editing was to be done. It simplified complex workflows and made video editing much more accessible. And though it did all of this, FCPX remained a professional-level tool.
According to Wikipedia, “Final Cut Pro X was met with mixed reviews as many video editors eschewed its dramatic departure from the traditional editing interface… An online petition was started demanding either the continued development of the legacy Final Cut Pro product or its sale to a third party.”
It was kind of a big deal.
At the FCPX launch event, we conducted many follow-up interviews with audience members in the hall, most of whom were video editing professionals with major feature film credits under their belts. They were split into two camps.
One camp was excited about the problems FCPX promised to solve, making their daily work faster and easier. The other camp complained that it cheapened the art of film editing by making it so simple that anyone could do it.
Nine years later, FCPX and Adobe Premiere are seen as peers and industry leaders with upstart DaVinci Resolve nipping at their heels. AVID, once the go-to video editing tool of professional film and TV editors, is dying a slow, painful death.
Every day, major feature films are cut in FCPX by the most talented, skilled, and artful editors on the planet. At the same time, video communicators use FCPX to quickly cut videos for distribution on YouTube and TikTok. Many of these folks move into the big leagues of film and TV with pro skills in hand and portfolios to match. Even more are happy where they are and build robust businesses around their content with a tool that’s accessible, affordable, and easy to use.
The video editing world has plenty of space for pros, hobbyists, and the communicators that live in between, and FCPX serves them all.
The same will hold true for LuminarAI. Thanks, Apple, for helping to prove that the creative world is big enough to accomodate artists of all skill levels.