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It doesn’t take much effort to make your images sing using Luminar. Scott Bourne has developed workflows that give equal weight to making the image look great and spending as little time as possible.
As a photographer, I have to admit I’d rather spend time behind the camera than the computer. When I am editing photos, I am always mindful of how much time it takes and long ago I decided I would develop workflows that gave equal weight to making the image look great and spending as little time as possible to get it that way.
That decision is much easier to implement now that I primarily use Luminar to edit my photographs. It’s not only fun to use, it’s super easy (which makes it quick.)
I have some tips for anyone who thinks like I do about “speed editing.” Of course, the first thing you might want to think about is getting your image as close to perfect as you can in the camera. This is the easiest way to save time.
Checking composition, framing, and exposure before you press the shutter will take you a long way towards a quick edit.
That said, almost any picture can be improved in post. If you want to save time during this step, there are five things you can do to accomplish that goal.
Workspaces are a new and innovative way of working with your photos. By using one of Luminar’s built-in workspaces (or creating your own) you and the software can quickly adapt to the photo editing tasks at hand.
By tailoring which Filters are visible, you can speed up editing tasks with a guided workflow. Each workspace is just a customized group of filters. (I have three workspaces I created available for you to download and use free of charge at the end of this post.) I truly love this feature and use it religiously.
I spent hours trying to get the shot of an eagle soaring over the mountain range and when I did, my camera settings were slightly flat. So I punched this photo up using Luminar and did it well under a minute.
Presets allow you to make instant changes to your image with one click of a button. Each preset is made up of all the saved filters as well as the settings used for each of those filters.
They are all great and can very quickly, and easily simplify your photo editing and at the same time, help you discover the artwork that is hidden in the photos you’ve already taken. I suggest becoming familiar with them and then digging deeper into the program to learn how to create your own. There’s no faster way to powerfully edit your images than the presets.
Luminar ships with dozens of free presets and if you sign up for a free Skylum account you can download even more free presets. And yep, you guessed it, I have a free preset I created that is available for you to download at the end of this post.
Note that this is my personal workflow. Feel free to adopt or ignore it. The important point is to have a typical routine that you run through every time. The more often you use a consistent workflow, the more familiar you will become with the process and thus the speedier your edits.
I like to begin my editing workflow by fine-tuning my composition. Luminar’s cropping tool is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. Look at the image and see if there’s anything you can crop out (rather than clone out or erase.)
Determine the key elements you want to highlight, and then select your crop ratio to deliver final framing for the image. While you’re at it, you can also adjust the horizon and check your remaining resolution to be sure you have enough pixels to accomplish your final goal whether it be sharing on the web or making a large print.
After cropping I like to remove any remaining distractions from the picture. Luminar’s built-in and quite amazing Object Removal and Spot Healing tools do the trick here.
To speed up the use of these tools I like to use keyboard shortcuts. Command-E selects the erase tool and hitting the right bracket (make larger) and left bracket (make smaller) will adjust the size of the eraser brush on the fly so you can move through the picture.
This image needed lots of help. The framing wasn’t right so I cropped it using Luminar’s 5:4 ratio and got rid of some of the right side of the image which didn’t add much. I also used the Clone & Stamp tool to remove some distracting bright spots at the top of the picture. It was also severely underexposed so I brightened up and made the colors pop.
My next move is to get the Tone Filter in Luminar. It’s got most of what I need for every photo built into one handy filter. Here I adjust exposure, contrast, smart tone, highlight, shadows, whites, and blacks. This accounts for the lion’s share of most of my photo editing. These are the basic controls found in any good photo editor and Luminar makes things easy by combining them into one powerful filter.
I want to briefly mention the Smart Tone slider since this is unique to Luminar. It’s an extremely powerful slider that adjusts the overall brightness of image properly. Move it to the right and the image is more vivid, but it does not work when bright areas become white, as they would using the ordinary exposure slider. Move the slider to the left, the image becomes darker but it won’t block up the shadows. Very cool!
Because I am a freak about trying to get things right in the camera, the application of the Tone filter solves most of my problems.
After that, I add any special filters like the Polarizing filter, the Orton Effect (which gives you a neat glow to your images) or perhaps I will use Dehaze or I will adjust the color temperature.
The last few steps in my workflow are important. And in my opinion, it’s important to save these for last. I use the Details Enhancer filter, the Sharpening filter, and the Denoise Tool - in that order.
Details Enhancer does what it says but the secret to this filter is that it will go a long way to making an image appear sharp. The Sharpening filter can then be used on its lightest setting just to finish the whole picture.
Last but not least I use the Denoise Tool. It is one of the best noise reduction tools around and it’s super easy to use. This command works on a Stamped Copy of the layer (essentially a merged image that has all your Filters applied). As such, this should be the last things you do to an image.
Workspaces & preset by Scott Bourne
Scott has created the following workspaces: Birds, From Mild to Wild, Monochrome. To add the workspace, open any image in Luminar (standalone mode) - click on File - Show Workspaces Folder - drag the .plist file to the Workspaces folder in Finder. To add the preset, go to File - Show Presets Folder and add the .lmp file there.
It doesn’t take much effort to make your images sing using Luminar. I’ve come to the conclusion that while it is VERY powerful, it’s the easiest and quickest photo editor I’ve used. Give it a try. It’s fun and after all, that is one of the best things about photography.
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