Chapter 6. Using Luminar as a plug-in or extension

While Luminar is a full-featured stand-alone application, some users also choose to install and run it as a plug-in for other popular photo editing software.  If you installed after downloading from our website, you should be prompted to install the plug-ins for detected software you already have installed.

If you choose to install as a plug-in at a later time, you can easily do so.
1. Make sure Luminar 3 is open.
2. Simply choose Luminar 3 > Install Plugins… to start on Mac or File > Install Plugins on PC.

3. A new dialog box appears to show you which supported host applications you have currently installed on your computer. The host applications supported by Luminar are:

  • Adobe Photoshop (Mac and PC)

  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (Mac and PC)

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements (Mac only)

  • Apple Aperture (Mac only)

4. Click the Install/Uninstall button for the corresponding apps in which you’d like Luminar to run. In addition (though it’s not listed in this plugin dialog box) Luminar will operate as an editing extension in Photos for Mac.

Note: For best results, quit the host application (such as Photoshop) before you install a plugin. You may be prompted to input your Administrator password to complete the installation.

Using Luminar with Adobe Photoshop

Luminar is a powerful addition to Adobe Photoshop.  To apply Luminar 3 as a filter, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure Adobe Photoshop is open.

  2. Open an image you’d like to enhance.

  3. Choose Filter > Skylum Software > Luminar 3… 
A new dialog appears to indicate that Luminar is running.

  4. Luminar should automatically open the image you were editing. 
If needed, click the Luminar icon in your Dock or Taskbar to switch to Luminar.

  5. Make any edits or adjustments as needed in Luminar.  Use Luminar Looks or Workspaces to speed up your editing workflow.

  6. When done, click the Apply button to send the adjusted image back to Photoshop.

Note: Luminar can operate as a Smart Filter in Photoshop. If you designate a Photoshop layer as a Smart Filter, then launch the Luminar plug-in as normal to make edits. When you return to Photoshop you can always double-click on the layer and return to Luminar with all edits intact.

Using Luminar with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC

Images in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC (or Lightroom 6) can be easily handed off for editing in Luminar. To exchange a file from Lightroom Classic CC to Luminar, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC is open.

  2. Choose your image(s) in Lightroom Classic CC                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    from the Library or Develop modules that you want to work on with Luminar.

  3. Choose Photo > Edit In > Luminar 3 or right-click on the Image and select Edit In > Luminar 3.

  4. A new dialog opens.  Depending upon the type of file selected you’ll need to make a choice.

  • Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments.  This is the default action for Raw files or images that have been edited.  Any adjustments made in Lightroom can be applied to a high-quality TIFF.

  • Edit a Copy. This option takes the original photo and makes a duplicate high-quality file for editing.  This option works well for non-raw files or if you want to reset a raw file to no adjustments before editing.

  • Edit Original.  The original file is opened directly in Luminar.  This workflow will overwrite your original file and isn’t recommended for most users.

5. Click Edit to send the file to Luminar 3. A new file is added to your Library and stacked with the original in your Library.

6. Click the Luminar icon in your Dock or Taskbar to switch to Luminar.
7. Make any edits or adjustments as needed in Luminar.  Use Luminar Looks or Workspaces to speed up your editing workflow.
8. When done, click the Apply button to send the adjusted image back to Lightroom.

Using Luminar with Apple Aperture

Working with Luminar through Aperture is very similar to the way it behaves with Lightroom. To exchange a file from Aperture to Luminar, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure Apple Aperture is open.

  2. Choose your image(s) in Aperture from the Library that you want to work on with Luminar.

  3. Choose Photo > Edit In > Luminar 3 or right-click on the Image and select Edit In > Luminar 3.

  4. A new image is created and sent to Luminar.

  5. Make any edits or adjustments as needed in Luminar.  Use Luminar Looks or Workspaces to speed up your editing workflow.

  6. When done, click the Apply button to send the adjusted image back to Aperture.



Using Luminar as a Photos for macOS Extension

If the version of the macOS system on your Mac is newer than 10.11 you can use Luminar as an extension to Photos for Mac. Here’s how to activate the Extension.


  1. Choose  > System Preferences.

  2. Choose Extensions.

  3. Choose Photos.

  4. Select the extensions that you'd like to use. Be sure to mark Luminar 3.

  5. Launch Photos for macOS from your Applications folder.

  6. Choose an image to edit in your Photos library.

  7. Click the Edit Photo button.

  8. Click the Extensions button and choose Luminar 3.

  9. Make any edits or adjustments as needed in Luminar.  Use Luminar Looks or Workspaces to speed up your editing workflow.

  10. When done, click the Save Changes button to send the adjusted image back to Photos 
for macOS.

Using Luminar with Adobe Photoshop Elements

Luminar works with Adobe Photoshop Elements on a Mac.  To apply Luminar as a filter, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure Adobe Photoshop Elements is open.

  2. Open an image you’d like to enhance in the Photo Editor module.

  3. Choose Filter > Skylum Software > Luminar 3… 
A new dialog appears to indicate that Luminar is running.

  4. Luminar should automatically open the image you were editing. 
If needed, click the Luminar icon in your Dock or Taskbar to switch to Luminar.

  5. Make any edits or adjustments as needed in Luminar.  Use Luminar Looks or Workspaces to speed up your editing workflow.

  6. When done, click the Apply button to send the adjusted image back to Photoshop Elements.


Using Luminar with Aurora HDR 2019

If you have Aurora HDR 2019 installed on your system, Luminar 3 is automatically installed as a plugin.  This allows you to run Luminar as an add-on module when editing in Aurora HDR.

  1. Make sure Aurora HDR 2019 is open.

  2. Open an image you’d like to develop or merge a bracketed series together.

  3. Apply any desired edits with the Aurora HDR controls.

  4. Choose Plugins > Luminar 3 … 
A new dialog appears to indicate that Luminar is running.

  5. Luminar should automatically open the image you were editing. 
If needed, click the Luminar icon in your Dock or taskbar to switch to Luminar.

  6. Make any edits or adjustments as needed in Luminar.  Use Luminar Looks or Workspaces to speed up your editing workflow.

When done, click the Apply button to send the adjusted image back to Aurora HDR as a layer.