Opening Images

Luminar offers many easy-to use as well as powerful controls to improve your image. The first step of course is opening a picture within the application.

How to Open a Photo

There are several ways to open images based on your personal preference. Each of these four methods generates the same outcome, so choose the one that works best for you.
1. First, launch Luminar.
2. You can now open a supported file format using any of these methods.
  • At the startup screen, click the Load Image button to navigate to and open a file.
  • Choose File > Open... to navigate to and open a file.
  • To open an image you recently edited, choose File > Open Recent.
  • You can also drag a photo directly onto the Luminar application in the Dock.
3. Your photo opens into the Canvas ready for editing. 


The image background can also be changed. By default it is dark gray. But it can be lightened, as desired. Select the menu item View > Background or right-mouse click on the image background to select a new background color for the image.

How to Develop a RAW Photo
When working with raw files, it is recommended that you apply the Raw Develop filter to the image in order to fine-tune the raw image. You can apply the filter to any raw photo:
1. Make sure an image is open in Luminar.
2. Click the Add Filters button.
3. Choose RAW Develop from the Essential category of filters. 
You can only have one instance of this effect and it will always apply at the top of the filter stack before other filters.
4. You can also apply the Raw Develop filter by using some of the built-in workspaces.


A close equivalent to the RAW Develop filter is the similarly named Develop filter. This is designed for use on non-raw files such as TIFF or JPEG. You can only have one RAW Develop or Develop filter applied per image.

The Adjust tab contains the essential color and tone adjustments that should be made using the raw file. This sets the stage for all the adjustments that come after.
  • White Balance. Use the White Balance preset list to choose from a variety of presets that are similar to a camera’s white balance menu.
  • Temperature. Use this slider to warm or cool a shot. This adjustment essentially adds Cyan or Yellow to an image to change its color temperature.
  • Tint. This adjusts the amount of Green or Magenta that is added to a shot. It is useful for removing color casts from an image.
  • Exposure. Adjusts the global luminance of the image. Moving this slider to the left results in a darker image (reduction of exposure value). Moving this slider to the right results in a brighter image (increase of exposure value).
  • Contrast. Adjusts the contrast of the image. Contrast is the difference in luminance or color that makes an object in an image distinguishable from another. Practically speaking, contrast is determined by the difference in the color and brightness of an object in relation to other objects within the same field of view.
  • Highlights. Adjusts the brightness of the brightest areas of the image. Moving the slider to the right cause very bright areas to become brighter, while moving the slider to the left, makes them darker.
  • Shadows. Adjusts the brightness level of the darkest areas of the image. Moving the slider to the right will cause such areas to become brighter and additional details will appear. When moving to the left, such areas become darker, and the number of shadow areas in the image generally increases.
  • Whites. Adjusts the white point of the histogram and white tones in the image. When moving to the right, the brightest tones will become brighter while the histogram stretches to the right. Moving the slider to the left will cause white tones in the image to become darker and the histogram to compress to the left.
  • Blacks. Sets the black point of the histogram or black tones in the image. Moving the slider to the right, black tones become brighter and the histogram compresses to the right. Moving the slider to the left, black become darker and the histogram stretches to the left.
  • Clarity. Allows users to increase the contrast in the midtones introducing more depth between the relationships of values that lie in the middle of the histogram.  

Lens Correction
This set of controls lets you apply lens corrections to a photo. These are designed to remove flaws in the image cause by the lens or handling. The Lens Correction command easily fixes all kinds of lens distortion, from barrel and pincushion to chromatic aberration and vignetting. This is a useful way to compensate for flaws caused by the lens.
  • Distortion. Drag to the left to increase the barrel shape of the lens. Drag to the left to pinch and compensate for wider angle lenses. You may need to crop the layer or use the Scale command in the Transform controls to compensate for gaps at the edges.
  • Chromatic Aberration FIx. Chromatic aberration is another type of color fringing. It often happens on telephoto lenses and in areas of high contrast. It tends to show up as magenta or green edges.
  • Devignette. Removes any darkening at the edges of an image caused by the lens itself. This is a corrective command, not a stylizing command. If you want an artistic vignette, be sure to explore the Vignette filter. 

It is also possible to transform the shape of a photo to compensate for perspective issues or problems caused by the camera’s physical position. With the Transform tool there are many options available for changing the position, rotation, and scale of a layer. The Transform tab is the third tab in the Raw Develop and the Develop filter.
Adjust any of the following properties as needed to transform the image:
  • Vertical. This tilts the image by rotating on the X-axis. This tilts the image forwards or backwards and can help compensate for an image with any keystoning problems. This type of problem causes vertical lines to appear skewed and is often caused by the camera shooting from age by rotating on the Y-axis. This angles the image from side to side and solves the problems caused by shooting at an angle in relation to the subject.
  • Horizontal. This adjustment tilts the image on the Y-axis. It can help compensate for perspective issues caused by shooting off-angle from your subject.
  • Rotate. Rotates the entire canvas on the Z-axis and can be useful for straightening a crooked photo.
  • Aspect. This command changes the aspect ratio of a photo. Dragging the slider will expand the height or the width while contracting the opposite direction for the second value.
  • Scale. Use the Scale command to effectively crop the transformed photo. This is a useful way to hide gaps after transforming a photo.
  • X Offset. This shifts the transformed image left or right.
  • Y Offset. This shifts the transformed image up or down. 

Supported File Types
Luminar is designed to open a wide range of file formats. This ensures compatibility with most cameras as well as common graphic formats. Supported file types include:

  • PNG
  • JPEG
  • TIFF (8-bit and 16-bit)
  • Apple HEIF files
  • PSD (Mac only)

  • .CR2
  • .NEF
  • .ORF
  • .RAF
  • .ERF
  • .ARW
  • .RW2
  • .DNG
  • .PEF
  • and more 

Download the full Luminar 2018 User Guide for Mac in PDF Format

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