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
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
- At the startup screen, click the Open Image button to navigate to and open a file.
- Choose File > Open… to navigate to and open a file.
- You can also drag a photo directly onto the Luminar application in the Taskbar.
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:
- Make sure an image is open in Luminar.
- Click the Add Filters button.
- 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
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.Profile. Are you looking for truly professional control over your raw files? Be sure to give Digital Camera Profiles a try. Luminar recognizes the industry standard DCP files that you may already have on your computer (or have bought from third parties). These offer greater control over how the color and tone in the raw file is handled. Need a bunch of free DCP profiles? Just install the free DNG Converter from Adobe.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. You can also use the White Balance tool to select an area of white or neutral gray to set a custom white balance.
- 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
- Clarity. Allows users to increase the contrast in the midtones introducing more
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.
- Auto Corrections. These are three automatic corrections that can fix your image. They are designed to quickly fix common problems.
- Lens Distortion. Click this option to remove lens distortion automatically. The filter analyzes your image and its metadata to calculate an automatic fix that you can apply in one-click. Get rid of wide angle distortion and get truer perspective lines and more attractive portraits.
- Chromatic Aberration Fix. Chromatic aberration is a 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.
- Defringe. This adjustment can remove halos or edge noise (particularly in high-contrast areas).
- Lens Distortion Slider. Drag to the right 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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:
- JPEG 2000
- TIFF (8-bit and 16-bit)
Popular RAW formats
- and more.
Download the full
Luminar 2018 User Guide for Windows in PDF Format