Choosing the best image editing software is complicated, not just because there are so many alternatives, but because they all do different things. It all depends on what you look for most in your photo editing software. Here are ten programs with ten different approaches.
Skylum Luminar and Luminar Flex
Luminar is a clever and innovative photo-editing program that is constantly evolving in new and sometimes unexpected directions. Luminar 4, the latest version, is a radical departure from its predecessor.
The in-built Libraries feature for organizing and browsing your photos is the same, but the editing tools have had a major revamp. The multiple customisable workspaces have been slimmed down into four and the filters have been slimmed down too and locked into these specific workspaces.
It feels constrained and strange compared to the 'old' Luminar, but it's also more locked down and logical. What's more, Luminar Flex, the plug-in version sold briefly alongside Luminar 3, has now been rolled back into the main program and installed alongside Luminar 4 at no extra cost.
Luminar continues to be a strange, bold, exciting and high-value Photoshop alternative that offers instant 'Looks' and some new, out of this world AI augmented imaging technology that is potentially controversial but is also rather extraordinary.
Verdict: 4.5 stars Luminar 4 is an unusual and constantly evolving program. Increasingly, it’s specialising in altered, enhanced and augmented reality effects – and these are exceptionally effective. Luminar also has a full selection of basic photo editing tools like curves, cropping, layers and retouching. It’s a very versatile and effective photo editor.
Almost all the software applications reviewed and described on Life after Photoshop are available as a free trial, and here are the links. I always recommend using the trial version before making your mind up.
Lightroom is probably the automatic go-to program for enthusiasts and experts looking for an all-in-one photo organising and editing program, but it’s not necessarily the best and it’s not popular with everyone, so many will be looking for Lightroom alternatives.
You can open and edit single images in Luminar, and you don’t have to import the entire folder they are stored in first. It’s still important to understand what Luminar is doing, though.
Often you want to apply an effect or adjustment to a whole picture, but not always. Sometimes you only want to apply it to part of the picture, and this is where the Luminar mask tools become really useful.
Luminar is one of the most exciting image editors on the market. It’s also one of the fastest changing and quirkiest, so it’s not always easy to keep up with what’s new, what’s changed and where to find the tools and settings you need and why this list of Luminar tips could prove useful, both […]
The Luminar 4 Library window is where you do all of your image opening, importing and organizing. You select the Library view using the first of three buttons (6) at the top of the tools panel on the right. The second button (7) is for the Edit view. The third Info view (8) simply displays […]
I’m in two minds about this feature. The AI Augmented Sky filter in Luminar 4.2 is spectacularly effective at blending in all sorts of other-worldly objects into regular outdoor skies, even supplying a range of ready-made objects like these twin planets via a drop-down menu. The AI technology merges these objects with your sky so […]
Luminar does things very differently! Both new users and those used to Luminar 3 and earlier versions might wonder where such basic adjustments as levels and curves are hiding… Well they are there, but you need to know where to look. The Luminar 4 interface has four basic workspaces, accessed by buttons on the right […]