Luminar AI Review: First Look at Intelligent Editing

This Luminar AI review is in its infancy. After all, the next generation of Skylum’s powerful photo-editing software has only just been announced. Perhaps you’ve already read our other Luminar review, or you are looking to find an alternative to Lightroom. Either way, this page will continually be updated with more information about Luminar AI as soon as we have it.

Previous versions of Luminar have harnessed artificial intelligence to create stunning, and fast, edits. But it looks like Skylum are about to step things up a gear with the announcement of Luminar AI (or LuminarAI, as they write it).

“Luminar AI will bring an entirely new, non-conventional approach to the world of photo editing,” according to Dima Sytnik, CPO of Skylum. “We’ve designed Luminar AI from the ground up to change how people interact with their images.”

Luminar AI will be available both as a standalone piece of software and as a plug-in that is able to work alongside Photoshop or Lightroom.

Right now, Luminar AI is available at a pre-order discount. With a full release coming towards the end of this year, there is not too long to wait.

What AI tools will Luminar AI have?

This is the big question. It’s pretty bold to name your product this way without a whole host of artificial intelligence packed into the software. We will soon have our hands on a real copy of it, but for now this Luminar AI review will have to focus on what we know so far.

It’s worth noting that whilst the software will be benefiting from AI tools and technology, there are still manual controls and sliders – as you would expect – to retain control over your images.

Things do look interesting, though. The predecessor to Luminar AI (that’s Luminar 4) had a few AI tools already. They’re back again, with Luminar AI retaining the SkyAI, SkinAI, and StructureAI tools. But there are plenty more to be had. Let’s take a look at the tools you can expect this time around:

Luminar AI tools for landscape photography

  • AtmosphereAI and Sky Enhancer will “add depth and detail” to the sky in your shot.
  • SkyAI will quickly mask your sky area – accounting for any tricky foreground elements – and replace the sky in an instant. You can use your own sky photos for this, too.
  • Golden Hour will bring warmth into your shots.
  • Sunrays will allow you to… add sun rays to the image.

luminar ai review

Luminar AI tools for portrait photography

  • BodyAI and FaceAI will allow you to “gently sculpt and refine” your portrait photos.
  • IrisAI will “create eyes” that are “expressive” and “rich”. In non-promotional jargon, that’ll be enhancement of the iris of your subject.
  • SkinAI will remove blemishes and imperfections in the skin. We’ve seen this in Luminar 4, where it was very impressive.

luminar ai review

Other Luminar AI tools for general editing

  • StructureAI boosts detail and texture without affecting the background negatively.
  • CompositionAI will achieve the “perfect crop” and help you to fix crooked images quickly.
  • AccentAI ensures your images have the “perfect exposure and colour.”

We are assured that there will be more tools to come, but these are the ones we know of so far.

Templates will make editing faster

Described as being at “the very core of Luminar AI,” the software has access to something called Templates. By intelligently recognising the content of a photo, Luminar AI will suggest the best template to use in order to speed up the editing process.

The AI technology will harness the template, guiding you through a workflow specific to the photo in question. You’ll retain control over your edits and the tools you want to use, but the AI will ensure your editing is structured and as fast as possible.

How to get Luminar AI

Luminar AI is now available for pre-order here. The first 30,000 photographers to pre-order the software will benefit from a special early bird discount, after which it’ll be available for $79 USD.

Whilst Luminar AI is a stand-alone new piece of software, owners of Luminar 4, Aurora HDR 2019, or Aurora HDR will be able to pre-order for $69 USD. The full price after the pre-order period will be $99 USD.

Luminar AI logo

Frequently Asked Questions

Well, I guess these aren’t actually frequently asked questions since it has just been announced. However, now that you’ve finished reading our Luminar AI review – well, the first look – these are the questions that we imagine you’ll be asking.

Is Luminar AI worth the upgrade from Luminar 4?

It’s hard to say right now, since the software is so new and we haven’t had our hands on an actual copy of it yet.

However, we’ve been consistently impressed by each new version of Luminar that we have seen over the years. All our previous Luminar reviews are on the website, and you’ll see they’ve been getting increasingly better with each version.

So, I’d say it is worth it on paper. The software looks powerful, intuitive, and increasingly user-friendly. Plus, it’s very affordable and right at the cutting-edge of photo-editing technology.

Is Luminar AI a free upgrade to previous Luminar versions?

No. As mentioned previously in this Luminar AI review, the software is a standalone version and will not be a free upgrade for current Luminar users. There is a loyalty price for upgrading, however.

Regardless, we expect that multiple free updates to Luminar AI will be available to those who purchase it. That, after all, has been the case for the previous generations of Luminar.

Is Luminar AI really harnessing artificial intelligence?

It depends whether you get your definitions from the movies or not. Downloading Luminar AI won’t mean a photo-editing robot is delivered to your door, no.

But the software does intelligently analyse individual photos. Instead of adjustments being uniformly applied across all photos, the AI tools will be applied in a unique fashion specific to whatever photo you are editing.

Is Luminar AI non-destructive when editing?

Yes, it seems to be. Previous versions of Luminar have been, and from what we’ve seen that doesn’t seem to have changed with Luminar AI.

Should I use Luminar instead of Lightroom?

Luminar is not trying to takeover from Lightroom when it comes to photo organisation. However, the editing tools are completely different to what Lightroom has to offer. If you want intelligent editing, then go for Luminar.

Is Luminar AI available worldwide?

Yes, you can download Luminar AI in all countries internationally. It is also available in multiple languages.

Has the speed of Luminar AI been improved?

We can’t answer this one just yet, but we’ll be updating this Luminar AI review as soon as we get our hands on a copy.

However, recent updates to Luminar 4 have seen speed improvements and it would be very strange for Luminar AI to slow things down again. So we would hope that, yes, things will be faster.


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Will Nicholls is the founder of Nature TTL and a professional wildlife photographer and film-maker from England. Having been photographing since the age of 12, Will's images have won a string of awards, including the title of "Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year" in 2009 from the British Wildlife Photography Awards. Will is also the author of the book On the Trail of Red Squirrels.

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