First Impressions Review: Luminar Neptune (2017) Photo Editor for Mac
This is a 100% honest, 100% authentic Luminar Neptune photo editor for Mac software first impressions review. Dadtography received a complimentary download of the Luminar product, but we were not compensated in any way for this post.
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Good Photo Editors are Hard to Find
I feel like I've been on this never-ending search for the perfect photo editor. I took tens of thousands of photos this past year, so I'm looking for the perfect mix of performance and simplicity. I need an editing software program that helps me make awesome looking photos in just a few clicks.
Our first photos edited using Luminar Neptune for Mac
Before we get into our first impressions review of Luminar Neptune (af), we wanted to show off some of our own handy work in the photo editing program. All of the photos you see below in this post are taken by me (Daniel) and edited exclusively in Luminar Neptune version 1.20. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the before and after side-by-side comparisons of each photo inside the app.
You can click any photo on this page to view a larger version.
Luminar Neptune - Is it easy to use?
In two words: "Uh, yeah".
I am a huge fan of awesomely edited photos. I am not a huge fan of photo editing software that takes days, weeks or longer to learn how to use.
I've seen some photographers and editors do amazing things with their photography. I want that for my photos, but I really just don't have time (or the will) to learn all of the advanced techniques. I want good photo edits fast.
Check out my Luminar Neptune 30 second demo video.
I put together this quick video (there's no audio, so you're safe to watch it at work) that shows how long it took me to edit one of the photos you saw in the gallery above. The video skips me loading and exporting, but I promise those two steps only took about 15 additional seconds.
Check out how I took my original photo (in DNG format), did a few quick edits and had a super clean looking photo with very little effort. This same process can take minutes in other photo editing apps. Believe me, I've been there.
With photo editing this quick and easy, there's really no excuse not to edit my photos now.
Luminar Neptune: Look & Feel First Impressions
If you're like me, you have a love-hate relationship with most of the photo editing software you've tried in the past.
If the app is powerful, it's overly complicated and difficult to learn.
If the app is simple and easy to use, it doesn't do everything that you want it to and you find yourself gravitating back to the more "powerful" editing software tools.
Luminar Photo Editor for Mac: Feature Overview
Let's dig into more of the feature enhancements found in Luminar Neptune. This feature rundown, and my testing are all based on Luminar version 1.20, build 4229. Below are some of the feature highlights you need to know about in this version of Luminar.
What is the "Accent AI Filter"?
I admit when I first read that the Luminar Neptune's biggest feature enhancement was an accent AI (artificial intelligence) feature, I was a bit skeptical.
AI sounds like a marketing gimmick to me. But then I started using the software and I realized how easy this feature makes editing my photos. Accent AI is like having a photo editing assistant in your back pocket. Check out my video to see the Accent AI feature in action. As you can see, I simply add the AI filter and then just drag to my preferred level of intensity. The live preview shows me the results.
The Luminar Neptune Updated Workspace
One upgrade found in the new Luminar Neptune release is an updated workspace within the app. I'd describe the updates generally as more intuitive and simple. When it comes to photo editing software, simple is definitely better if you ask me.
For example, you can close and open "drawers" within the app very easily. These controls are located in the top-right corner and allow you to show or hide your filters panel (on the right) and your presets drawer (on the bottom). This means you can easily show what's important to you and give yourself more room to work on the photo you're focusing on.
There are still powerful features and lots of adjustment capabilities built into the app, but overall, I'd say the updated workspace was a great improvement in the Neptune version of Luminar.
Luminar Neptune Filters & the "Golden Hour" Filter
One of my absolutely favorite filters, and possibly even one of my favorite overall features, is the Golden Hour filter available in Luminar Neptune.
This simple, powerful filter option allows you to add a "golden hour" effect to your photos. Golden hour is that perfect hour or so each morning and evening when the light is juuuuuust right for photography. Well, with this filter, you can make almost any photo look like it was taken at golden hour. It's an awesome feature!
Oh, and if the photo was actually taken during golden hour, it makes them look even more awesome!
Luminar Plugins & Integrations
For those of you that are more advanced photo editing gurus, the plugins and integrations available in Neptune will certainly be of interest.
With Neptune you can now, easily "round-trip" images from Luminar to Aurora HDR and your favorite Creative Kit apps, and back again. This provides more flexibility and power to your advanced workflows without slowing you down in the process.
Advanced Vignette Filter
Last, but certainly not least, for this quick first impressions review of Luminar Neptune, I wanted to mention the advanced vignette filter available.
A well-placed vignette can really help distinguish a good photo edit from a great one. The power and control that Luminar Neptune provides with vignette filters is amazing and helps you to get that perfect vignette effect. See below for a comparison of a photo both with and without a vignette filter applied.