How to edit a photo in Luminar 4

Despite the fact that Photoshop is an industry-standard for photo editing, there are other options in the editing software market. One of the popular and powerful tools is Luminar 4 from Skylum Software. Let me demonstrate how to edit a photo using Luminar 4.

Here is the process of How to edit a photo in Luminar 4 step by step:

  • Open an image in Photoshop or standalone Luminar 4 App
  • Apply AI Sky Replacement if needed
  • Adjust replaced Sky
  • Proceed with detailed Color enhancement
  • Apply Details Enhancer
  • Apply final Color Enhancer

There are 2 options for opening a photo in Luminar: you can run a standalone Luminar application, or you can run it as a filter directly from Photoshop. I will use the second option.

Luminar 4 edited photo


Open an image

I will open and RAW image in Photoshop and duplicate the background layer.

Then go to Filter->Skylum Software->Luminar 4. The Luminar filter app opens in a new window.

The first step in the editing process would be using the Light menu and start to edit and enhance basic photo parameters. But as my photo has quite a dull and monotone sky, I decided to replace it with a new one. Sky Replacement is a feature where Luminar excels.

Apply AI Sky Replacement if needed

You can choose one of the default skies included in Luminar by default, or load a custom Sky image. Sky replacement tool is placed in the Creative submenu as a very first item. Actually, they call it the AI Sky Replacement tool. There is AI behind (artificial intelligence) helping to adapt new sky to the current photo environment, and it works great.

Go to Sky selection and choose one of the pre-defined skies or load your own Sky image.

Luminar loads the new sky image. Now you can enhance more parameters of the to tune it up even more.

Adjust replaced Sky

Use Horizon Blending to blend better the horizon of your image with the new replacement. In my case, it is not needed as I am replacing a part of a photo without the horizon visible.

Horizon position allows you to slightly move the replaced sky image to place it perfectly as needed.

Use Relight Scene to apply overall lighting to the whole photo that matches with the replaced sky.

Further advanced settings allow you very detailed enhancements like the Close Gaps function merging the sky with the rest of the photograph. Sky Defocus blurs the sky. You can even set the Atmospheric Haze, Sky temperature, and Sky Exposure.

When Sky replacement is done, return to essentials and set the overall lighting settings of the image. Essential Light settings are very similar to Photoshop Camera Raw Filter or Lightroom settings and are self-navigating.

Proceed with detailed Color enhancement

The detailed color enhancement will start with subtle overall Saturation and Vibrance settings. In fact, I usually use just the vibrance as the overall saturation is deforming the color look of a photo a little bit.

The major enhancements I perform in the Advanced Settings option and set precisely Hue, Saturation, and Luminance settings for all colors where needed subsequently. For example, to increase the drama in the sky, I usually select the blue color and drag the luminosity slider to the left side.

All the settings can be masked by the Edit Mask option. Here you can paint the mask, erasing it, or invert the mask.

All enhancements in Luminar 4 can be done in separate layers. For example, you can create as many Adjustment layers as you need. On each Adjustment Layer, you can perform different settings or edits and even mask it where needed.

There is a specific type of a layer – Stamped Layer. This function merges all visible layers below and creates a merged one.

Apply Details Enhancer

The Details enhancer is another powerful feature in Luminar 4. It generates precisely sharpened details.

Set the amount of Small details, Medium Details, and Large details as needed. Actually, the result is so stunning that you could tend to over-do it. Here I use the masking option. I do want to over-sharpen my sky. I choose Edit Mask and mask-out the sky.

Apply final Color Enhancer

As a last step I select the PRO tab on the right side and go to Color Enhancer.

Here is the most powerful function the Brilliance increasing overall color richness in the whole photo.


Luminar 4 is a surprisingly powerful and yet easy-to-use photo editing tool. I would recommend it also for Photoshop professionals as a powerful filter that can be included in the photo post-processing framework. It brings stunning results just by clicking a couple of buttons and dragging some sliders.

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