Luminar Photo Editor for Windows: first look

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 18, 2017
Updated • May 23, 2018

Luminar is a popular photo editor for Apple Mac OS X devices. The company Macphun has released a beta version of Luminar for Windows that brings most features of the Mac software to Windows devices.

Luminar is offered as a beta version currently. You can only download it after you enter an email address on the developer website, and need to use the activation code that is sent to the email address to register the software.

Considering that the Mac version is commercial, it seems very likely that the Windows version will also be commercial and not free.

Luminar for Windows

luminar photo editor

The Windows version of Luminar matches the most important features of Luminar for Mac according to the developer. The highlights are support for one-click presets and photo editing filters, RAW file conversion, and an adaptive interface that adapts to the skill level (and preferences) of the user.

The program displays a short tutorial on first start that you may skip. It highlights some of the key areas in the program interface.

You may load a photo into the program afterwards. Luminar displays the photo, presets, and layer and filter information on the screen.

You can hide the preset and filter sidebar in case you don't require it. You can zoom in and out of the photo, and enable the handy before and after filter.

Before and after divides the photo into two parts: one highlights the original, the other the processed version of the photo. It features a slider that you may move to inspect both the original photo and the modified photo in depth.

The two core features of Luminar for Windows at the time of writing are presets and filters. Presets can be selected with a single-click to modify images. The application groups presets into categories such as travel, portrait or outdoor, and highlights each with a thumbnail image of the processed source image directly in the interface.

This means that you know how the processed image looks like before you select any of the available presets.

Presets consists of one or multiple filters. You can select these filters individually as well, and manipulate them if you have selected a preset.

Luminar ships with dozens of different filters, from AI accent enhancing to filters that modify contrast, brightness or the color temperature.

luminar filters

Filters come with sliders that you use for customization. It may take a second before filter changes are applied to the image. I tried this with a 10 Megabyte images on a fairly recent system, and most filters were applied instantly while some showed a small delay before the changes were visible on the screen.

Luminar for Windows is compatible with all versions from Windows 7 on. The developers plan to release the final version of the photo editor in November 2017.

Features that are supported by the Mac version but not the Windows version will be added to the program. This includes support for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom plugins, tools like erase, denoise or clone, and other features.

Closing Words

Luminar is a user friendly photo editor that is easy to use thanks to the preview system and user interface that it ships with. While not as powerful as Adobe Photoshop and other professional grade editors, it may appeal the most to non-professional photographers.

Now You: Which program do you use to edit photos on your devices?

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  1. YP said on November 26, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    I gullibly bought in to the Macphune’s marketing about Luminar for windows after hearing LR 6 is the last update, thought better start looking at replacement.

    Got my copy after pre-paying discounted price, having tried it on my windows 10 i7 with SSD & 16GB RAM, this software sucks the life out of the PC, it is painfully slow and interface is plain and simply bad having grown up with LR.

    I would not advise anyone to buy this until Macphun put some effort to improve the speed and interface, I emailed them my complaint but no reply after two weeks so that says how much they care about their customers.

    I rather pay £10/month to Adobe then buy this unfinished armature software.

  2. chesscanoe said on September 5, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    I received a Luminar (for Windows) email to upgrade to version . The program may have potential to be great, but it’s too hard to use as the 123 page User Guide pdf is still only written for the Mac AFAIK. The adaptive interface design to me just mysteriously hides the function I assume is there.
    For now I’ll continue to use ON1, along with GIMP, Paint.NET. and IrfanView as appropriate. If a Lumina User Guide for Windows gets written, I will try it again.

  3. Mertens Eric said on August 17, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I downloaded the programm but i didnt recieve any email with Activation Code. What can i do?

  4. Efthimis said on August 15, 2017 at 11:10 am

    I downloaded the programm but i didnt recieve any email with Activation Code. What can i do?

  5. charles yassun said on July 21, 2017 at 11:07 am

    i notice: ” advertisement”

    that means the content is not yours but editor’s

    affinity photo was also a MAC software; now for windows; i tested betas got raw tool, and fantastic text tool
    but lacks of effects, filters and layer options tools. 50 bucks not too expensive but i gave up.

    i won’t have a look at luminar at that time; tell us when you’re ready and sure i will

    there’s raw therapy for raw files ( on win ) there is a soft for mac but the dev team claim it’s not possible to assume a win version

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 21, 2017 at 11:54 am

      If you only notice advertisement, then you block the ad that is displayed underneath it. Advertisement does not mean that the article is an advertisement.

  6. augustwest said on July 19, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    I use both “NIK Collection” and “Lightzone”. Both are free and probably do more.

  7. Croatoan said on July 18, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Martin, is there a good RAW converter and editor?

    Can you make photography articles?

    1. Patrick van Elk said on October 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      If you’re looking for open source software:
      – digiKam
      – darktable
      – RawTherapee

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 18, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      I’m just a dabbler, but I might ask a friend who is a photographer.

      1. Croatoan said on July 18, 2017 at 10:31 pm


  8. TelV said on July 18, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    I’ve been using Faststone Photo Resizer for yonks:

    It’s free, superfast and doesn’t require registration to download. It reduces a 5.93MB screenshot in .bmp format taken in Windows 8.1 to 236Kb without loss of quality and can resize in batch mode as well.

    The Advanced Options menu contains other options similar to the Luminar application including the ability to add a watermark if desired.

  9. chesscanoe said on July 18, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I played with this program yesterday. It can do some cool stuff, but needs their planned additional features to make it more useful. The free Microsoft Photos is a similar but less powerful alternative. The design in places uses too much white space and low contrast small print – they confuse design and function requirements. Registered beta uses are emailed a web conference call invitation to include Q and A on 2017-07-19.

    So far I still prefer to use the free GIMP, IrfanView, and Paint.NET to get the effects I want. If I wanted to spend money on a commercial product, I think I would look elsewhere.

    1. Alina Macphun said on July 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Hi chesscanoe,
      Thank you for your feedback, we appreciate the input! We just wanted to let you know that the Beta version you used is still in the final stages of development. The final product will include many more features and functions than what you saw in this test version. It promises to be truly outstanding in terms of its capacity and performance. I’d encourage you to check out the final version in Autumn–you’ll be able to download it for a trial period for free and check out its full range of possibilities & tools.

  10. Jeff said on July 18, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Oh Gawd what an unusable UI with only wireless obscure icons/glyphs! :P Thankfully there is better software out there.

    1. jed said on July 18, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      What would you recommend?

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