Testing LUMINAR Lightroom Plug-In

When it comes to photo editing software I am not particularly adventurous and tend to stick to what I know. Having said that, my path in post-processing has taken a rather inconsistent zig-zag path over the years that has landed me where I am, but still with massive gaps of experience and knowledge, especially when I see what others can do with their software. I belong to the generation that was trained with film rolls and had to get it right the first time, which meant no editing thereafter. You couldn’t even see the photograph until it was developed. The digital age brought many changes and photographers became lazier, Taking as many shots as possible, without really considering the composition. The magic of post-editing software allows one to cut and paste here and there to compose the perfect image.

Dümmer See Luminar
Taking Flight (Variations of Monochrome/ Luminar) ©MTHerzog

For a few years I just did the rudimentary things on the in-built Windows photo editor on the computer, a lot of trial and error, and everything self-taught. Then I had to run a few newsletters and got started with blogging, so I had to upgrade my techniques to make my creations more viable for public consumption. I was given a crash course with Corel Photo Paint and stuck to that for over a year, realizing that there was a whole universe out there with techniques I had no knowledge of. Meanwhile, my eight-year-old daughter at the time signed up for a Photoshop after-school activity and started doing things that left my jaw hanging.

HuaHin sunrise2
New Dawn (Seascapes / Luminar) ©MTHerzog

Once I joined the online photography communities I realized that there was no escaping Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and decided to test the waters. Again, much of what I know is self-taught and intuitive, supplemented with video tutorials and hours of trial and error. I am still not crazy nor adept at Photoshop and probably never will be because I don’t believe in completely manipulating a photograph to make it look too artistic and imaginary. I’m old school and want to project emotions and not imagination. Lightroom, on the other hand, has become my basic processing software and it is what I use 95% of the time. What I do appreciate about these two Adobe tools is the highly capable interface among devices and the Creative Cloud, which makes me more mobile without having to lug around all the equipment.

Then I ventured briefly into the Google Nik Tools and fiddled around with them. I like what they can do to colored landscapes and street photography but am not crazy about processing portraits with this particular set. There are some fellow photographers out there who swear by Nik for black and white images, particularly portraits but I tend to disagree on this. The resulting effect of Nik is too dismal and dreary for my taste.

Two days ago I stumbled on a new Lightroom plug-in called Luminar by Macphun and I’ve been engrossed like a child with a new toy. Like Lightroom, there are several pre-sets that you can plug in and play around with. It has the ease of Nik but the complexity of Lightroom and you can move  your image back and forth between Luminar and Lightroom or Photoshop for tweaking here and there. The images in this blog entry have been re-edited with Luminar. I am impressed with the results, but need to explore further until my free trial period runs out, then I have to decide whether or not to invest in the full version.

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