How do you Photoshop your photos on the Mac? Uh, let me guess. Photoshop? Sure. There is no better, no more expensive, no more complex application to enhance photos than Photoshop. That must mean there’s a better way.
Here it is. It’s a Mac application called Luminar and what it does for photographers and their photos is what you could do with Photoshop, if, 1) you could afford the monthly price tag forever, 2) you can afford the night classes at a local community college, or, 3) you’re willing to live, eat, breathe, and sleep Photoshop just to learn how to make a photo look better.
Point. Click. Slide.
Put another way, there is an alternative to Photoshop; especially for photographers who simply want better photos without the above time and expense. It’s called Luminar, specifically Luminar 2018. The secret to good photos is knowing what to click, what to slide, and when.
Luminar gives you photo management tools in the lefthand sidebar so you don’t need Photos or Lightroom from Adobe (you pay $10 a month forever for the privilege of going Photoshop and Lightroom).
Yes, Luminar is not Photoshop and doesn’t claim to be an image design tool. But photographers have used Photoshop for years to enhance photos; despite the expense and the learning curve. You won’t find either one with Luminar as it’s not expensive and the curve to learn is gentle– provided you can point, click and move a slider bar.
The key to success in Luminar are the photo editing filters which are easier to use than a bunch of sliders, yet you can still dodge and burn, shift hue, adjust color from warm to brilliant, add lens correction and transformation tools (there are still slider bars), and even change perspective.
Luminar has a RAW engine that processes files faster, reduces noise, and brings in advanced color processing to match advance sharpening options. Yet, it pays homage to Photoshop by allowing Adobe plugins. How cool is that?
User interface tools are easily accessed via sidebar menus with context sensitive operations.
Many of the image processing tools photographers have used for a decade or so in Photoshop are made easier to understand and use in Luminar. My favorite functions are filters and presets. The presets get you started so you gain an understanding of filters and color, as well as other Photoshop-like effects, but each can be adjusted and saved and reused.
Caveats? Not many but a few and some are similar to what I find in Photoshop.
The user controls are small and seem to disappear within the charcoal. There are no visual cues that a different set of tools has become visible and many of the sidebar options appear to be the same but are not. Those are minor nits for an application that gives Photoshop-like photo enhancement results in less time, for less expense, and for less effort and experience.