Photo Editing Software

glenwilson

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Over the last few days I have been using the free trials of Aurora HDR and Luminar by Skylum – Great Photography Differently You can get trial version that are fully functional for about 10 days.

For batch processing and editing of photos the main applications have tended to be from Adobe with Lightroom and Photoshop. I purchased both of these as I found they were good for the photography I was doing and I could claim they were a work expense when I was taking car photos.

Adobe then went to the subscription model which was OK as I could justify the cost. Currently the photography plan is £120 a year for Lightroom and Photoshop. Which is fine if that does what you need but in the end you never own the software. I had some old versions of LR and PS and have been using them when I cancelled the subscription. They are both about 5 years old and there are features that I miss.

Like most applications it takes a while to get used to them and build up your skill set but I have been impressed by what I have been able to do so far. A lot of the adjustments are named for real people so it is a lot easier to understand compared to Photoshop. For a casual photographer Luminar does an awful lot that Photoshop does and only costs £53 (normally £64).

Aurora is used for HDR images usually a combination of 3 or more images taken at various exposures and combined to create a much higher dynamic range than you can normally get in a single image. Aurora is £92 so you would need to do a lot of HDR to justify it but you can see an example in the castle pictures below.

The Yellowstone photo is an old one that I tweaked. Some really old photos have had some life put back into them with Luminar and some that I would have deleted can be rescued. I am definitely thinking of getting Luminar when the trial period ends. I like Aurora but would need to see if it is worth that money. If it was on offer then I would definitely consider it.

Obviously both are not free but personally I think they are viable alternatives to Adobe's subscription model if you are into photography.

Castle 2.jpg
Castle 1.jpg


Yellowstone.jpg
 

glenwilson

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The editing screen in Luminar is pretty familiar and there are a lot of things you can do quite easily that can be a pain in Photoshop. For example straightening the horizon and adjusting for lens distortions is easy - just using a slider. The image below was taken on a wide lens and was slightly tilted but it was quick and easy to straighten and remove the barrel distortions. At the bottom there are a selection of pre-set adjustments that you can select an preview as a starting point.

After a couple of hours playing it is quite easy yo find the adjustment that you want to do - in Photoshop I often have to resort to the help and even then get baffled by the terminology they use.

Screen.jpg
 

General_Misery

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Thanks, very helpful. Like you, I own older versions of LR and PS but can’t justify the annual subscription fee. I also find some actions quite daunting (and tedious) even with step-by-step instructions. Can you elaborate on the user friendliness of both Aurora and Luminar? Do they support plug-ins?

Thanks (y)
 
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glenwilson

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Thanks, very helpful. Like you, I own older versions of LR and PS but can’t justify the annual subscription fee. I also find some actions quite daunting (and tedious) even with step-by-step instructions. Can you elaborate on the user friendliness of both Aurora and Luminar? Do they support plug-ins?

Thanks (y)

I have to admit that I am only getting started using them. The trial veersions are fully functional and just need and email address so you don’t have to cough up a credit card number at all. I think both of these work as a plug-in for LR and PS but no sure f there are any plug-ins for them yet. There seems to be an update for Luminar next month which will give it functionality more like lightroom for file management. What I am seeing is hat they are getting endorsed and supported by a lot of pro photographers who are switching from Adobe. I don’t mean they are being sponsored to change but seem to find that they do what they want.

User friendliness:

Both are reasonably complex but i feel the names they use for functions are more like normal names you would associate. Adobe has its roots in printing and art which is why a lot of the terms and names used are fine if you have a printing or art/illustration based background.

I like that there are some basic presets you can try on an image and they have a slider to alter the level of the effect. You can then adjust individual aspects s needed. I really like the way you can straighten and correct an image of a building so the perspective is much better. My example above looks more head on then it was and it was easy todo. Trying that in PS was a nightmare just locating the options. The grouping of functions and tools in Luminar seem to be more intuitive than in PS. After a few hours I have got used to where to look. Thee are shortcuts but I haven’t really tried them yet.

I will buy Luminar as it does a lot that can be done in LR and PS in one app. Aurora is great but you really need to do a lot of HDR to justify the cost.
 
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glenwilson

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I got Luminar as part of a charity bundle that had loads photography training stuff - you are never too old to learn something new.

In the bundle was Photolemur which normally costs $35. It is basically an automated photo enhancer app. For me it does a pretty good job at tweaking photos, adjusting brightness, contrast, clarity and so on. If you do take a lot of photos but can’t be arsed with Photoshop, Lightroom, or even Luminar it may be worth a look. I will try and do some before and after photos at some point.

https://photolemur.com/v3?utm_expid=140944881-63.gCB1IYLRQF2RSTmaL0w6ew.0
 

RIZLOID

EL Gringo
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Now thats my sort of app.
Downloaded the free version and it opens up a small box/window you then drag a photo into the box, it does its funkyness and presto a better photo, even I can do it :LOL:
 
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glenwilson

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Now thats my sort of app.
Downloaded the free version and it opens up a small box/window you then drag a photo into the box, it does its funkyness and presto a better photo, even I can do it :LOL:

Think it is 50% off at the moment. From the tests I have done it does a pretty good job of making a picture pretty good. Like anything with other software you can get better results but it does a pretty good effort for a casual user.
 

General_Misery

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Glen: I bought Luminar but the links to free presets etc in the confirmation email does not work; have not received a reply from their support yet - did yours work?
 

glenwilson

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There are also free presets from within Luminar that I have downloaded but couldn't get to install. I even read the instructions :eek: but it didn't work! I will have a look tomorrow and see how you do it as some look worth having.
 

glenwilson

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I eventually found how to add presets to Luminar that seems to work. Seems to be a bit of a phaff but does work.
  1. Open Luminar and then go to File and Show presets folder - this will open. I did try and find it through file explorer but it seems well hidden on my PC!
  2. Download the presets you want.
  3. Once downloaded, extract them to a folder.
  4. Copy the extracted files to the presets folder that you opened it step 1
  5. Open the folder you just copied and there should be a file that has "Luminar 2018 Pro" as the file type
  6. Click on that and Luminar will open and you will get a message saying it has been successfully added.
  7. Go into the categories and you will find the presets added!
Hope that works/helps.
 
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glenwilson

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If anyone did buy Luminar 2018 you can now get the latest version - Luminar 3 for free. Just go to Skylum – Great Photography Differently and log in, navigate to the my software (top right hand corner in the drop down) and you should see Luminar 2018 and Luminar 3.

Luminar 3 in addition to the existing editing features there are now imaging cataloguing feature that should give you similar functionality to Adobe's Lightroom. I say should because I have only just downloaded and installed it and it is currently cataloguing my photos.