Macphun’s Luminar customizable photo editor is like Instagram on steroids

Daven Mathies

Macphun makes a variety of software tools for photographers, but its new Luminar photo editor is the company’s most ambitious project yet. The new program is built to adapt to a user’s skill level and personal preference. It offers everything from filters and presets to advanced exposure adjustments and retouching tools normally reserved for Photoshop.

Luminar’s key functionality is a user interface that can be fully customized to meet one’s particular requirements. Novice photographers, who just want to add a quick filter and be done with it, can set up the app to be as easy to use as possible. Luminar will ship with 35 filters pre-installed and each has multiple points of adjustment as well as on-screen tips about how best to use each one. It is a bit like Instagram on steroids.


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Experienced users can turn on more advanced options, including the ability to remove objects — presumably through some sort of clone-stamp tool — and even replace skies and add textures. Thanks to support for layers, blend modes, masking, and custom brushes, Luminar offers the type of control that normally requires jumping over to Photoshop.

Advanced users will also be happy to know that the app natively supports RAW files, as well.


Macphun put a lot of emphasis on a feature it is calling Workspaces, which organizes adjustments logically based on the task at hand. Luminar will contain several built-in Workspaces for different types of photography, like Portrait, Landscape, and Street, but they can also be personalized.

What is more, photographers can even export their workspaces for others to import and use. This may be a great way for experienced shooters to help out beginners.

Luminar will be available later in 2016 for macOS only. It will run either as a standalone app or as a plugin for Apple Photos. Owners of any current Macphun products can get Luminar for just $49, while first-time customers will need to pay $59. Either way, both are decent prices if the app proves to live up to its promises. Pre-orders begin on November 2.