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An easy way to get great pictures on a Mac



  Luminar Not so many years ago, the only way to enhance images on your Mac was through half a dozen one-trick pony apps that added different filters or effects to an image. Or the cost and learning curve of Photoshop.

These days are gone. Thanks to the proliferation of photos from the iPhone Photos app, we have thousands more photos and an even better way to turn them into true visual masterpieces. Without the expense and complexity of Photoshop. How to make great pictures on a Mac.

Photographic Progress

A few years ago, a Mac app developer named Macphun, now Skylum, introduced a couple of Mac photo enhancement applications. Mac users liked the one-click photo enhancement method, and the developer launched several apps. I have the entire collection of Creative Kit apps, but my favorite is a new one called Luminar.

If Photos anemic options for enhancing an image are not enough, this is what you should try. For just about what you want to spend on Photoshop's perpetual subscription in just a few months, Luminar delivers similar photographic enhancements with single point, click, slide. This is the essence of Luminar's simple non-learning curve user interface.

 Luminar for Mac

What you get is the era of photo editing software setup – the toolbar above the toolbar at the top, the sidebar with individual controls for preset options. Luminar comes packed with filters and options that can put your photos in a league with Photoshop, but without effort and learning curve.

Filters are easy to select, adjust, and transform with touch, click, and slider switches for granular controls. Do you have RAW images? No problem. Do you only need presets? Check. Do you like to collect and use different color and light profiles? Covered.

 Luminar for Mac

It doesn't matter what the image is or what file format you prefer. RAW can be edited as easily as JPG images. Presents and overlays abound, including nearly 120 custom sky overlays to enhance the worldly photography you took of a landscape.

Personally, I go for the presets because it makes my image production an unrecognized quality area for me. Luminar has one-click color enhancement options, which the movie looks from yesterday, imports Adobe Lightroom presets into lookup tables for common good enhancements. Dozens of filters are built-in and are non-destructive. While point and click is your friend, trial and error is what you learn.

The filters analyze your image and make automatic corrections as needed, but you keep control of almost every aspect of each enhancement tool.

 Luminar Controls

All layers have blend mode. Masking tools allow you to mix layers or make adjustments seamlessly. Do you have an iPhone? Then you know about the lens problems. Luminar gives you the opportunity to make manual corrections for distortion or chromatic aberrations.

The results speak for themselves, and the "try-before-you-buy" option is a must. Warnings? The mentioned patience with trial and error. If you stick to presets, you'll get better photos than you've probably ever had before – especially if you're stuck in Photos, can't afford Photoshop or the learning curve, and are disappointed Apple quit Aperture.

Luminar does more, but beyond the presets there is a brave new world of point, click and slider options. Almost everything you can use on an image is non-destructive, so you can back without damage when a filter or preset doesn't suit you. There's a lot to like here

 Luminar for Mac

The screenshot above is there to show you something about Luminar I didn't expect. Yes, I need presets. It gives you enhanced images with minimal effort. Yes, multiple granular controls are available on all sidebars, and they require some trial and error to master. The screen shows palettes with tools that are starting to make it more fun to explore all the options in Lumina. The control is there if you want it and need it. Otherwise, point and click (and some trial and error) is your friend.

I thought it was fun to explore all the options in Luminar. It takes time, but the results are worth the effort. Well done. We are fans of Skylum on the Mac360 and I have other favorites, including Noiseless, Intensify, Tonality and the entire shebang of the Creative Kit.

Caveat?

Not much else than the need for trial and error time. Presets make everything point and click easy, but getting into a Photoshop or Lightroom enhancement requires a little more effort, and knowledge of the granular controls – which takes time.


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