Luminar 3 – A Wonderful Lightroom Alternative

Luminar 3 is out now and available on pre-order (until 18th December). After this date you can purchase the software directly from Skylum and download the bundle.

Libraries

One of the Biggest Features of Luminar 3 is the Libraries function, which let’s you build and manage your photo catalog so you can rate, edit and manage in one place.

Not only that we have a beautifully laid out interface that emphasis the photos in their more graceful way.

Another cool little addition Skylum have done to their software is that once you import a folder, if you add photos to it or create sub folders within the images automatically show up in Luminar 3. This is quite handy because you don’t have to import these photos manually or synchronise a folder like you do in Lightroom.

But on the flip side because it’s constantly scanning the folder for new files, you do find occasionally that the image refresh is not as fast as it could. I suspect that is because of it searching for new files.

Keyboard Shortcuts

To make it easy for people to switch over to Luminar 3, the developers have used the same shortcuts as are using in Lightroom. To name a few obvious ones:

  • D – For develop or Edit. To go straight into Editing interface of Luminar.
  • G – For going into the Grid view. From single image view or edit interface, hitting G will take you back to the grid view.
  • P – For pick or select. It marks your photos as Flagged ie. Favourites and you can easily access it via the Shortcut “Favourites”.
  • X – Marks a photo as Rejected. This is something that implies you probably don’t want to keep the photo.
  • U – Marks a photo as Unflagged. So its kind of the way to reset a photo if you had marked it as Flagged or Rejected.
  • Star Rating – Use the keyboard keys 1 through 5 to rank a photo as One Star all the way to Five Star respectively. Use 0 to reset.
  • Colour Rating – Use the keyboard keys from 6 to 9 to mark photos by Colour flag. Use – to reset.

Albums and Shortcuts (pre-defined folders)

Albums are a way to organise the folders like Collections in Lightroom. So you can create your own selection of photos into various different folders. They don’t have dynamic folder but I reckon that will soon be coming with another update.

They do have something that Lightroom doesn’t have they are these Shortcuts ie. pre-defined folders that automatically come up as you import the photos. 

It creates:

  • Automatic folders/shortcuts by Year. So you get these folders sorting your photos by their Year in which they were taken.
  • Favourites shows you all the picks or marked as Flagged in one easy to find location.
  • Recently Edit is something that is lacking in Lightroom but the guys at Skylum have addressed in which case you have three folder which show you recently edited photos by; Yesterday, This Week or This Month. Makes it easy to find that photo you edited a while ago.
  • Recently Added is showing you some automatic selections which show you what photos you imported in the past and when. Another easy way to find those photos that you may be looking for.

Filters

Once you have rated and ranked your photos, you want to be able to see them easily. By first choosing the correct Folder/Album/Shortcut on the right hand panel you can then select from the There are also some great built in filters that you can use 

Conclusion

So in conclusion I have to say that Luminar 3 presents a much prettier and cleaner interface that has lots of features packed in to give Lightroom users enough to migrate over. If you are sick and tired of the performance and lack of innovation by Adobe, Skylum has led the way in showing and building something that meets the photography community’s need.

I can’t wait to see what they add next to Luminar 3.

Update 23/12

Since this post, I got many replies on Twitter stating that people are experiencing slowness with this software and as a result they don’t believe it is the right software for them. Nor it can replace Lightroom. 

 Although everyone is entitled to their opinion, based on my experience I am not seeing such issues with my setup. To summaries how do I have my Luminar 3 running:

  • iMac (Retina 5K, 27 inch, Late 2015)
  • 32 GB Ram
  • 3.2GHz Intel Core i5
  • AMD Radeon R9 M390 2048 MB Graphics
  • 500 GB Flash storage
  • Luminar Catalog on External SSD 256GB connected via USB (same for LR – my catalog lives on SSD)
  • Photos reside on Drobo 5N2 – Networked

I am not seeing the same issues as being reported by many out there. I have also seen response by Skylum Software that they are working on fixing these issue as soon as possible. So we shouldn’t panic, now that the software is “in the wild”, it will take a few months to stablise and then it would bring you all the goodness its designed for.

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