It’s a busy day for photo software enthusiasts with two updates to leading edge photography software products: Skylum Luminar 4 and Topaz Sharpen AI. These tools are vital to good a digital photography workflow.

Therefore, I am releasing a series of posts and YouTube videos showing how to use these products, and Topaz DeNoise AI in your workflow.

Digital Photography Workflow – Overview

After you have taken your photo, you need to catalog and process it. I’ll cover cataloguing in a subsequent post. The basic steps are:

  • Catalog the image.
  • Process the RAW image into a 16 bit TIF (or other suitable format).
  • Perform any needed post processing.
  • Remove noise (if present).
  • Sharpen.
  • Resize (optional).
  • Final sharpening (optional).

The RAW processing, and at least some post processing, is done using a RAW converter. For many, Lightroom is the tool of choice and it is good. But its rivals present a serious challenge to it.

Let’s see Luminar 4.2 (which was released today) in action. You can watch the video below or read the abbreviated transcript below.

Part 2 of this series will deal with noise removal and Part 3 with handle sharpening.

Digital Photography Workdflow – Luminar 4.2 in action.

Luminar 4

Luminar 4.2 in your workflow

(If you don’t have time to view the above, 20 minute, video, please read on…)

As the following images show, using Luminar 4.2 is easy and will complete around 80% of your digital photography workflow.

Using Luminar 4.2 requires around 8 steps after opening your image in edit mode. Here are the 8 steps:

Step 1 – Correct Lens errors

Luminar Workflow - Step 1

Luminar Workflow – Step 1

Correcting lens distortions is important if you have lines that should be straight in your photo, such as the horizon at the coast. Removing chromatic aberrations is also important as they are just ugly. In Luminar you simply select the checkboxes and it is done.

You can also use this section to level the horizon if your camera wasn’t perfectly level when you took the photo.

Step 2 – White Balance and Basic Raw Development settings

Luminar Workflow - Step 2

Luminar Workflow – Step 2

This step is only needed if your white balance was wrongly set in camera.

Step 3 – Make the Major AI Enhancements

Luminar’s powerhouse tools are the AI Accent and AI Sky Enhancer. They bring the very best out in your picture. If your image has underexposed areas, the AI Accent brings them to life.

Luminar Workflow - Step 3

Luminar Workflow – Step 3

Unusually for such a tool, setting the sliders to 100% ofter yields great results.

Step 4 – Adjust the Colours

Used the Advanced settings in the Colour panel to adjust each colour separately.

Luminar Workflow - Step 4

Luminar Workflow – Step 4

Step 5 – Detail Enhancement and, optionally, use the Landscape Enhancer

I don’t use Luminar to sharpen the image or remove noise. Topaz Sharpen AI and DeNoise AI do that job afterwards. But I add some detail using the Detail Enhancer. I normally add just a little – see the video for the steps I take.

Luminar Workflow - Step 5

Luminar Workflow – Step 5

Step 6 (Optional) – Get Creative

You can use Luminar to replace the sky in your image and, new in Luminar 4.2, you can add objects to the sky. I discussed sky replacement here, and the video shows that in operation and adding objects.

Luminar Workflow - Step 6

Luminar Workflow – Step 6

Step 7 – Pro Adjustments (Advanced Contrast and Filters)

The final enhancement step is to adjust the contrast. You use Luminar to adjust the Highlight, Midtones and Shadow contrast separately.

Luminar Workflow - Step 7

Luminar Workflow – Step 7

Step 8 – Export

Finally, you save the image. I recommend saving it as a 16 bit TIF file.

Luminar Workflow - Step 8

Luminar Workflow – Step 8

The Result

Use the image comparison below to see what Luminar 4.2 can achieve for your workflow.

[images-comparison default_offset_pct=”0.5″ el_css=”” image_1=”1716″ image_2=”1717″ before_label=”Original Image” after_label=”Luminar 4.2″]

Digital Image Workflow – Conclusion

That concludes part 1 of this series. I have shown how Luminar 4.2 delivers excellent results. But we’re not done yet. The image needs noise removal and sharpening. Stay tuned for further posts on this subject.

Download Luminar 4.2. A free trial is available.

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All content is Copyright Andy Bell 2024



  1. Digital Photography Workflow Part 2 - Noise Removal - Andy Bell Photography - […] my previous post, I looked at using Skylum Luminar as the first step in your Digital Photography […]
  2. Digital Photography Workflow - Part 3 - Sharpening - Andy Bell Photography - […] processors do so much that it’s hard to know if they are doing step 1, step 2, or both.…

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