Luminar 3 First Look - Is Luminar With Libraries a Game Changer?

Before we get into this blog, if you’re anything like me, you hate to read and you’d rather watch a video.

I get you.

That’s exactly why I’ve recorded an entire video that will run through my first look at Luminar 3 and will answer the question is Luminar with libraries a total game changer in the post-processing world. That video is just below this.

If you’re still here, you enjoy reading and that’s awesome! I wish I was more like you.

Ok, so Luminar 3 just came out and you might be wondering, “Should I invest in this software? I mean, I’ve heard good things, but can I really spend time learning a new software?”

I totally understand this.

When I first switched to Luminar from Lightroom I was thinking that it would take me several weeks to fully grasp Luminar.

However, after just a couple days I was able to understand Luminar enough to make professional edits to my photos and churn out great images. I even went back and re-edited my older photos!


Now that Luminar 3, the Luminar with libraries feature, just came out, there are even more questions you may have. I got an early BETA copy sent my way and used Luminar 3 for about a week before gathering all of my thoughts. In this post, I’m going to go through some of the biggest points I found that I think are highly beneficial for you as a potential user.

When I first opened Luminar 3 and got past the screens of choosing where my photo files in my library would come from (it’s a really quick and simple process) the libraries screen showed up.

My first thought was, “WOAH!”

The libraries feature is beautiful. It truly blew me away. This is the most aesthetically pleasing libraries screen I’ve ever used and navigated through. You have multiple options for customizing the screen layout and image tile size too which is a great touch and allows users to feel like this is a library designed specifically for their editing workflow. The look and feel of the Libraries feature is a total home run.

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So, aesthetics are one thing, but the ease of use is something completely different. I was really interested to see how well the photos were organized in the library. As a landscape photographer, I like to be able to create multiple folders for obvious labels for images like “Favorite Waterfalls” or “Best Sunsets in Tennessee.” This helps me quickly find image files within the library itself.

Not only was I pleased to find multiple ways to organize my photographs, but I was also pleased to find other organizational features like:

  • Color labels

  • Star ratings of 1-5 stars

  • Favorite photos

Again, multiple options means that photographers have the ability to set up customized ways of organizing photo files and not having to conform to a way the software wants them to organize files. Not everyone is alike. Luminar seems to understand that concept and caters to the fact that everyone organizes things differently.


All of these features also begs the question, “I get it, but is Luminar user friendly?”

I had that concern too. I was slightly worried that Luminar would completely alter their edit screen and make it more difficult for users to locate the correct sliders and workspaces.

I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. Not only was everything pretty much in the same place, but there was also an additional navigation bar to one side that allowed me to jump from photo to photo while remaining in the editing screen. This is a fantastic feature because you don’t have to switch back and forth between the editing and library screen. If you don’t like that new navigation bar, you can always hide it.

One of my favorite features I found was the ability to copy and paste edits from one photo to another. This is a HUGE time saver for landscape photographers who take multiple compositions in the same light and don’t want to make the same edits over and over.

Again, this is a HUGE time saver.


The only thing that had changed in the editing screen was that Luminar now uses the phrase “Looks” instead of “Presets” but the effects remain the same for the most part. No big changes there.

Alright, by this point you understand the fact that I really enjoyed the new features of Luminar 3. But, were there any drawbacks?

Well, yes.

While using Luminar 3, I did notice that it was slightly slower than other softwares I’ve used in the past, even Luminar 2018. While this may be annoying at first, I don’t think it’s a huge issue. There are always small bugs that exist in new software updates. I’m confident that in future updates the slow speeds and minor glitches will be fixed.

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After all of my time using Luminar 3, do I think it’s a game changer in the post-processing world?


There are several landscape photographers eager to escape more expensive software with less features, or companies that require you to pay monthly payments (a-hem… Adobe.)

I give Luminar 3 a solid ‘A’ grade. With a libraries feature several photographers are finally going to make the switch from other software platforms to Luminar 3.

Luminar is giving an extra $10 off to all of my readers if you use the code “DAVID” during checkout.

How do you get Luminar? Just click here to learn even more about Luminar 3!

David JohnstonComment