Are you an expert designer or retoucher who edits photos for a living, or an ordinary photographer who loves tweaking your pictures, and are you looking for the best photo editing software?

We can bet our heads that you’ve been told that the feature-rich Photoshop editing software is the only photo editor you can safely use on the market today. 

While Adobe’s Photoshop has remained the industry’s yardstick for a while, anyone who has ever used it will tell you that while it’s efficient, it’s also prohibitively expensive. In fact, most photographers or designers who only edit photos for fun or only every once in a while will find Photoshop exorbitant, and they’re on the lookout for a more affordable alternative that is equally efficient.         

We’ve got you covered if you’re in the market for a substitute photo editing software to Adobe Photoshop that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Skylum’s AI-powered Luminar Neo photo editor could be what you’ve been looking for.

Whether you’re an amateur or an experienced photo editor, Luminar Neo offers an incredible horde of easy-to-use mid-range photo editing tools that won’t poke holes in your wallet and give you results that are similar to the market leaders. 

In this Luminar Neo review, we’ll dive into Skylum’s latest iteration of a dynamic AI-powered photo editing software designed for both expert and fun photographers. Our review will dissect the software’s main features and answer all your questions, including what Luminar Neo is, what it is best suited for, and how it compares its forerunner with Luminar AI.    

If you’re looking for a reason to make up your mind about Luminar Neo, scroll down our review about its powerful features. We discuss the unique tools that remove the stress associated with the mind-numbing task of editing photos. Read to the end if you want to learn how the best photo editing software can let you spend more time clicking on your camera instead of in front of your computer. 

What is Luminar Neo?

Luminar Neo is a new creative AI-powered photo editing software by Skylum. The standalone application available for Windows and macOS is designed to integrate with Photoshop seamlessly, Microsoft Photos, Lightroom Classic, and Photos for macOS as a plugin that easily accommodates a wide array of workflows.

According to Skylum Software, Luminar Neo features several state-of-the-art tools that leverage 3D depth marking and artificial intelligence (AI), thus making the otherwise laborious task of image editing a walk in the park. 

Coming soon after the launch of Luminar AI, Skylum has reiterated that Luminar Neo isn’t a replacement for the former but instead designed to fix some of its sore thumb issues that left many photographers feeling angry, cheated, and disillusioned. 

Using AI tools like Power line and Sky Replacement, the new Luminar Neo turns the once boring and laborious image editing tasks into a one-click operation. Skylum has packed the software with lots of presets that shift the process of improving photos into one enjoyable exercise. Using a new high-speed core engine, Luminar Neo offers tools similar to Luminar AI but an improved speed and performance. 

Suppose you wish to transfer images seamlessly from your smartphone for editing on your desktop or laptop so you can share them on your social media platforms. In that case, you can integrate Luminar Neo with Luminar Share, a mobile app designed for Android and iPhone devices. By ensuring that Luminar Neo goes beyond the previously launched Lumina AI, Skylum has given the Neo a new oomph that takes it in the direction of Adobe Photoshop.

Who is Luminar Neo Best Suited For? 

Luminar New is ideal for any image editing fanatic looking for software that offers easy-to-use creative controls for fast finishing edits. The software is especially suited for editing enthusiasts who don’t have the patience to spend lots of time tinkering with photos post-production.

Luminar Neo is, therefore, best suited for you if you are:      

  • Looking for a simplified editing process with limited controls 
  • A beginner or intermediary who can’t stand complex software like Capture One, Photoshop, or Lightroom  
  • An expert photographer interested in a simpler and faster way to accomplish tasks like sky replacement, skin retouching, and object removal.

Don’t opt for Luminar Neo if you are:

  • Satisfied with your current editing software 
  • Not interested in creative photo editing effects

Luminar Neo: Key Features and Functions 

Luminar Neo is packed with features like Face AI, Portrait Bokeh AI, and Sky AI, which are found in its predecessor Luminar AI. However, it has additional features like Mask AI, Relight AI, and a Portrait Background Remover. Among the key features you can use to decide if switching to Luminar Neo is worthwhile to include the following: 

#1. Photo Management

The photo management tool is found on the Catalog Tab and helps you drag photos into albums, enabling you to flag them as “Favorite” or “Rejected.” However, note that this feature doesn’t offer contemporary picture management tools like Face Recognition and Geo-tagging, meaning you can’t tag images using keywords.  

#2. Luminar Neo Presets

The Luminar Neo preset feature offers some 22 different preset collections carrying 5 to 6 individual presets that can suit most images, giving you a simple 1-click option instead of manually editing photos. Moreover, the software’s AI capability assesses photos automatically and offers recommendations on the best presets to suit your image. You can also create your own presets or buy additional ones from Skylum’s Market Place.    

#3. Sky AI – Sky Replacement

Luminar Neo’s AI Sky replacement tool works within seconds to replace one sky with another, besides having the ability to relight any scene to match the new sky with any additional reflections. This function comes pre-loaded with over 30 different sky features that include Auroras, Storms, Sunny days, sunsets, and sunrises that you can try.  

#4. Face and Skin AI

The Face and Skin AI is an effective tool that lets you relight a subject’s face if you want to improve on poor lighting or remove years from them. If you wish to slim the subject’s face, whiten their teeth, redden lips, eliminate wrinkles, remove dark circles or enhance eyebrows, all you need to do is pick an effect, and Neo’s AI-powered algorithms will do the rest.  

#5. Mask AI

Using subject recognition, Luminar Neo’s Mask AI easily masks objects such as water, skies, architecture, and human beings without reverting to manual brushing. All you need to do is apply the mask to the selected area, making any adjustments while leaving the rest of the image intact. If you’re working on a complex photo and realize the mask didn’t quite work, Luminar Neo gives the option of using a manual brush to touch up the area. 

#6. Relight AI

Lumina Neo’s AI-enabled scene recognition feature automatically recognizes photos based on their foregrounds and backgrounds, enabling you to adjust their respective lighting independently and freely. Perhaps portraiture is the most useful of all the applications available on Relight AI.   

#7. Erase Tool

The Erase Tool is precisely designed to enable you to paint over anything you don’t want to see. Using its one-click option, you can remove anything in the background of your photos, from dust spots to power lines or anything else that you find undesirable. 

#8. Portrait Background Removal AI

The Portrait background Removal AI is an improvement of a similar feature on the Luminar AI that quickly lets you remove a subject from an undesirable background and insert it into a new location or some graphic art. The latest iteration works well in low-fi use cases such as social media. However, if you use it in hi-end replacements, you’ll need to do a little more work to get the desired results.   

#9. Image management via Mobile App 

Skylum has added a mobile app that has simplified the process of adding photos from your smartphone. Transferring photos from your phone to the Luminar Neo on your desktop and vice versa is easy using the app that works both for Android and Apple devices. 

Luminar Neo vs. Luminar AI

Before we can make a comparison between the two, we’ll take a few moments to briefly educate you about Luminar AI, the predecessor of Luminar Neo. Just like Luminar Neo, Luminar AI is a fully-fledged photo editing software comparable to other photo editing suites like Photoshop, only that it’s faster. 

The introduction of AI-powered features made it an intelligent photo editing assistant, which gave it a slight edge over traditional photo editors, making the task easier and faster. A few ways that Luminar Neo compares and differs from Lumina AI include the following: 

AI-based Features: Both are loaded with similar AI-powered enhancements like Sky Replacement AI, Enhance AI, Structure AI, Skin Enhance AI, Atmosphere AI, Body AI, and Face AI.

Editing Options: Both software allows users to import and manage photos using their leading platforms with options for multiple image export, sync editing, and plugin support for Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. While Luminar AI has 32 editing tools, Luminar Neo has ten additional editing tools, with several others expected with every new update.    

Additional features in Luminar Neo 

A few additional features you’ll find in Luminar Neo that aren’t in the Luminar AI include: 

  • An AI-powered clutter cleaner that enables the removal of power lines and other forms of clutter from within the frame. 
  • A superior masking engine that gives you better control of the process of masking
  • An optimized engine for faster performance and resource consumption, whether RAM or CPU management. 
  • Luminar Neo enables the sharing of finished photographs directly on the smartphone through an easy and seamless process. 

Areas Where Luminar Neo Lags Behind

With all the positive features, there are a few areas where professional users may find the Luminar Neo wanting, such as: 

  • Editing Features: If you’re already familiar with using Luminar AI’s independent editing features, you could find it challenging to get used to Luminar Neo’s one-click editing solution. Professional photo editors may find it challenging to cede customization options, but this shouldn’t be a problem if you’re relatively new to photo editing.
  • Basic Masking: The new Luminar Neo doesn’t offer users access to some older editing features like Basic Local Masking or Composition AI. This will only make a difference for anyone used to the older Luminar AI: newer users cant tell the differences, though. 

Luminar Neo Pros and Cons 

Pros

  • Flexible workflow
  • Powerful AI engine
  • Affordable
  • Best to use for Beginners
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • A few functions need improvement 
  • The mobile app lacks editing features

Is Luminar Neo Worth it?

Luminar Neo is packed with a host of AI-hired photo editing features, meaning you can quickly complete editing tasks with just an iota of effort. The software is versatile in that it works effectively and efficiently on Windows or macOS platforms, enabling you to enjoy layer-based editing while creating detailed images. The software offers an extensive toolset that is flexible enough to allow customization when needed. 

Among the best things about Luminar Neo is the high-speed core engine that enhances the speed with which users can accomplish even fairly sophisticated tasks. The machine optimizes the different cutting-edge editing procedures so you can achieve your desired results faster. Because Skylum says the software will be updated regularly, users can test newer features as soon as they are announced.  

Luminar Neo uses AI algorithms to address a few issues users discovered in the Luminar AI, making it a more efficient replacement that solves any emerging AI-related issues. If you’re looking for a photo editing tool that applies filters using one-click actions to generate great photos, you may want to consider the Luminar Neo.     

Our verdict  👩‍⚖️

While Luminar AI looked fantastic, Luminar Neo took its best features and created a new photo editing tool that is fast enough to save photographers the time they have had to sit in front of the computer tweaking pictures.

Skylum has been careful to add new features with every upgrade, and photo editors hope that the trend will continue and make the Luminar Neo more formidable software. Whether you are an influencer or an expert photographer, trying the Luminar Neo free trial could help you decide whether it’s something you want in your life.