My full Luminar Neo Review and is it worth it?
Welcome to my Luminar Neo review
In this Luminar neo review version 1.3 I will be looking at every part of Luminar Neo to see just how good this software really is and what is coming next for Neo, with the latest updates from Skylum software also.
I will be doing this Luminar Neo Review from three different view points.
- For People new to Luminar Products.
- For existing Luminar AI users.
- For existing Luminar 4 users
So please click on the most relevant review for you from the table of contents below…
Table of Contents
- Latest Luminar Neo News
- Luminar Neo Price
- Subscription vs lifetime purchase
- Review for people new to Luminar products.
- Review for Luminar AI users.
- Review for Luminar 4 users.
- Luminar Neo Features
- Portrait Editing Features
- Luminar Neo Conclusion
Don’t forget to checkout the right sidebar where I have several different articles in my blog posts on Luminar Nero where you can stay up to date on the latest developments (updated daily).
The Latest Luminar Neo news is???
Noiseless AI, AI Background Removal, Upscale AI, HDR Merge and Sharpening AI (that’s what I am calling it) as well as 2 more expansion packs in 2022.
Skylum released the Noiseless AI expansion pack on the 30th of August and while this is huge news on its own there are two other bits of news that have slipped past most people.
The first bit is that this is one of 7 expansion packs to be released in 2022, so we can expect another 5 expansion packs before the end of the year!!! I will get into the 7 packs further down below….
If you are using noise reduction software like DeNoise AI then you already know it’s not cheap at €80 a year for that facility alone…. The amazing news here is that the Pro Subscription Plan will give you Luminar Neo and all future expansion packs for $199.- a year.
Now just think about that for a second… that means you can get a suite of professional editing software for just over $119 a year??? That will be huge for a lot of people and open out amazing software to not just tens of thousand but millions worldwide.
Ok so you see why I think this is important now I am guessing but there is also a third unknown in all this… what will Topaz Labs do with their pricing now? Well, they are obviously going to have to drop the price as they are $199 a year for just DeNoise AI, Sharpen AI and Gigapixel AI so even if you don’t use Skylum software this news will save you money… Which bring us to the expansion packs for Luminar Neo.
The other other expansion packs are…
HDR Merge and Noiseless AI are both available now with Upscale AI and AI Background Removal coming soon that gives us four out of the seven. The next one to be announced is going to be Sharpening AI (That’s what I am calling it) this is purely speculation and a slight bit of inside information also…
That leaves two yet unknown expansion packs but I would bet money one of them will be layers based… Which leaves one mystery one.
If you want to know more about the specific Expansion packs then check out the right sidebar as I have reviews on several of them there and news on the future ones also.
This brings us all to the price and as you can already see Luminar Neo has migrated more to a subscription based platform than an outright lifetime purchase option.
How much is Luminar Neo?
The normal prices at the time of writing this Luminar Neo review are listed below. Please don’t forget my discount code below also to save even more money, check out the special offer section below too for the latest special deals and prices to save yourself some serious money, I update them daily or whenever a new offer is posted.
You now have the option to own Neo in two different ways…
You can buy it outright or you can now subscribe to it monthly. So let’s look at both options and see exactly what’s the difference in the two options.
You can buy Neo outright and it’s yours for life at a price of €109.-, $109 or £109.- for One seat, “One seat” is for one computer.
So as well as being able to buy it outright and own it for life you also now have the option to go for a Luminar Neo yearly subscription model also which includes the expansion packs and all upgrades.
AI Early Bird Pricing for new customers:
Early Bird for current Luminar Neo customers
You can switch to a yearly subscription for $69 during the first year, after that the cost of the subscription will be $99 instead of €119. Upon switching to a yearly subscription customers will instantly get HDR Merge feature, and Noiseless AI.
Lifetime Luminar Neo 2022 Extensions Pack for this audience will be priced at $179. instead of €299.-
Early Bird for Luminar Neo customers who purchased HDR Merge
Early Bird for owners of Luminar AI, Luminar 4, and Aurora HDR
Get a free gift from Skylum when buying Luminar Neo!!!
I have a little trick to get a free gift when you buy luminar Neo, it takes only two seconds and is incredibly simple.
If you click on my Luminar Neo discount code link below it will give you the discount code and take you to my special link on the Skylum website.
To get the free gift simply pretend to exit the page and a pop up will appear offering asking you a free gift… how cool is that 🙂
Subscription vs Lifetime License.
So what’s the difference between the subscription vs lifetime license purchase and which option is right for you?
Well the simple answer here is that the subscription option will give you the latest software at all times. That’s the main difference between the two options.
I now advise people to subscribe because you now have the option of the Pro Plan which gives you all the expansion pack and Luminar Neo for $119.-, €119.- or £119.- a year.
You stiull have the option for the lifetime purchase but please be aware that the expansion pack is the 2022 expansions pack this does not mean any new expansion packs coming out in 2023 will be included.
So for me it’s now a subscription based software and while some people may frown on that I see it as being a slight positive as we can get so many amazing expansion packs for very little money.
It’s one thing I tell clients on workshops… Photography is an expensive hobby but capturing moments is also priceless so just keep that in mind.
Luminar Neo Version 1.3 Review
I am going to give you three different reviews here!!! Yes one for each different type of Luminar owner out there…
- Someone New to Luminar Products.
- Someone that owns Luminar AI.
- Someone that own Luminar 4
So please skip to the relevant review for you.
1.- Luminar Neo Review for someone new to their Products?
This is probably the easiest one to answer out of the three options in this Luminar Neo Review as it’s an incredible all round bit of editing software that is as comfortable editing Landscapes photography as it is editing portraits.
The AI facilities in Neo are mostly borrowed from Luminar AI along with a few more new features and upgrades including the new faster AI engine as well as a few more features with more yet to come…
You can quickly swap out skies in a landscape shot or smoothen skin in a portrait with the greatest of easy, it literally takes seconds. Now just think about what I said there, it’s swaps out skies in seconds and detects and smoothens skin in portraits in seconds also.
Of course these are just two rough examples of how good this software really is and there are plenty of other awesome AI applications like Dust spot removal, Powerline AI, Relight AI Portrait Bokeh AI, Portrait Background Removal and several more options.
Not forgetting the basic editing options in Neo of course like exposure, contrast, saturation, shadows Highlights, details etc… It can do it all and with the inclusion of it’s own catalogue it can help you to store and catalogue or arrange your images in an orderly manner.
Luminar Neo is fast, responsive, glitch free and it just works for me. I should specify here that I am a Windows user and I work on a very fast desktop pc. 5.2 Ghz on all 8 cores with M.2 Drives, 64GB RAM and an RTX 3080TI GPU.
I will be popping up a full video review very soon but for you Luminar Newbies you can’t go far wrong with Neo and the real beauty of it is there is a 30 day money back guarantee so if you don’t like it or have issues with it you can simply just get your money back… How good is that?
2.- Luminar Neo Review for someone using Luminar AI and is it worth the upgrade?
This is a really good question and honestly I think if you have Luminar AI then you already have a great bit of fast photography editing software and yes a lot of the facilities of Neo are the same or “borrowed” from AI.
That’s where the similarities end though as Neo has a new processing engine that helps it work through images that bit faster see my video above showing the speed differences.
After the processing engine we have the long awaited return of masks and now with Mask AI we have a supercharged automated masking system in Neo. Then the new features like Powerline removal, Relight AI, dust spot removal AI and Portrait background removal and Mask AI it’s the complete package now that flies through image editing.
It all really comes down to whether or not you need layers (yes I do) and if you would like the faster processing engine (to speed up your workflow) and the other handy AI features in Neo. It’s a slightly tough call to make for some people but for me personally… I am loving Neo so far after a bumpy start with the pre-release version and technical builds I was sent by Skylum.
I was a fairly vocal about that at the time but those issues have long since been solved and I feel it’s a better photography editing program as a result. Now to Skylums credit here as a Ukrainian company they are based in the middle of a war zone so the fact they could release anything never mind something this good is just mind blowing.
My move from Luminar AI to Neo has only been a positive one and I am looking forward to it’s advances…
Again the 30 day money back guarantee is a statement of intent from Skylum and they are sure you will love it also.
If you are happy with Luminar AI then just stick with and keep smiling, if not or you feel you are missing something then have a serious look at Neo.
3.- Luminar Neo Review for someone using Luminar 4 and is it worth the upgrade?
If you are a hardened Luminar 4 user then this is probably the update you have been waiting for and you are going to get a lot with it.
The first point to note is the faster processing power of Neo which should speed up your workflow dramatically and help with sky replacements and various other edits.
There are a whole host of amazing AI facilities in Neo which have been designed from the ground up and also “borrowed” from Luminar AI.
Facilities like the sky replacement is far better now in Neo than Luminar 4 and it also has relighting controls, sky positioning and sky reflection facilities also.
You have Portrait Bokeh AI to help give you that sumptuous shallow depth of field, face and body AI to help correct any skin imperfections and help out with some unflattering camera angles also.
Dust AI, Powerline Removal, Portrait background removal and ReLight AI also as well as loads of other handy time saving features.
Now I am going to go back to layers again as this is the one thing most L4 users missed from AI and yes they are now in Neo and working well.
Luminar Neo Features
The first and most important feature is the catalogue or Digital Asset Management (DAM) facility which means you can easily sort and organise your photographs so you can easily pop into different categories and groups like family, macro, landscape etc… and find them all in your grouped photographs together very quickly. That is going to be a serious time saver over the years.
Basic editing controls include
Exposure, shadows, highlights, Curves, Contrast, Colour, Vibrancy, HSL, Sharpening sliders etc… the list goes on but suffice it to say everything you need in basic to advanced editing controls are in there. They all work as expected and again this is something I will be showing in my video review.
Luminar Neo AI features
Sky replacement in Sky AI
This feature works super smoothly and is not only super fast to use but incredibly simple also with a whole multitude of controls so you can adjust the horizontal and vertical position of the sky as well the brightness and the relighting facility as well as reflections on water etc… again the video review is the one that’s going to show all that off.
Relight AI gives you the possibility to completely change the lighting in an image via 3d depth mapping so for arguments sake you want to change the brightness levels of your foreground, before you could have used a gradient filter or layer to brighten a part of your image but that was incredible crude as it just brightened or darkened everything regardless of it’s depth in the image. Luminar Neo can now sense depth in a two dimensional image which is huge and will help avoid spending ten minutes with the brush tool painting on the effect you want.
Portrait Editing features
Portrait Bokeh AI
Portrait Bokeh AI is an incredible feature as it helps to blur out your background in seconds and divert more attention to your subject and all with the movement of a slider so you can the exact effect you are looking for. You can also adjust the background brightness and colour temperature and highlights glow via separate sliders as well as the depth control slider of course.
Face AI gives us several amazing features including…
- Face lighting which yes as you guessed it this gives us the option to adjust the brightness of the persons face in the photograph.
- Slim Face again is fairly straight forward it helps to slim the persons face to help combat those unflattering camera angles.
- Eye Adjustments, including eye colour changes and whitening and brightening.
- Mouth Adjustments, including Lip saturation, Lips Redness, Lips darkening and teeth whitening.
It does exactly what you think it does… it helps to smoothen out the exposed skin in the photograph via a slider control with an imperfection removal button also as an option.
There is also a slider for shine removal which does a really good job also.
Body AI is again one of those features that helps correct those unflattering camera angles with Shape and Abdomen slider controls.
Again there are several sliders here to give you the desired high key effect in your image… I really like this one combined with Portrait Bokeh AI and the dodge and burn tool. You can create some really cool edits across the three adjustments.
Powerline removal AI
The Powerline removal tool is a very handy one for quickly and easily removing those annoying powerlines from your photographs with the press of a button it takes only second to magically erase those pesky powerlines.
Has now been added to Luminar Neo in version 1.2 HDR Merge is basically a rebadged version of Aurora HDR is a fantastic HDR editing software.
Luminar Neo Free Trial
You can also get a free trial of Luminar Neo here so don’t just take my word for it go have a play with it yourself and see how well it works on your own images.
When was the official Luminar Neo release date?
Luminar Neo was released on the 17th of February 2022. There was also a pre-release on the 10th of February to the early bird purchasers of which there was 30,000. But the official Luminar Neo release date for general sale was the 17th of February 2022.
Luminar Neo Review Conclusion
Luminar Neo is without doubt the best all round editing platform out there now for the money, it has truly grown into the photography editing suite that Skylum have been promising us. It’s fast precise and it’s AI features are simply amazing. The crazy part here is that with every update they keep improving so I shudder to think where it will be in another six months.
Thanks for reading my review of the software review and please keep an eye on my indepth review which will be coming super soon on my YouTube Channel so make sure to subscribe to get the latest on Luminar Neo. I have a few videos below on Luminar Neo is you want to find out more about it or even better check out my latest blog posts on it’s new additions which are all below also.
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