Luminar for Windows: a worthwhile free download for photographers?

Luminar for Windows
Soft touch: Luminar includes several portrait presets

There’s been a series of once Mac-only photography apps ported to Windows recently – Luminar is the latest on that list.

Luminar for Windows is currently in beta, which for the time being makes it a free download. Go to the Luminar website, download the software and enter the licence key that they email you to unlock the app.

I’ve seen Luminar described as the equivalent of Lightroom’s Develop panel. Whoever wrote that has either never opened Lightroom or needs the services of a world-class optician.

Luminar is nowhere near as powerful as Lightroom. Instead, it’s a ready-made¬†collection of photographic presets, with several specifically built for portraits, street photography, travel and more. As ever with these packages, many of the filters are OTT, but there are a few gems among the over-saturated crowd. You can adjust the strength of the presets, as well as adjust individual parameters, such as exposure, contrast, shadows, highlights etc.

Then there is a collection of filters that offer creative effects such as split toning and soft focus, as well as more rudimentary tasks, such as controlling contrast, colour balance and temperatures. Each of these filters can be applied and removed individually, so if you find you’ve gone too far with a particular effect, you can simply delete it and start again.

Luminar for Windows
In the swing: there are dozens of effects to play with

Luminar is unlikely to ever replace Lightroom in my affections. But for those who want a simpler, more lightweight and – for the time being – free piece of editing software, it’s definitely worth the mild inconvenience of handing over your email address.


About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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