How to Process RAW Photos in Luminar 2018

Final reminder: today is the final day to Pre-Order Luminar 2018 with Bonuses

RAW photo files contain a lot of data that can be optimized through photo editing. With powerful RAW processing tools you can easily transform a boring RAW file into a vibrant and detailed photograph, ready for whatever stylistic enhancements you would like to add.

Luminar 2018 has been significantly improved over previous versions, particularly for those who shoot in RAW. RAW handling is faster and has been improved to reveal more details in the shadows and highlights, display color more accurately, and reduce noise.

One of most powerful new filters added in Luminar 2018 is RAW Develop. This tool allows the user adjust tone, perform lens corrections, and transform to correct perspective issues.

The RAW Develop Filter

Once you’ve opened your RAW file in Luminar, navigate to the Add Filter Button and click on RAW Develop in the ESSENTIAL category.

luminar 2018

The RAW Develop Filter has three powerful tools: Adjust, Lens, and Transform. The intuitive layout suggests the order in which to make your adjustments:

  1. Adjust white balance, exposure, and contrast
  2. Fix lens distortion, chromatic aberrations, and vignette
  3. Transform to correct perspective

Example 1

Unedited RAW

Unedited RAW

Adjust

Step 1 – Adjust white balance, exposure levels, and contrast.

Quick Tip: Toggle the J key on the keyboard to show highlight and shadow clipping in your photograph.

Edenton-Victorian

Adjust

Notice that the colors become more vibrant and the contrast more pronounced. There is also more detail in the highlight and shadow areas.

Lens

Step 2 – Fix lens distortion, chromatic aberrations, and lens vignette.

distortion in luminar

Lens

The small amount of lens distortion and edge vignetting are easily fixed with the lens correction tools.

Transform

Step 3 – Transform to correct perspective.

making corrections in luminar

Transform

The transform tool makes it simple to correct for the slight upward angle at which the photo was captured by visually straightening the vertical and horizontal lines of the house.

victorian house before after

Minor changes to correct white balance and tone and addressing lens defects and perspective issues altered the photograph from dull and lifeless snapshot into a detailed and vibrant photograph, ready for further stylistic processing (if desired).

luminar 2018 adjustments

Example 2

Cape-Charles

Unedited RAW

Adjust

Step 1 – Adjust white balance, exposure levels, and contrast.

luminar raw process

Adjust

White balance and tonal adjustments to this abandoned building brought out the details in the concrete, structure and clouds.

Lens

Step 2 – Fix lens distortion, chromatic aberrations, and vignette.

using luminar 2018

Lens

The Lens correction tool quickly fixed the lens distortion and edge vignetting.

Transform

Step 3 – Transform to correct perspective.

luminar perspective

Transform

The transform tool made quick work of correcting for the upward angle at which the photo was captured.

post-processing luminar

Adjusting the white balance and tone, addressing lens defects, and perspective issues made the details of this abandoned building stand out.

raw file processed with luminar 2018

Example 3

Oak-Grove-Lake

Unedited RAW

Adjust

Step 1 – Adjust white balance, exposure levels, and contrast.

post processing raw files

Adjust

White balance adjustments enhance the fall colors in the background while tonal adjustments darken the blue of the sky and reveal detail in the foreground and trees.

Lens

Step 2 – Fix lens distortion, chromatic aberrations, and vignette.

luminar 2018 distortion

Lens

There was minimal lens distortion in the image which was easily corrected with the lens correction tool.

Transform

Step 3 – Transform to correct perspective.

luminar 2018 tutorial

Transform

Very little was needed from the transform tool in this instance, just a slight rotation to straighten the horizon.

luminar 2018 example

The Tonal adjustment made the biggest difference in this landscape photo by darkening the highlights and opening up the shadows.

lake photo final

Final Image

Each of the examples above show the power of Luminar 2018’s RAW Develop Filter. A RAW file contains a plethora of information, but it takes a skilled photographer and a capable RAW processor like Luminar 2018, to turn those files into beautiful photographs.

About the Author
Angela Andrieux is a photographer, blogger, and photography coach living in Chesapeake, VA with her US Navy husband, and their cat, Pumpkin. She will photograph just about anything but her love of travel tops it all. Angela also enjoys helping other photographic artists find their creative voice. Whether through her blog, group workshops, or one-on-one coaching, her students’ excitement to learn keeps her inspired.

All of the photos above are processed from .CR2 RAW files from a Canon 6D. All photos Copyright © Angela Andrieux.

Final Day to Pre-order Luminar 2018 at a Discount:

It is currently $10 off for pre-order customers until November 15. New users can order Luminar 2018 for a discounted price of $59, and current users of Luminar may upgrade at a special price of $39. Pre-order customers will also receive a bonus pack:

luminar editor

New: Luminar 2018 Photo Editor (Click to Learn More)

  • Bonus: A pack of signature presets & textures from a Pro photographer Nicolesy.
  • Bonus: An exclusive pack of Lookup Table Adjustments.
  • Bonus: 1-year Power plan from SmugMug ($72 value). For new accounts only

Pre-order deal ending soon: Luminar 2018 at $10 Off Plus Bonuses

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One response to “How to Process RAW Photos in Luminar 2018”

  1. Basic, but still interesting. However, in my Luminar 2018 (Windows) there is no RAW develop filter, just Develop, and there is no pipette for manually choosing WB. Furthermore, the software is very unstable.

    Summary: unusable

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