Travel Photo Editing Tutorial in Luminar

Dedicated travel photographers always have a camera handy, even while on vacation, because you never know when the perfect moment is going to present itself. If you decide to leave your camera behind one day ‘because I won’t get any good images,’ I can guarantee from personal experience that you’ll see shot after shot, and spend the rest of the time kicking yourself for not having the means to capture them!

If you’re on vacation, you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooped up in front of a computer screen editing your images; you could be out shooting more good stuff instead. In this article, I’m going to show you how to quickly edit and work on your travel images using Luminar to create eye-catching photos that are ready to be shared with others.

First, open Luminar and choose your image:

This travel image needs a bit of adjusting to make it pop. This is the ‘before’ image:

how to edit travel photos


Using Filters

A quick way to make adjustments is to use the Accent AI filter. This clever filter uses the latest artificial intelligence technology to evaluate an image, and decide where it needs adjusting. It will calculate how much the highlights, shadows, contrast, color, exposure, etc. need to be adjusted to improve the image. Accent AI treats each image individually, so you’re getting adjustments tailored to each scenario.

You’ll find the Accent AI filter in the filter categories on the right-hand side of the screen. Click the ‘Add Filter’ button, and you’ll find Accent AI in the ‘Essential’ filter category in the drop-down menu that appears:

how to use luminar 2018

Accent AI

To apply the changes, use the ‘Boost’ slider to control how much adjustment you want to apply to your image.

luminar 2018 menu

AI Filter Boost

You may choose to add more saturation and vibrance to your image too, just to make the summer colors really stand out. All the filters in Luminar can be used together, and you can add layers and change the blending modes, too.

This is the before/after split of the image after using the Accent AI filter and adding some extra saturation and vibrance. The ‘before’ image is on the left, and the adjusted one is on the right-hand side of the split screen:

before after luminar


These adjustments took less than a minute! You can also save your adjustments as a preset, so you can instantly apply them to your other images in the same series to give a uniform style to them.

There are many filters to choose from in Luminar, and some of them are found under the ‘Creative’ menu. These ones can be fun to add to an image for a quick change. I used the Orton Effect filter on the image next, which gives a highly saturated, glowy contrast look to the image.

The sliders on the Orton Effect panel can be adjusted to give different ‘looks’, so you can find something to suit you—from in-your-face dramatic, to subtle and intriguing:

luminar effects

Orton Effect

This is the before/after split with Orton Effect filter. It’s really made the summer greens and yellows stand out:

editing travel photography

Before/After Orton Effect

What if we were to add an adjustment layer and change the layer blending mode? Let’s find out!

I added a new adjustment layer by going up to the top right-hand corner of the screen and clicking the ‘+’ sign next to the Layers. This brings up a choice of layers, and I clicked the ‘Add New Adjustment Layer’ choice:

how to edit with luminar

Add New Adjustment Layer

On the new layer, you will find the Blending Modes drop-down at the top left of the new layer. The default mode is ‘Normal’, but as you can see there are many different blending modes, and each one will have an effect on the image if you click. Experiment with what the different modes do; you can always go back to ‘Normal’ mode if you don’t like them. I chose ‘Overlay’ mode:

how to use luminar 2018

Overlay Mode

I also dropped the ‘Opacity’ slider down to 28 percent, as at 100 percent, the effect was too strong. Overlay generally adds strong contrast and color to an image and is a quick way to give a color/contrast boost:



This was added on top of the ‘Orton Effect’ filter, but you can add layers and change blend modes on any of the filters, and the presets too.

Using Presets

Another feature of Luminar that’s good for super-speedy editing is the presets. These presets will give you a fresh look in just one click, and they’re fully adjustable and customizable. You can even add two or more presets on top of each other by using the Adjustment Layers.

You’ll find the presets if you click on this button along the top menu bar of Luminar:

presets menu icon luminar

Preset Icon

The presets will appear along the bottom of the screen in a ‘film strip’ style. You can see from these previews how your image will look if you apply them:

luminar preset previews

Preset Film Strip

These are just the ‘Basic’ presets. You’ll find many more if you click the ‘Categories’ arrow, which is above the previews.

luminar 2018 screenshot

Preset Categories

There are categories for several types of images, so you’re sure to find something to suit you here.

I chose one of the ‘Travel’ category presets here to show you how you can make dramatic differences with just one click:

one click preset

Travel Preset

This is the ‘Impressive’ preset before/after split, and you can see on the right how much of a difference this one preset has made.

Here are the full screen before and after images:

before editing in luminar


after editing in luminar 2018


The ‘Impressive’ preset is well-named! One click, and a dramatic difference.

Final Thoughts

Although post-processing is an essential part of photography, there’s nothing worse than being chained to your computer doing time-consuming edits and missing all the fun. Luminar can free you to go out and shoot more, or simply to enjoy your trip. All the edits I did on this image took less than a minute, and the preset one took less than 20 seconds to choose and click the mouse!

Learn more: The Luminar 3 Photo Editor

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