Testing Out Luminar Extensions: Are They Really That Good?

There are quite a few extensions available by Luminar. Deciding which one is right and if it does what it says can take a while. This excellent video takes a look at all of the extensions and explains how each one works and what it does.

HDR Merge

HDR Merge is a feature that allows you to take several images and create a single frame where the shadows, highlights, and everything else are perfectly exposed. One problem I always had with HDR was aligning the photos. Unless you use a tripod, it is very difficult to do HDR. Fortunately, Luminar’s HDR extension allows you to merge images into an HDR file even if they were not taken with perfect alignment. This will come in handy for people shooting architecture or landscapes, as getting a perfect exposure can sometimes be very difficult in one frame.

Focus Stacking

One of the most used techniques in product photography, focus stacking allows you to combine images taken at different focus points. This is helpful with macro photography, and I have yet to find someone who does macro photography without focus stacking. Again, the Luminar Neo Focus Stacking extension will align the images for you. This extension will combine your photos into one in no time.


Upscaling is a feature that lets you make the resolution of the image larger. For example, if you are looking to print a large photo, you might want to consider using an upscaled version. Most cameras shoot at 20-30 megapixels, which may not produce enough resolution to fill a large A0 scale print. By using the Upscale extension, you can enhance this and produce a more detailed file that will print nicer. Since the files get really large, it makes sense to use the 2x or 4x options. If the file is extra small, you can even use the 6x option. If you ever set your camera to small raw or medium raw by accident, this feature is for you.  

Supersharp AI

Motion blur is one of the worst enemies of photographers. It can ruin an otherwise perfect shot. Be it a slow shutter speed or an accidental shake on your part, blur shows up in the smallest details. Luckily, Sharpen AI is the perfect solution for such things, as it allows you to greatly improve the image quality by sharpening your image. The difference between regular sharpening and Supersharp AI is in fine detail. By using AI-enabled algorithms, Supersharp AI is able to keep the sharpening natural, as opposed to the unappealing sharpening that other software produces.  

Magic Light

Lighting is the key to photography. However, it is not often that you get to control natural light. By using the Magic Light extension, however, you can do just that and change the properties of your light source. For example, you can change the intensity, size, beam width, glow, brightness, number of beams, and even rotation of your light source. This extension is able to easily identify any light sources present in the photo (for example, the sun) and change how they appear in the photo.

Background Removal

If you’re new to photography, then removing the background may be something you want but are not able to do. Buying more software just to do one feature doesn’t really make economic sense either. This is why the background removal feature is so good, as it lets you change backgrounds without having to use external software.

Noiseless AI

Noise is another enemy of many photographers. Having taken a lot of photos with bad lighting, I often dealt with bad noise and got complaints about it too. The denoise function in editing software does eliminate some of it, but you can clearly tell if an image has been de-noised. This is why Noiseless is yet again a useful extension in Luminar. To use this, you need to have a raw image. In her excellent video, Julia Trotti takes an image at ISO 80,000 and processes it with Noiseless. The results are definitely impressive and show just how powerful the software is.

If you want to learn more about the extensions in Luminar Neo, be sure to check out the video and Luminar's website to learn more. If you don't have Luminar Neo already, get it HERE. For a limited time only, you can use the code FSTOPPERS10 to get a discount for Pro and Explore subscriptions, as well as the lifetime option. This will work for all subscription models, except for monthly.

Illya Ovchar's picture

Illya Ovchar is a fashion photographer based in Europe. In his work, Illya aims to tell stories with clothes and light. Illya's work can be seen in magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire, and InStyle.

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So the title of this article is "Testing Out Luminar Extensions: Are They Really That Good?" - after reading the article, THERE ARE ZERO answers/opinions. This is CLICK BAIT and a waste of someone's time. Stealing a person's time is one of the worst (and yes most common) "crimes" on the internet. Please, if you are going to write an "article", put some SUBSTANCE in it.

Based on the video and reading the article you were unable to formulate an answer to the question? Don't blame the article author if you're unable to think or judge for yourself.

Let’s talk about Luminar. I’ve been using version 4 for a couple years and its streamlined workflow is great for quick fixes. Its file handling abilities are challenging.

Neo added some nice AI tricks such as portrait bokka but it took away some functions as well. In Neo, I can’t help but think the main effort is to sell me more add ons.

What is really bothersome is that the 4 plug in for Apple Photos hasn’t worked since the last MacOS upgrade. This happens every year as if the coming upgrade was a surprise. Now, three months on it still doesn’t work. It’s coming they promise. I’m starting to wonder.

This software subscription is very inexpensive and they are adding to and fixing bugs to NEO all the time. Development costs are expensive. Yes they must make adequate revenue and profits to stay in business. Subscriptions are here to stay and the one off sale is going to die a slow death. It is just to difficulty to support products out there with multiple versions. Many vendors are saying that we want autoupdate to ensure everyone has the latest for support reasons. The only way around this will be moving to Linux.

I don't think it's clickbait. It shows the functions and let you decide if it's good enough for you or not.
The title may think you'll get thumbs up or thumbs down for every feature though.
That's what i like about the Julia she 's never pushing you.
It's a relaxing informing video. About as always in her reviews.

Well I do think that you can draw your own conclusions from the video. I think background removal was pretty terrible. It could not pick out the hair. HDR is a good one I think as it uses the tech from a precious product Aurora HDR . If you owned it like I do they give you the extension but it is not as good as the Aurora which has more adjustments. The rest of the extensions are ho hum and are to expensive for what they are. They are no way as good as Topaz so if you are going to spend money, go with Topaz. They are similar to On1, which all of these except for magic light On1 has built in and come free with the product. On1 has a better integration into the product and better results and the ability after AI has made a mask to actually edit the AI made mask, Neo does not have this ability for even the built in effects like relight, On1 has better layer function and Neos layers are a kludgie add on. Although On1 is superior in almost every way Neo has great results fast and is worth the price of admission and to me makes a great plug in for On1, but the extensions get a no go in my book. On1 has these free and if you are spending money, Topaz does it better. I do like the magic light but it would be used so little in my photography that $50 is not worth the price of admission. If you only owned Neo, $269 for the extension pack is just absolutely too much. Buy On1, and some Topaz filters. There are other filters out there as well. Maybe if Skylum offered the filter pack for $50 they may have something, as it now, there is to much better software out there to spend your $269 on.

IF I read a book review a derivative is produced. I may read the book based on the review. The review educates me. The article does not do that. I am referred to watching a video to see what the software does. If I read a review that tells me to watch someone else's review I would consider thaat to be ...

I have yet to try Luminar. Had a bad experience with Aurora HDR awhile back after reading a good review online. I bought Aurora only to find that it could not process Canon CR3 files (this was a couple years after the R5 came out) and they did not inform you that it would not work with some files. When I complained about it on their Skyluum support community pages I was informed that I would have to convert all my psd files in order to work with them in Aurora. I didn't get a prompt response from Skyluum and checked them out on BBB https://www.bbb.org/us/wa/bellevue/profile/computer-software/skylum-soft... They actually have a F rating with BBB as you can see at the link. I had to badger them to finally have them reimburse me only after some counter offers and being advised that they have a small development team that was concentrating on Luminar with no deadline for supporting their other software. Deal with them at your own risk. Never have I looked up a software company to find they had an F rating until this one.