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Luminar Neo Review – Latest Version + Free Trial & 15% off

Luminar Neo Review

In this Luminar Neo review, I get hands-on with Skylum Software‘s latest and greatest photo editor. With its simple interface, powerful Presets, and AI-powered wonder tools such as Relight AI, Mask AI, Layers, and Portrait Background Removal, it’s never been easier or quicker to edit a photo to perfection.

This review is based on the latest version of Luminar Neo With version v1.2.0, we finally get a Dodge and Burn tool plus access to premium extensions such as HDR Merge. As a result, the distance between Neo and Luminar AI has never been greater. So whether you’re a new customer or a Luminar AI owner looking for an upgrade, Luminar Neo is a compelling option. Jump to Conclusion | Download Luminar Neo Trial

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What is Luminar Neo

Luminar Neo is an AI-powered photo editor from Skylum Software. Released on the 17th of February 2022, Luminar Neo replaces Luminar 4 as Skylum’s enthusiast-orientated photo editor. Read Luminar 4 Review.

Presets in Luminar Neo

Skylum Software’s Luminar products are different from other photo editors. By utilizing AI, Luminar Neo automates traditional photo editing techniques replacing their complexity with a single click.

For instance, Luminar Neo offers Sky Enhancer, Golden Hour Glow, and Skin AI tools. And to apply these effects, you need only drag a slider.

But what if you don’t want to drag a slider? Well, thanks to Presets, you don’t have to. Presets in Luminar Neo provide a 1-click route toward a well-processed photo. And since Luminar Neo’s preset works so well, you may never need to do anything else.

Yet none of this is to say that Luminar Neo is a dumbed-down photo editor for beginners. On the contrary, Luminar Neo produces results to match any photo editor on the market today. And thanks to AI-powered wonder tools such as Portrait Bokeh AI and Sky Replace AI – it has plenty to offer an experienced photo editor. Later in this Luminar Neo review, we’ll look at 11 of Luminar Neo’s key features. But for now, who is Neo for?

Who is Luminar Neo for?

Luminar Neo is the best photo editor for beginners on the market today. But even if you are a seasoned photo editor, Luminar Neo’s intoxicating blend of speed and effectiveness is hard to resist. If you get used to using Neo, you may find it difficult going back to brushing on masks and fiddling with tone curves.

Luminar Neo Trial

Download the free Luminar Neo trial and try it free for seven days. No credit card is required.

How much does Luminar Neo cost?

Luminar Neo costs US$79. Click here to check the latest deals in your currency.

Luminar Neo Promo Code

Apply the Promo Code SILENTPEAKNEO10 at checkout for an attractive discount.

When was Luminar Neo Released?

February 2022

What’s the latest version of Luminar Neo?

Luminar Neo v1.2.0 (Reviewed)

What does Luminar Neo do?

Luminar Neo is armed with many of the same features as Luminar AI. These features include Sky AI, Portrait Bokeh AI, and Face AI. However, Luminar Neo has several tools Luminar AI does not, such as Relight AI, Mask AI, and a Portrait Background Removal tool. If you want to know more about the differences between Luminar Neo and AI, check out Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI.

In this part of this Luminar Neo review, we’ll look at 11 key features to help you decide whether Luminar Neo is worth it.

Photo Management

Photo management takes place on Luminar Neo’s Catalog tab. Here, you can flag a photo as ‘Favorite’ or ‘Rejected’ and drag your photos into Albums of your own making.

But unlike some other photo editors, you cannot tag photos with keywords or set up smart searches. Nor does it feature contemporary photo management features such as Geotagging and Face Recognition. Nevertheless, the interface is friendly, clean, and pleasant to use.

Batch Editing

Luminar Neo features a batch editing tool that allows copying the adjustments of one edit to another. To perform a batch edit, open the catalog tab, select the edited photo and the photos you wish to copy the adjustment to, and you’re done.

If you want to see batch editing in Luminar Neo in action, check out the video below.

Luminar Neo Presets

Presets in Luminar Neo offers a simple 1-click alternative to manually editing your photo. And with 22 different preset collections containing 5-6 individual presets each – there’s a preset to suit every image.

Furthermore, Neo’s AI will assess your photo and recommend the Preset Collections it thinks will best suit your image. But if you’re still unsatisfied, you can buy additional Presets from Skylum’s Market Place or make your own. The slide below illustrates the before and after effects of applying a Preset. Learn more about Presets in Luminar Neo.

Luminar Neo Preset

Sky AI – Sky Replacement

Luminar Neo features the latest version of Luminar AI’s Sky AI Sky Replacement tool. With Sky AI, it takes seconds to swap one Sky with another. Furthermore, Sky AI will relight your scene to match the new Sky.

While the quality of the result varies from photo to photo and Sky to Sky, you will be surprised just how well it works.

Sky AI

Luminar Neo includes more than 30 different skies for you to try. Varieties include sunny days, sunsets and sunrises, Storms, and Auroras. If you can’t find the Sky you’re looking for, you can upload your own or buy skies from Skylum’s Marketplace. Learn how to Edit Landscape Photos with Luminar Neo

Portrait Bokeh AI

Luminar Neo’s Portrait Bokeh AI adds background blur to any portrait or selfie you’ve ever taken. Like Sky AI, Portrait Bokeh AI works very well. Blurring your photo’s background is only a matter of dragging a slider.

If you want extreme blur, you can alter the Bokeh’s depth for the kind of blur that would make many lenses blush. And for a little extra punch, you can brighten the highlights to add a little sparkle. In the video below, I show how easy it is to turn a lousy smartphone selfie into a pro-grade portrait. Read The fastest way to edit your selfies.

Face and Skin AI

Luminar Neo’s Face and Skin AI are highly effective tools for correcting poor light and taking years off your subject.

Face AI enables you to relight your subject’s face. But more than that, you can slim faces, remove dark circles under eyes, redden lips, whiten teeth, and enhance eyebrows. At the same time, Skin AI smooths out wrinkles and eliminates blemishes.

It’s powerful stuff, and thanks to Luminar Neo’s AI-powered algorithms, you don’t need to mask or brush. Instead, all you have to do is pick an effect and slide in its strength.

Face/Skin AI

Mask AI

Mask AI in Luminar Neo uses subject recognition to automatically mask objects such as architecture, skies, water, and humans without manual brushing. Once you’ve applied the mask, you can apply adjustments to that area alone, leaving the rest of the image intact.

Depending on the complexity of your photo, Mask AI can work flawlessly. If the mask is not quite right, you can touch it up manually using a brush. Learn more about Mask AI in Luminar Neo

Relight AI

Thanks to Luminar Neo’s AI-powered scene recognition, Relight AI automatically recognizes your photo’s foreground from its background – leaving you free to adjust the lighting of either independently.

Although Relight AI has many applications, it proves very useful for portraiture. I use Relight AI in the video below to correct and enhance my backlit subject. Learn more about Relight AI in Luminar Neo.

Erase Tool

Luminar Neo’s Erase Tool is precisely that. Paint over what you want to go, and so it shall be. There are also one-click options for removing Powerlines and Dust Spots.

My first impressions of Erase were excellent. But after subsequent updates and extended use, I’ve found it to be hit-and-miss. As the photo below illustrates, Powerline Removal can be unreliable.



Layers in Luminar Neo enable you to add one or many overlays such as Bokeh, light leaks, and flare. You can even blend in another photo.

Like other layer-based editors, you have the option to adjust layer opacity, order, and blend type. But unlike more comprehensive layer-based editors, you cannot add adjustment layers, vectors, and text. Still, it’s straightforward to use, and I immensely like it. Learn more about Layers in Luminar Neo

Effects Layers

Portrait Background Removal AI

The latest addition to this Luminar Neo review is Portrait Background Removal AI. As the name suggests, the tool lets you quickly remove your subject from their background. This is useful if you want to insert a new location or add your portrait to graphic art, such as a presentation or social post.

How well this first iteration of Portrait Background Removal AI works depends on the complexity of your photo. Overall, it works well for low-fi use cases like social media. But a little work is required before it offers good enough results for background replacement and hi-end graphic design. Learn more about Portrait Background Removal in Luminar Neo.


Optional Extensions for Luminar Neo

With Luminar Neo v1.2.0 comes the ability to add additional extensions. At present, there’s only one extension, HDR Merge, but more are on the way.

HDR Merge

HDR in Luminar Neo enables you to blend multiple photos taken at different exposures to create a single high dynamic range photo. It even works well with single photos. For more information, check out HDR in Luminar Neo.

How good is Luminar Neo to use?

Ease of Use

Luminar Neo is very nice to use. For instance, the user interface is clean, and the features are well named and accessible. And since Neo’s AI has successfully dissolved complex editing processes into single clicks, you’ll find it very easy to edit your photo.

Skylum Software has also blessed Luminar Neo with some sensible ergonomics. For example, you can assign your most-used Presets to your favorites list. And since Neo v1.0.7, you can check your histogram and move your favorite editing tools to the top of the stack.

If you’re pleased with one of your edits, you can save the sum of your adjustments and create your own preset for future use. Alternatively, you can use the batch edit function to copy and apply those adjustments to other photos in your collection. Overall, it isn’t easy to see how Luminar Neo could be easier to use.

See my free video tutorials if you want to learn how to use Luminar Neo.


In terms of speed, Luminar Neo has endured a bumpy ride. Early releases tended to grind along and consume more-and-more RAM as you piled on your adjustments. As a result, the application was prone to stalling and crashing.

However, Luminar Neo v1.1.1 is a different beast. In practical terms, Neo responds to minor adjustments in real-time, with complex tasks such as Sky AI and Portrait Bokeh AI taking a little longer. But given the result, the wait feels entirely reasonable.

In terms of hardware, Neo is the most demanding on RAM, CPU, GPU, and Disk (in that order). Therefore, I recommend you run Luminar Neo with at least 8GB RAM and, preferably, with 16GB. Otherwise, you’ll pass the load to your CPU and Hard disk.

If you are unsure whether your PC or Mac is up to the job – you can download the Luminar Neo trial and try it free for seven days.

Luminar Neo Compared

Luminar Neo is a somewhat unique photo editor. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Neo’s main competitor is Skylum’s own Luminar AI. However, ON1 Photo Raw 2022 also features AI technology and a broader feature set.

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI

The difference between Luminar Neo and AI is that Neo has almost everything AI has and more besides. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, Luminar AI has Augmented Sky AI and traditional Dodge, Burn, and Clone tools, while Luminar Neo does not.

Comparing Luminar Neo and AI side-by-side

On the other hand, Luminar Neo has AI’s best tricks, plus Layers, Relight AI, Mask AI, and the Portrait Background Removal tool. Furthermore, Neo runs faster, costs the same, and enjoys continuous development.

Therefore, in practical terms, Luminar Neo has replaced Luminar AI. For more information, visit my full side-by-side Luminar Neo vs. Luminar AI comparison.

Luminar Neo vs ON1 Photo Raw

ON1 Photo Raw is an insanely well-featured all-in-one photo studio similar to Lightroom and ACDSee Ultimate. But like Luminar Neo, ON1 Photo Raw features AI-powered wonder tools such as Portrait Enhance, Sky Replacement, and the outstanding NoNoise AI.

ON1 Photo Raw 2022.5

Between the two, ON1 Photo Raw is capable of more. But it’s also more expensive and more complicated. If you want to edit photos as efficiently as possible – Luminar Neo is the way to go. For more info, read my Luminar Neo vs ON1 Photo Raw Comparison.

Luminar Neo Discounts

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Luminar Neo is a superb photo editor that builds on the already-excellent Luminar AI. Despite being billed as an enthusiast-level editor, Luminar Neo is suitable for beginners and experts.

Great features

With Luminar Neo’s generous stock of Presets, you have an effortless one-click route towards a well-processed photo. And for some exciting results, you can add a few effects layers.

As for layers, they are fun and straightforward to use. But because you cannot add adjustment layers, shapes, or text, Luminar Neo should not be considered a layer-based photo editor in the same vein as Photoshop, GIMP, or ACDSee Ultimate. Read ACDSee Ultimate Review


As for Luminar Neo’s other features, I like Relight AI for tuning up my portraits, and Mask AI is impressive. But Luminar Neo owes its most excellent tricks to Luminar AI. Sky AI is as fun as ever, and Portrait Bokeh AI will lift your selfies to the next level.

Luminar Neo Compared

With that in mind, you might wonder whether you should buy Luminar Neo if you already have Luminar AI? Well, as the saying goes, yes. Not only does Luminar Neo have more features, but it is also appreciably faster and, unlike Luminar AI, remains in continuous development. At this stage, there are no circumstances in which I would recommend you buy Luminar AI over Neo. Read Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI

Sky AI in Luminar AI

Perhaps Luminar Neo’s biggest rival outside Skylum Software is ON1’s Photo Raw 2022. Both feature Effects Layers, Sky Replacement, and Portrait touch-up features. In terms of features, almost nothing surpasses ON1 Photo Raw 2022. However, Photo Raw is more expensive and difficult to use than Luminar Neo. Read ON1 Photo Raw 2022 Review


While Luminar Neo is easy to use – it can be slow. However, the latest versions of Luminar Neo are much faster. That being said, Luminar Neo can still grind a little when you use its most powerful features, and it requires at least 8GB of RAM to perform at its best. If you are unsure whether your computer has the chops, I recommend downloading the free Luminar Neo trial and trying it yourself.

Is Luminar Neo worth it?

In concluding this Luminar Neo Review, it is clear that Neo is worth it and then some. It’s feature-packed, affordable, and effortless to use. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert looking for quick results, you can barely do better than Luminar Neo. Check Prices | Download Luminar Neo Trial | Back to Intro

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More about Luminar Neo

Luminar Neo FAQs

Luminar Neo Release Date

The release date for Luminar Neo is February 2022.

Is Luminar Neo better than Luminar AI

Luminar Neo has several exciting features that are not present in Luminar AI, such as Portrait Background Removal AI, Relight AI, and Layer-based photo editing.

Can you get Luminar Neo for Free?

Luminar Neo is yet to be released, as is a free trial

Is Luminar Neo Standalone

Yes – it is an independent photo editor for Windows 10

Does Luminar Neo have Layers

Yes. Luminar Neo enables you to edit your photos using layers. Furthermore, you can adjust each layer’s opacity and blend mode.

Is Luminar Neo Slow

Earlier versions of Luminar Neo were prone to running slowly. However, later versions of Luminar Neo have proven to be much faster.

Is my PC fast enough to run Luminar Neo?

Luminar Neo needs at least 8GB of RAM, although I recommend 16GB. Luminar Neo is less demanding on CPU and GPU.

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