Best Drone Photo Editing Software, Skylum Luminar Neo

For many years Lightroom and Photoshop were the programs I used for editing photos and organizing images and videos

But many of you were asking for alternatives, so I tried several others and the one I found the most interesting is Luminar Neo

Two years ago I adopted it as my go to program for photo post processing and I did a review of its functionalities

In this article I will focus on some features added recently, please refer to the article linked above for all other functionalities

Related articles you may find interesting:

If you prefer to watch this as a video, you will find my YouTube version at the end of this article

Pricing Options

Many users asked me for an alternative to the monthly subscription plan of Lightroom and Photoshop

Luminar Neo offers several price options, including a choice between a perpetual license or a subscription plan. It can be used as a standalone program or as a plug in for Lightroom and Photoshop.

You can check here the different pricing options together with a 10% discount coupon (code VicVideoPic). It is an affiliate link, so I receive a small commission for each sale but I am not sponsored by this company

When I started using Luminar Neo, I considered it the best value editing software, with only a few minor options missing from my wish list. In the last couple of years the program has been constantly improved and updated with plenty of interesting features

It offers an array of innovative functionalities, it combines most functionalities of Lightroom and Photosdhop within a single program. This greatly simplifies the workflow, as there is no need to switch from one program to the other

It is possible to use layers, although I will not analyze it here, as it would take too much time

In this article I will concentrated on the functionality added recently, for all the basic feature please refer to my previous one about this program 

Luminar Neo is so rich in features that it may seem difficult for beginners, but this is not the case, as most functionalities are very intuitive and easy to learn 


Like Lightroom, Luminar Neo has database management capabilities for photo and video. This is crucial for users with a large collection of media

A couple of years ago the catalogue  was not as powerful as the one in Lightroom, but it has been improved since

It is possible to import a large number of images from a hard drive maintaining the same structure of folders and subfolders. When adding a new subfolder or moving images from one to another, the changes made are also applied to the hard drive

It is possible to have more than one catalogue, which can be useful to separate different activities, for example professional images from personal ones

It supports Albums to temporarily group images without modifying their position in the folders, very handy when working on a specific project. It is also possible to add tags like Favorite or Rejected to each file

Image organization in Luminar Neo is now almost as good as the one in Lightroom, the only missing features are color codes and star ratings

Database management becomes more and more important as the collection of images grows. The ability to organize video clips is crucial for videographers and it is not offered by most other editing programs


Luminar Neo now offers all sorts of extensions, including:

  • Panorama stitching
  • Focus Stacking
  • HDR Merge

This last extension has an interesting option for batch merging a large amount of images taken in Automatic Exposure Bracketing to create several merged images at once. It is a great time saver, especially when taking many photos in the direction of the sun

There are also three Generative tools based on artificial intelligence:

  • Gen Erase deletes unwanted objects filling the space with textures matching the surrounding area
  • Gen Swap adds specific elements to an image: after drawing a mask some text must be entered to describe the element to add
  • Gen Expand extends the boundary of an image horizontally or vertically filling the space integrating with the surrounding area.  It can be useful for a photo taken in vertical format to be included in a project in landscape orientation


Water Enhancer

Water Enhancer detects a body of water in an image and creates a mask to limit the adjustment to that specific portion. It is then possible to fine tune the appearance of the water by modifying the amount of blue and green, the brightness and the contrast

I prefer to make bold adjustments at first to find the desired effect and to better show you how each slider works. I then make it more subtle using the Amount and Original Color sliders

The mask does in most cases a good job isolating the water, but some adjustments are often needed. By opening the menu Refine Area we can add or subtract elements to the mask using the buttons Draw and Erase after using the sliders below to adjust the brush

Twilight Enhancer

Twilight Enhancer consists of a series of presets meant for images taken at dawn and dusk to replicate the atmosphere of the blue and golden hours

There is a choice of five presets

  • Golden
  • Blush
  • Emerald
  • Mauve
  • Blue

Golden, Emerald and Mauve give different interpretations of the golden hour with a very warm feeling. Blue restores the look of the blue hour to the scene with much cooler colors. I am not a big fan of Blush, I find it a bit too extreme

Let’s try with this image of a monastery on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily taken right after sunset. There are a few clouds in the lower part of the sky with some reflections from the setting sun. Let’s see if we can increase the golden hour effect to match what it looked like in real life

Mauve gives a dramatic rendition with a very warm feel and a good dose of magenta. The Amount slider is by default at zero, so we must push it to the right to see the effect

The overall exposure is very low, so I increase the value. In the panel Sky we can adjust the Temperature and Tint, mostly on the sky, although the elements on the ground are also partially affected. I prefer to reduce the magenta cast just a bit

The panel Down has several sliders affecting mostly the sky, according to the settings in Mask Refinement

The next one, Scene, is useful to adjust the luminosity of the elements on the ground

Finally in Mask Refinement we can fine tune the area where the effect is applied

Feel free to play around with Golden and Emerald for slightly different renditions of the Golden Hour

If we select Blue the mood changes with much cooler tones, mimicking what we would see about half hour later, in the blue hour


A couple of years ago Luminar Neo had some masking tools based on AI, but they needed some refinements. These tools have been improved since and several new interesting ones have been added

The Brush, Linear Gradient and Radial Gradient are very similar to the ones in Lightroom and Photoshop for localized adjustments, many users are familiar with them

The Luminosity Mask is a very welcome addition. It works by selecting a portion of the luminosity spectrum

We can precisely select the area to be masked around the highlights, midtones or shadows, the size of the area can be adjusted by moving the rectangular icon

By pulling the small arrows it is possible to adjust the feathering and soften the transition. In this case I want to select the shadows to lift them slightly

Further down there is an AI Mask tool that analyses the scene and groups in this case the elements into Sky, Flora and Architecture

A very interesting tool is the Object Select. After analysing the scene, it tries to create a mask for each individual element

It works very well in this case. Let’s say that I want to increase the luminosity of this church hidden in the middle of the vegetation. I can click on the mask and slightly push the exposure slider to the right, maybe also add a bit of warmth with the Temperature slider

It is also possible to group several masks. By clicking on the button Add I can select several elements and then apply a touch of extra luminosity and some contrast. By clicking on Subtract I can deselect one or more elements

If You Prefer To Watch This As A Video


I am Vittorio Caramazza, aka Vicvideopic, the founder of this website and author of all the posts. I am a videographer and photographer contributing to several stock agencies. I am an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Lightroom. I have 10 years of experience with dron videography and photography. I was struck by drone syndrome in 2013. I have owned and tested in depth the following drones: Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Mini, Mini 2, Air 2, Air 2s, Autel Evo Nano Plus, Mavic 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3. My home has turned into a breeding ground for drones. I am the owner of two YouTube channels specializing in Videography and Photography, with a focus on drones My main channel is VicVideopic (in English): My other channel is Drone Mitico, the Italian version.: I am currently based in Sicily (Southern Italy), but I tend to move quite often. After all, this is one of the main benefits of being a digital nomad…

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