Luminar VS Affinity Photo for Editing in 2024

Affinity Photo and Luminar are both superb image editing programs, providing advanced image editing capabilities that allow you to create spectacular photos.

Luminar vs Affinity

Adobe has long been the reigning monarch in the realm of photo editing software, but that dominance may be starting to wane. In this piece, we pit Luminar against Affinity Photo to see how they square off.

Every photographer requires a top-notch photo editor for post-production enhancements. Adobe’s reign in the photo editing software world has been unchallenged for a long time, but that’s starting to change. Recently, Luminar and Affinity have emerged as two of the most promising new photo editing programs.

Since Adobe introduced its new subscription model, many photographers are seeking alternatives to Photoshop and other Adobe apps. The subscription cost can quickly pile up, making other programs appear more appealing. However, choosing a photo editor is a significant decision, both in terms of time and money.

Mastering a new software takes time, so you certainly don’t want to make a regrettable choice. Continue reading to find out which of these photo editing tools is the victor in our detailed review and comparison!

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What is Luminar?

Luminar NEO

Luminar is a standalone, all-in-one RAW photo editor by Skylum. This powerful photo editing software handles local edits, RAW file processing, and more. Plus, it boasts some incredible AI-powered features that have everyone buzzing! All your edits are non-destructive, meaning you can revert to an earlier version if you change your mind.

Currently in its 4th edition, it has vastly improved compared to previous versions. This image editor is compatible with both Mac and Windows, and its editing process is non-destructive. It also includes an effective Digital Asset Management system to catalog all your images and facilitate browsing.

What is Affinity Photo?

affinity photo

Affinity Photo is an affordable photo editing program that provides a broad array of photo editing tools. You can process and edit RAW shots within Affinity as well. Serif, the company behind Affinity, aimed to create a viable alternative to Lightroom. A platform that would be accessible to all photographers, both amateurs, and pros. From quick touch-ups to advanced editing, you can do everything within this program.

Many people liken Affinity to Photoshop, as it lacks a library feature to store your photos. However, it is streamlined, user-friendly, and provides advanced editing tools that produce fantastic results.

Luminar Vs. Affinity: The Showdown

So let’s dive into our software review and comparison. How do these two image editing programs stack up? We’ll examine the features of Affinity Photo and Luminar NEO, and see which one emerges victorious!

User Interface

At first glance, both workspaces appear very similar. Both sport a dark grey aesthetic, and the image you’re editing sits center on the screen. Along the top and sides, you’ll find tool menus, where you can select the different effects you want to use.

Luminar categorizes the features into different toolbars, but you can also customize the workspace to suit your individual workflow. The toolbars are:

– Canvas (basic editing functions)

– Essentials (color and tone correction tools)

– Creative (AI Sky Replacement and other cool features)

– Layers

– Portrait

– Pro (advanced tools like gradients and split toning)

Affinity has also divided the features into 5 main sections, known as ‘Personas.’ These are:

– Photo (for edits and retouching)

– Develop (photo editing RAW images)

– Liquify

– Tone Mapping (HDR merging)

– Export (saving and exporting your images)

You can also edit the workspace to only show the functions you use most often within Affinity Photo. However, it doesn’t offer custom presets.

Luminar displays a convenient filmstrip on the left-hand side, allowing you to scroll through your photos and select the next image you want to edit. Affinity lacks a similar function, making it harder to choose the next shot to work on.

Overall, when it comes to the interface, we lean towards Luminar. It’s streamlined, customizable, and more straightforward. Affinity Photo’s use of Personas is unique to its own software, so it takes longer to grasp. You can’t cross over different tools between the individual personas, making it less intuitive. Also, we’re not quite sure why the Liquify tool has its own persona that must be selected separately from other functions.

Raw Image Developing

Both programs offer RAW image development. In Luminar, any edits are non-destructive, swift, and effective. You get a lot of control over your images, and you can edit in one smooth workflow. A significant bonus is that you can edit one photo, and then apply your adjustments to a batch of images. This feature will save professional photographers a lot of time and is particularly useful for wedding and event shoots.

Affinity does permit you to develop RAW images. However, the process is not as smooth and easy as in Luminar. First, you need to make any adjustments to your RAW images in the Develop Persona. Only once you’re finished can you access the full range of tools in the Photo persona. This bifurcation is a significant drawback to the user interface, as you’re required to go through two separate workflows to achieve your results.

Both Lightroom and Luminar have a lot of third-party presets. We recommend the best free Luminar presets here.

You also can’t backtrack on your file adjustments. It’s almost impossible to go back to the Develop Persona and modify them once you’ve switched to the Photo persona. There’s also no way to batch process RAW files, as you can only do this in the Photo persona, too.

Without a doubt, Luminar wins when it comes to RAW image development. It’s so much simpler and easier, and batch processing is a huge bonus. The switch between the Develop Persona and Photo Persona in Affinity is just too clunky and time-consuming.

creux du van

Local Editing Capabilities

If you’d asked us a year ago, we would have told you that Affinity Photo has better local editing capabilities. However, Skylum has upped the ante with its latest edition, compared to the old Luminar edition. This updated version boasts more than 300 tools you can use to edit your photos, from the basic to the very advanced.

It’s possible to edit in layers, so you get control over your images right down to the smallest detail.

Affinity Photo also offers commendable local editing features in the Photo Persona, with impressive sub-pixel precision. You can use unlimited adjustment layers, masks, gradients, blend modes, and more. You’re free to let your vision take control and create the perfect image with these powerful tools. A variety of brushes is included, too, allowing you to carefully refine every detail in your photo.

If you’re having trouble masking out these areas precisely Topaz makes an advanced masking software called Topaz Mask AI (see our review here). It is one of the best photo masking software options out there for masking hair and more complex situations.

It’s just a shame that you can’t integrate it with the Develop persona, too. Everything from editable masks to adjustment layers and cloning is possible in this affordable app.

The Winner: It’s close, but Luminar wins again.

Extra Features

When it comes to additional features, Affinity packs them in: HDR merging, panorama stitching, focus stacking, and digital painting. You name it, this software’s got it. The one big feature that it doesn’t offer is a Digital Asset Manager. Unfortunately, there’s no library feature in this software, making it hard to compare this program to Adobe Lightroom.

And that’s what’s so great about Luminar. Not only does it offer advanced editing capabilities, but it also has a complete library system. It truly is a standalone app with everything a photographer could wish for. In the Library, you can add star ratings, flag images, add color labels, and browse through your shots. A new update is coming soon, and then you’ll be able to add and search by keywords and metadata. There’s still some work to do on improving the Library, but it’s definitely a bonus feature.

The tools that have drawn the most hype in Luminar NEO are the smart, one-click AI tools. With Sky Replacer, for example, you can create breathtaking, faultless images. It’s easy to swap out a dull sky for another, more eye-catching background, and you’ll have an incredible image. Other AI functions include:

– AI structure: Essential for portrait and landscape photographers! Use it for improved contrast and more detail in the background.

– AI Skin & Portrait Enhancer: Portrait photographers will love this smart feature. It will automatically remove blemishes and smooth out skin tone for you, saving you lots of time! You can also remove red-eye, brighten eyes, and whiten teeth, all with one click.

– AI Vertical Alignment: Coming soon, it will be able to fix wonky horizons for you!

There’s also a full library of presets you can use on your shots. Just use the slider to adjust the intensity of the effect. It’s as simple as that!

Winner: Luminar, again. The clever one-click filters tip the balance.

If you’ve ever taken a JPEG by mistake and wanted to convert it to a RAW then Topaz have a great piece of software where you can edit JPEGS as if they are raw images. Check out the How to Convert RAW to JPEG with Topaz Raw to JPEG AI.

affinity photo performance


Here’s where Affinity Photo really shines. It’s more reliable and stable than Luminar, which is still prone to crashing. Skylum is open to user feedback and has been working to remove any bugs. Still, Luminar’s performance is far from perfect. It can lag, and even cause your computer to crash.

In contrast, Affinity’s performance is pretty good. While it can slow down if you’re opening large files or using the Liquify tool, it tends to be stable.

Winner: Affinity Photo, although both programs could be a bit faster. Luminar has further to go on improving speed, stability, and performance.

Pricing model

Value For Money

Both programs are pretty affordable when compared to Adobe’s subscription model. You can buy either editor for a one-time price of less than $100. Let’s take a look at the price and what’s included, exactly.

Affinity Photo costs $49.99, and for that price, you can install on up to 5 computers for non-commercial home use. If you’re using it commercially, you can install it on up to 2 computers. It’s available for Mac and Windows, but you will need to buy a separate license for each operating system if you need to use it on both.

There’s also an iPad version that costs only $19.99. Either way, this editor is very affordable and provides enormous value for money. You can produce some fantastic results with the powerful tools included.

As for Luminar, the price varies, but its price is currently at $99 annually or $8.25 per month. Skylum also offers sales and discounts throughout the year, so you can save even more money. It is slightly more pricey than Affinity, but you get so many incredible features that it’s worth it. Plus, it’s so much cheaper than paying a subscription every single month for Photoshop and other Adobe apps.

The Winner: It’s a draw. Both programs are affordable and offer immense value for money!

Luminar NEO Interface

Luminar Vs. Affinity FAQ

Got burning questions about these two powerful tools? Here’s where you’ll find the answers!

Is Luminar Better Than Lightroom?

Determining whether Luminar is better than Lightroom can be tricky. When it comes to AI tools, Luminar has the upper hand on Lightroom. However, Lightroom has long been a favorite software for photographers and offers a superior library system. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Luminar catch up soon, though, as

Skylum keeps bringing out new upgrades!

You can see our full Luminar vs Lightroom here.

What is the best alternative to Lightroom?

Currently, Luminar NEO is the best alternative to Lightroom. It offers excellent image editing functions as well as a respectable DAM to store and catalog your photos. Check out our full article on the best Lightroom alternative photo editing options here.

Is Affinity Photo Good?

Affinity Photo is a great photo editor at a low price, offering RAW file editing and an impressive range of local editing capabilities. It’s often compared to Adobe Photoshop due to its powerful photo adjustment tools. However, it doesn’t quite compare to the extensive features and AI filters available in Luminar.Summing Up

Affinity Photo and Luminar are both excellent image editing programs. Both offer advanced image editing to allow you to create spectacular photos. Either program would be an asset in any photographer’s toolbox. However, when it comes to the overall winner, Luminar just edges out Affinity. We absolutely adore Luminar

NEO for several reasons:

– Incredible range of 300+ powerful editing functions

– Amazing AI one-click filters

– Smooth batch processing

– Easy process for RAW file editing

– Intuitive, customizable interface

– Great Library feature to store all your photos

– And last but not least, Skylum’s commitment to upgrades and improvements to the software

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It offers everything that a photographer could need, whether you’re an amateur or a pro. We highly recommend trying it out for yourself. Plus, with their 30-day money-back guarantee, you’ve got nothing to lose! If you’re looking for affordable editing software that ensures you’ll get amazing results, Luminar fits the bill.

But that’s not to say that Affinity Photo isn’t a fantastic image editor, though. It’s easy to see why people compare this app to Photoshop, with its advanced local edit tools. If you’re interested in finding out more about Affinity Photo, you can give it a try for yourself with their free 7-day trial.

If you found this image editor guide helpful, feel free to share it on social media. Check out more articles on photography at Cultured Kiwi!

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Luminar 4 review

About The Author

2 thoughts on “Luminar VS Affinity Photo for Editing in 2024”

  1. Ruben Nygaard Larsson

    Good review. However features isn’t everything. Luminar might boast smart and clever tools, but on a PC it’s so slow and unstable that the edit you want is sometimes close to impossible to achieve. If you want consistency and a workflow without minute long waiting times and/or crashes, Affinity Photo is the way to go.

  2. Interesting review. However, when discussing the pricing, you didn’t mention the costs incurred with upgrades. If you must pay for Luminar upgrades, any perceived advantage over the ongoing Lightroom and Photoshop subscription costs (which automatically include any upgrades) will be somewhat offset. Affinity Photo offers unlimited free upgrades. I have Luminar 3 and hesitate to spring for Luminar 4 as there doesn’t seem to be a reduced upgrade vs. new cost but have so far enjoyed 5 free Affinity upgrades and counting.

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