About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Using Luminar non-destructively from Photoshop and Lightroom

Using Luminar non-destructively from Photoshop and Lightroom

I was playing around with some photos in Photoshop earlier today, and I was also using Luminar as a plug-in, when I stumbled across something cool, almost by accident. It’s one of those things, that seems kind of obvious in hindsight, but I had never thought of trying this before. You can use Luminar non-destructively within Photoshop if you use it on a smart layer. 

When you apply a filter to a smart layer in Photoshop, it keeps the parameters non-destructive. So, in theory, you can re-edit the effect, and change the settings that you used when you previously applied it, When it occurred to me to try this with Luminar, at first I didn’t think it would work. 

I was expecting it not to let me do it, or for there to be some other problem, or for it to crash, but it works perfectly fine. If you open the plug-in and make your changes when you save it back to Photoshop by clicking the Apply button, the edits that you made stay non-destructive. If you double-click on the entry in the layers palette under the smart filters line, you will bring the Luminar interface back up, with all your previously set parameters as they were, ready for you to re-edit. 

This got me thinking … could I use this to work with Luminar non-destructively form Lightroom? It turns out that, yes, yes you can. 

Sort of. 

In a roundabout way.

For this to work, you need to send your photo from Lightroom to Photoshop as a smart object. This will then open up Photoshop with the image already set as a smart layer. It will also keep the camera raw parameters set non-destructively. 

Now all you have to do is run Luminar as a plugin on this. When you do it this way, not only does the Luminar edits stay non-destructive, but the original raw conversion parameters in Camera RAW will too. 

To demonstrate this I made a video.

It is kind of a roundabout way of working, but it does work, and it means that you can keep your settings editable if you want to return to them later. Even when you save the file from Photoshop back to Lightroom, both the camera raw settings and your Luminar edits should remain non-destructive. Not only that but if you edit the camera raw settings, the Luminar pass will update with the new results! 

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