If you have dull, lifeless-looking images that you want to save but don’t want to spend a lot of time editing them, these 3 Luminar Neo tools are just the solution for you.
By applying the techniques in this video tutorial, you can transform your flat, dull images that lack punch and contrast into stunning, eye-catching photos.
If you have photos that look like the ones above, you’ll learn how to make your images pop with Luminar Neo.
3 Luminar Neo Tools for Easily Transforming Your Photos
In this tutorial, three tools inside Luminar Neo were introduced as powerful solutions for quickly and easily enhancing dull images.
- Smart Contrast Slider – The first tool is the Smart Contrast Slider, which can be found in the Develop tool and is used to add contrast to an image by adjusting the slider to the right.
- Color Contrast– The second tool is the Color Contrast sliders, which can be found in the Color Harmony tool. It is used to adjust the color contrast in an image by dragging the slider to the right and adjusting the hue slider until you get the look you desire.
- Duplicating layers and adjusting blend modes – The third tool is using the duplicate layer function and adjusting the layer blend mode. That can be done by right-clicking on the existing layer and choosing duplicate or using the keyboard shortcut D and then changing the blend mode and opacity of that new layer to add contrast to the image.
If you REALLY want to learn everything about this photo editing software, I encourage you to check out my complete Luminar Neo training course. Learn the software from start to finish, with one instructor.
Tool #1 – Smart Contrast Slider
So the first tool I’m going to use is part of the Develop Tool. If you’re working on a raw image you’ll see it will say Develop RAW. If you’re working on a JPEG it will just say Develop and what you’re looking for is called the Smart Contrast slider.
Taking this slider to the right adds contrast. I’m going to go to about 50 on this one. Using the backslash key, you can see a quick before and after, and already that’s made a big difference.
Tool #2 – Color Contrast
The next one I like to use is part of the color Harmony tool. It’s all the way at the bottom of the tools panel on the right-hand side in the professional section. The section you’re looking for here is called Color Contrast.
To be able to see how this works, drag the Amount slider up quite high to the right (I go to about +40 or so). Then you just need to adjust the Hue slider. Watch what happens to the image as you adjust the hue.
When the slider is over the green on the hue slider you’ll notice that it brightens and adds contrast to green tones and darkens the opposite color which is magenta and red.
So this is a perfect example of the kind of image on which this tool works really well. One that has complementary or opposite colors on the color wheel (see below) such as blue and yellow, orange and teal or blue (night images), etc.
If I take the slider more toward red you’ll see that now the red peppers are brighter and more contrasty and the green ones are darker.
With this image, I found that somewhere in the magenta range was effective. It brightened the red pepper and darkened the green ones.
To see the before and after of this tool, just click the eyeball on the tool’s header bar. You can see that it’s doing a really nice job of punching up the colors even more.
If you find the saturation has gone a bit too far, just slide the Brilliance (saturation in this instance) slider a little bit to the left.
Tool #3 – Duplicate the Layer and Adjust the Blend Mode
The last one is not a slider at all. What you’re going to do this time is to duplicate the layer.
You can do that two ways – by right-clicking on the existing layer and choosing Duplicate or using the keyboard shortcut D. So simply by pressing D on your keyboard it will duplicate the layer.
Once the layer has been duplicated, you then need to change the blend mode and adjust the opacity. In this case, I’m going to choose Multiply Blend Mode.
You’ll notice that Multiply darkens the image. I find that this option works well on some images, while others may require a different blend mode.
When you look at the pull-down options for blend modes, anything that is in the Darken section (Darken, Multiply, or Color Burn) will increase the darkness of dark areas in the image. So in a sense, it adds contrast.
Anything in Lighten or Screen will brighten the image or look for things that are brighter in the new layer. Usually, those are not going to give you the added punch that you’re looking for.
In this case, the other section you want to look at is the next one that contains Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light). Those will add contrast.
You may notice that Overlay adds a bit more brightness, but you can definitely see the increase in contrast. Soft Light is exactly as it sounds, just a little bit softer or subtler than Overlay. Hard Light is more extreme.
Save it as a Preset
If you have a lot of images like this you can save time by creating a preset and applying it to them.
BUT beware – there is one thing you need to know before you do that!
Make sure you save your work as a preset before you do step #3. If you do the layer duplication and then save the preset it will apply the same image as a new layer to the next image, which is not what you want!
Unfortunately, there is no way to do a “Duplicate Layer” in a preset. So just save the first two steps, then all you have to do is the last one. Duplicate the layer and adjust the blend mode. Done!
Luminar Neo is a powerful photo editing software that can quickly transform your images from dull and lifeless to vibrant and eye-catching.
In this tutorial, you learned about three tools inside Luminar Neo that can easily enhance the contrast and color of your photos: the Smart Contrast slider, the Color Contrast slider in the color Harmony tool, and how to use the layer duplication tool and layer blend modes.
By applying these three simple techniques, you can quickly transform your images and make them pop like never before.