Night photography can be challenging, especially when you want to give your images a wow factor. Fortunately, with the help of Luminar Neo, you can easily enhance your night photos and cityscapes in just a few steps.
In this tutorial, I’ll show you the two specific tools that I use to punch up my night photography.
2 Tools in Luminar Neo for Stunning Night Photography Edits
To enhance your night photos and cityscapes in Luminar Neo, you can use these two tools in combination and experiment with different settings to find the look that suits your image and your style.
- Color Harmony Tool: Used to adjust the color contrast and create a color effect in the night photo. It is found in the Professional section and has two main sections – Color Contrast and Split Color Warmth. You can see how I use both in the video above.
- Color Tool: Found in the Essentials section, this tool is used to adjust the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance of the colors in the image. It also has a Remove Color Cast slider to correct any odd tints which often appear in night photos.
To enhance your night photos and cityscapes in Luminar Neo, you can use these two tools in combination and experiment with different settings to find the look that suits your image.
Step 1: Open your night photo in Luminar Neo
Start by opening your night photo from Lightroom into Luminar Neo as a plug-in, or go to the Edit module if you’re using Luminar Neo as a stand-alone product.
Make sure you have done any basic edits to the raw file before proceeding.
Step 2: Use the Color Harmony tool
The first tool inside Luminar Neo that you need to use on your night photos is Color Harmony. If you don’t see it in your favorites, you’ll find it at the bottom under the Professional section. Right-click on it and then Add to Favorites to access it easier next time.
Open the Color Harmony tool and go to the second box down, Color Contrast. Take the Amount slider up to about 25 or 30. You’ll start to see the image change a little bit. Now, adjust the Hue slider to pick the right hue to create the effect that you want for your image.
If you want to emphasize the city lights, choose the hue that does that best. If you want to make the sky pop a little more and minimize the lights, choose a different hue accordingly. There is no right or wrong; you get to decide. I usually settle somewhere in the 90 range for Hue and 37 on the Amount slider.
Next, open the next section down, Split Color Warmth. These sliders allow you to adjust the tones of the warm and cool colors separately. You can choose to make the warm colors even warmer or neutralize them a little bit. Likewise, you can take the blues bluer or make the sky a bit more purple, or settle somewhere in the middle.
Toggle the tool off and on (click the eyeball next to the tool name) frequently while you’re editing to determine whether or not you need to go farther or if you’ve done too much. If your colors are getting too punchy or overly saturated, use the Brilliance slider and just take it down a little bit to the left. You can also use this one to add either more warmth to the right (which adds yellow) or coolness (blue) to the left.
Step 3: Use the Color tool
The second tool that you want to use is located in the Essentials section, and that is the Color tool. Open the HSL panel, which stands for Hue, Saturation, and Luminance.
Use the Remove Color Cast slider if you have an odd tint in your image that you can’t seem to fix. Taking this one up to the right will help correct it. I find that it also tends to add a bit of contrast and darkness, so watch out for that. Set it to about plus 10 and adjust as needed.
In the HSL section, choose Luminance from the pull-down menu. This is where you can adjust the brightness of each color independently. You can brighten or darken by color. You can also adjust the saturation to have more intensity in the city lights or more intense color in the deep blue sky.
NOTE: The best time to take night photos is actually not in the middle of the night but during the blue hour. Read more here: 5 Tips for Creating Spectacular Photos at Blue Hour
Lastly, use the Hue slider to shift the color. You can make the sky more purple or more teal, and likewise, you can make the yellows more orange to the left or green to the right.
With these two tools, you can easily enhance your night photography and cityscapes to give them a wow factor. Remember to experiment with different settings and find what works best for you and each image.