?> Luminar vs Aurora vs Phototheca – Phototheca

Luminar vs Aurora vs Phototheca

There is a lot of confusion, misconception, and myths around photo editing. Most photography enthusiasts think editing tools are expensive or difficult to master. That’s why beginners usually don’t go beyond advanced retouching tools or end up on not fine-tuning pictures at all. While the most feature-heavy, high-functional tools are much harder to master, there’s plenty of intermediate-level software for tweaking pictures in a few minutes.

If you are new to photo editing or don’t have the device powerful enough to support advanced software, an Aurora vs Luminar comparison will show you the tools that can be used to touch up your pictures quickly. So we’ve put together a detailed review of both tools that will help make up your mind.

Features and Capabilities of Luminar

Luminar is an end-to-end photo editor that helps color-correct, crop images, emphasize on the foreground or the background, and fix the composition of the shot. The platform does not fall short of asset management features to help photographers organize their shots.


Luminar has a customizable workspace — users can move sidebars around and show or hide panels. The standard layout of the software is exceptionally familiar — essential editing tools to the left and an advanced right-hand color correction panel.

Luminar has a Custom Workspace feature that helps photographers mimic the look and feel of different editing tools, like Adobe Lightroom.


Luminar supports presets as well as layer-based editing. A photographer can edit a picture locally by tweaking a chosen layer, creating a mask, and correcting luminosity. There’s a range of ready-to-print filters — click on a preset to tweak a picture in one click.

Other than that, Luminar is feature-rich software. The development team added additional photo management features to the tool, such as:

  • Batch photo editing and viewing;
  • Advanced viewing modes — gallery, single image, film view;
  • AI-based search filter for getting ahold of any shot in no time;
  • Lost edits folder that keeps track of all unsaved changes;
  • Adjustment synching between several images.


Photographers need to pay $70 as a one-time fee to use Luminar and keep using the tool for free after that with no additional fees.

Features and Capabilities of Aurora HDR

Launched back in 2008, Aurora HDR is still on pace to gain popularity among photographers. While it’s no match for Adobe software in terms of how it can function, it’s much easier to use, with better performance speed and an intuitive interface.


Aurora’s interface is highly guided — a first-time user will not have to worry about getting lost. There’s a short tour guiding photographer through the most popular features, new updates, and explanations of how to navigate the workspace.

The layouts of Luminar and Aurora HDR are similar — that shouldn’t come across as a surprise since Skylum develops both products.

The interface is streamlined and thought-out; the placement of all elements fits a design logic and is easy to grasp. The downside of the look and feel of the program is its lack of customization — users can only go as far as to hide certain UI panels.


Aurora incorporates advanced technology into photo editing quite smoothly. Beginner photographers will find AI-powered presets and tone mapping algorithms quite useful since they tweak the image considerably in just a few clicks.

For professional photographers and retouching professionals, there are more toning filters and color correction tools. The most impressive editing features are:

  • Denoising;
  • Masking;
  • Adjustable gradients;
  • Tone curve;
  • LUT mapping.


Aurora HDR is one of the most expensive intermediate editing tools in photography. To use the software, photographers have to pay $89 for lifetime use. The development team does not update the tool regularly — over time, the collection of features might feel too narrow or outdated.

Which is better: Luminar or Aurora HDR?

If you got to compare both tools, yet can’t make up your mind about which one to choose, take a look at the detailed chart that’s an ultimate face-off of Luminar vs Aurora:

  LuminarAurora HDR
Subscription vs one-time payment One-time payment One-time payment
AvailabilityWindows, macOS Windows, macOS
Plugin supportYesYes
Ease of useHighMedium
Layer supportYesYes
Preset supportYesYes
Asset management functionalityAdvancedAverage

Why Phototheca Is Better Than Luminar and Aurora HDR

Luminar or Aurora HDR are both good photo editing tools. However, they are not the only alternative options on the table — some tools are more affordable, easier to use, and highly functional.

Lately, more photographers have been discovering the power of Phototheca — an all-in-one desktop photo editing and asset management tool. Here’s why it’s better than Luminar and Aurora HDR:

  • Supports more picture formats, including RAW and HEIC;
  • Uses artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies for image filtering;
  • Automatically detects and removes duplicate files;
  • Has 56 unique editing filters that will instantly fine-tune any shot — more than either Luminar or Aurora;
  • Uploads pictures to most common social media in a few clicks;
  • Has a free version with basic photo editing tools.
  • Password-protects sensitive pictures so that nothing can compromise their safety.

Don’t hesitate to give the next-generation photo editing tool a try — download Phototheca to take picture management and retouching to the next level!

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