In this video, we’re using Luminarᴬᴵ to turn a plain mobile photograph into next-level portraits that are ready to shine on social media. Make sure you download Luminarᴬᴵ (you can use the code SLRLOUNGE for $10 off!) to edit with me!

Video: Next Level Portraits for Social Media With Luminarᴬᴵ

In today’s fast-paced social media culture, our photographs need pop in order to catch the viewer’s attention as they scroll through their feed. With today’s tech, we can do just that with minimal gear and great, intuitive software. Luminarᴬᴵ provides a plethora of editing features such as sky replacement without all the complexity. Paired that with their easy-to-use workflow and you can level up any social media portrait. I’ll be walking through how I edited this image I took with my iPhone 12. Before we begin, be sure to download the exercise file and follow along as I edit!

Luminarᴬᴵ Sky Replacement

next level portraits luminar sky replacement

I like to start with the biggest changes first, so we’re going to jump right into the edit with the Creative Sky Replacement. Luminar provides a wide array of skies to choose from and their automatic masking is extremely accurate.

next level portraits sky settings

I selected this sky because I liked the subtle clouds and the sunset lighting. I mirrored the sky to match the lighting in the image and I refined the mask to better blend with the photo.

This feature also provides a panel to “re-light” the original scene to match that of the sky. Playing with these dials will allow you to fine-tune the lighting conditions in the background or even your subject.

next level portraits sky before after

I made some final tweaks in the Sky Adjustments panel and you can see the before and after here.

Applying the Basic Adjustments

next level portraits basic adjustments

In the Lighting panel, I slightly raised the temperature as well as raised the highlight, shadow, white, and black values. In the curves, I pulled the end of the shadows slightly up and pulled the brightest whites slightly down for a subtly grayed-out image. I then dialed the Structure up to bring back mid-tone contrast and detail.

Tweaking the Colors

next level portraits hsl colors

In the HSL panel, I decided to edit the Saturation first. I brought back the saturation in the sky and toned down the excessive yellows. I also toned down the oranges in the skin tones. This helps enhance the complimentary colors. I then toned down the excessive greens in the palm trees. In the Hues, I wanted to enhance the complimentary colors. I tweaked the oranges and yellows to the reds while I pulled the greens and cyans towards teal. I then shifted the blues toward purple.

At first, I turned the vibrance down, but I revisited it after dialing in the HSL. I turned down the saturation while kicking the vibrance back up to let it play with the new colors from our HSL adjustments.

Refining the Image

I apply the AI Accent as one of my last adjustments to let it affect the image over all our other adjustments. I then added a subtle vignette with these settings above. The vignette helps pull the attention right to our model’s face by darkening the surroundings just the right amount.

next level portraits editing the details

Lastly, I adjusted the Details. I slightly softened the skin by lowering the Small Details. Be careful with this dial as going too much can make the skin look plastic. I then adjusted the medium and large details carefully for a nice sharpening effect across the entire image.

Final Touches

next level portraits

I made the final touches in the Creative panel. Then, I added the effects Dramatic and Mystical. I was careful not to overdo them as you can see that they can have undesirable effects if turned all the way up.

Before & After

next level portraits final before after


I hope you enjoyed this article/video and saw just how powerful Luminar is for editing next-level portraits. The tools are intuitive and the AI-based effects and adjustments are stunningly precise and realistic. The entire interface is easy to navigate and is perfect for photographers looking to level up their photos without the hassle.

Make sure you download Luminarᴬᴵ (you can use the code SLRLOUNGE for $10 off!) to save the settings seen in the video and create this street portrait Luminar preset for yourself!