DXO PhotoLab 4 (with NIK) and Luminar Ai

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Anthony Kunkel
Anthony Kunkel Contributing Member • Posts: 862
DXO PhotoLab 4 (with NIK) and Luminar Ai
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Note: I am not a professional photographer. I have a full time job and a family that I enjoy spending time with. Photography is a hobby. I know some people really enjoy the computer aspect of photography, but that is a hobby unto itself. If I can get to my vision in a photo in a couple of minutes instead of 30 minutes (and almost always looks better)...well, I know which way I will choose

Many will think I am a heretic for this, but this has become my go to for photo darkroom. I have been using LR since shortly after its inception and have had great results with it over the years. The problem has always been that it is time consuming to get the results that I want. Even the simplest photos with perfect technique would require some effort to get the finished look. While I enjoy the digital darkroom, the process had become less enjoyable over time and took away time I could be out getting new images and being creative with the camera.

I have many different software packages that I have tried (Currently...LR, Photoshop  DXO, Capture1, Luminar and On1. I also have used PSP, Bibble Pro (was my favorite), Photo Ninja and more that I can't think of at the moment).

What I have been using recently on old images and new images (I shoot RAW 95% of the time)....I start my images in DXO PL4 for the RAW conversion and NR ...also do some basic things that I have set as a default and may have to quickly tweak. If need be, I will fix any exposure or WB issues as well as any crops. The images are then sent to Luminar Ai (I have a few favorite templates that I start with depending on image) as a .dng file. I will edit them to  taste using the tools (not simply using a template). When finished, the files get sent back to DXO PL4 as a tif file. I will then either finish with sharpening in NIK or may do B&W in NIK.

I find that I finish the images in mere minutes (high 90% of the time) and they look better then what I was able to achieve in much more time in any other software. Yes, I am no longer involved with every little detail being changed at a granular level, but I do not want to be a lab tech or a graphic designer. Again, my hobby is photography and not graphic design...I work at a computer enough at work, lol. Some digital darkroom is fun, but a lot becomes tedious as much of it can be repetitive.

Just my prospective that I hope can help someone else.

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