A different approach to Workspaces in Luminar

A different way to use Workspaces in Luminar - and 3 new Workspaces you can download for free!

Create workspaces for specific functions, not photo types, and then stack the workspaces for ultimate control.

I love Luminar, and continually find new things I can do with it, as well as new approaches to editing my images. It’s very capable and flexible and yet it’s not difficult to master. It gives me incredible control over my images and allows me the freedom to craft any look that I can imagine.

One of the more interesting features in Luminar is Workspaces. A workspace is a collection of filters, all accessible via a single click, that can then be used on a photo. Unlike a preset, the filters in a workspace are all zeroed out. The workspace just bundles them together so you can quickly start editing your shot with filters you would commonly use on that style of photograph.

Generally speaking, workspaces are built with a particular type of photo in mind. For example, you might have a workspace for landscape photos, and that workspace would contain the filters you may commonly use on a landscape. The same goes for other photo types, like portraits. With one click, all the filters you want to use on that particular type of photo are ready to go.

However, I have found that using Workspaces in their intended manner wasn’t really working for me.

It has nothing to do with the Workspaces themselves, but rather with my workflow and what I like to do with an image. Although I think the innovation of Workspaces is a great one - and it probably works really well for a lot of photographers - I found that I wasn’t using them consistently and I couldn’t figure out why.

Well, I finally figured it out.

It’s because my approach to editing a photo is pretty much the same, regardless of the type of photo it is. It could be a cityscape, a landscape, or even a portrait and I would approach it the same way and most of the time with the same filters. I also found that I have a particular order in which I like to do things when adjusting a photo. 

So basically this rendered the idea of creating workspaces for different photo types a bit useless, since I have discovered that I approach just about every photo the same way, and often use the same filters to achieve whatever it is I am trying to achieve with the photo.

So, how do I approach a photo? Let me explain.

When I bring a photo into Luminar, I first take a few moments to see what needs to be fixed or corrected in the photo, and then I think about what look I am trying to achieve with the photo. Basically it comes down to three categories of adjustments, or functions, if you will. They are:

  • Light
  • Detail
  • Color

These are the 3 major functions/actions that I am applying to a photo (any photo), and that is the order in which I prefer to apply them. 

First I want to balance out the light. This could be lifting shadows, darkening an overly bright sky, etc. I want to start with a well-exposed image. That is always my base starting point, and I find it nearly impossible to make other decisions about the shot until it is evenly lit. Secondly, I add in some detail, usually with the Clarity or Structure sliders, as well as a few others. This is usually applied to buildings, streets, etc selectively, so as to avoid applying it to the sky or the water (if present in the photo). Lastly, I make color adjustments to fit my mood or the look I am trying to achieve. This could be simple enhancement like saturation and vibrance, or something more drastic to completely alter the look and feel (color balance shifts, split toning, etc)

That’s it. That’s how I like to do things, and the order in which I like to do them. It feels right, it feels logical, and it works for me.

So essentially this is about crafting workspaces that perform a specific function for me (adjusting light, detail, or color), and then stacking those workspaces on multiple layers for the ultimate in control. It’s actually really quick and simple.

Here’s a companion video showing this technique in action:

A Before and After image comparison...

And here is the before and after version of the photo that I use in the video. You can see that the 3 major functions have been applied here: light, detail and color. The original was too dark, especially in the foreground, and it lacked any real detail. Additionally, the colors were essentially flat and absent. Using these 3 workspaces with filter adjustments helped me bring the shot back to life, and it more closely resembles how I remember it looking that morning!

Download these 3 workspaces for free!

If you are interested in downloading these free Workspaces, you can do that right here. The file is called 3Workspaces.zip and is really small, so it will download quickly.

Also, the way to install these workspaces is to download them to your desktop, open the zip file via double-click, then in Luminar you can find your Workspaces folder by clicking on File > Show Workspaces Folder.  Drag these Workspaces there.

(Note: you will be redirected to a 3rd party site, known as MediaFire, from which you can download these files. It is completely safe and I have used them for several years to host files for me.)

Like this sort of free content? I love to create it and share it. If you feel all my training videos, tip & tricks and things like these workspaces is providing value for you, buy me a beer! ;-) You can simply click the link below to make a small donation, which helps me offset my ongoing costs for equipment, hosting, etc. If not, that's cool too my friends. Enjoy this stuff anyways!

You can contribute whatever you feel comfortable with, from $1 on up! Here's the link: https://www.paypal.me/jimnix and thank you for your support! I really do appreciate it, and it helps keep this site running and the content and creativity flowing!

Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you have any questions!

P.S. Yes, I still use my presets on a lot of my images (and I have more that I am working on releasing), but sometimes I just like to start from scratch and see what I come up with. It’s a great exercise in learning Luminar better, too. 

P.P.S. If you are looking for insight into how to better use Luminar, take a look at my Luminar Tips page where I have a huge collection of articles you can read, videos to watch, and more!