Skylum Review – Stuck in Customs

Skylum Review

Latest Prices and Links

  • Check price of the Skylum Luminar, their new full-featured photo editor
  • Check price of the Skylum Aurora HDR (I worked with Skylum for over a year to build the ultimate HDR software!)
  • Check price of the Skylum Creative Kit (Recommended for best deal)
  • Check price of the Skylum Intensify (Best artistic product for cheapest price)
  • Check price of the Skylum Tonality (a great black and white app with some surprising non black and white tricks!)

For more camera and software recommendations, see Trey’s Gear and Tools.

For a limited time you can save 20% on select Skylum products over in their store by following this link or using the coupon code STUCKINCUSTOMS during checkout.


Aurora HDR 2019 – NO Halos, NO Noise, NEW Looks

Entirely New HDR Algorithm with Artificial Intelligence

How do you follow up from Mac’s App of the Year in 2018? That’s a tough one but we put our heads together with the team from Skylum and we’ve done it!

Aurora HDR 2019 uses Skylum’s new Quantum HDR Engine. It is a completely redesigned HDR algorithm, paired with artificial intelligence, which took 3 years of development by Skylum’s AI lab. My favorite thing about this new version is you no longer need to make corrections on the initial results because it virtually eliminates noise, halos, and other little issues you often needed to fix. This means you can focus on your creative side. Begin by trying out the new “looks” (formerly called presets, a few of mine are included for free). And try tweaking out the “HDR-ness” of your creation with the new and improved HDR Enhance and Smart Structure sliders.

Already own Aurora HDR? Check to see if you qualify for a discounted upgrade

Existing users can check this link to see if you qualify for an upgrade for just $59. New users may purchase Aurora HDR 2019 for just $99.

Buy NowTry for Free
Already own Aurora HDR Pro and want to upgrade? Click here to find out if you qualify.


How does Aurora HDR 2019 Compare?

Sample Shots

Here’s a few photos I made using Aurora HDR!

Skylum Intensify Review

This program is a standalone app, but it also integrates into Lightroom and Photoshop. I never use the standalone one. For quick shots and quick edits, I use the Lightroom Plugin, but for bigger projects where I take more time, I use the Photoshop version.

The controls are very easy and fun to use. I find them even easier to use than the Nik software. Now I know Nik really well, but I remember there being a bit of a learning curve.

One big thing that I find amazing is the SPEED! It’s so fast! Nik Color Efex Pro (which I guess is the closest competitor) is super duper slow… frustratingly slow.

Here’s some screenshots so you can see it in action!


Here’s what the Intensify interface looks like. Over on the right, you can see I’ve chosen Absolute Clarity. You can also see the little slider there that lets you adjust the intensity of the intensify.


I’m often jumping here into Intensify to do some final sharpening or perhaps give it a few final looks.


As you might expect, some of the presets are more extreme than others. So you get the chance to take the photo in whatever direction you like!

Anyway, this product is highly recommended!

Skylum Tonality Review

I am enjoying playing with Skylum Tonality. It’s very similar to Nik Silver Efex Pro in its results, I must say. I’m not really a mega B&W kind of guy to be honest… but I do dabble! I do think the controls are easier than Nik and it is definitely faster. I’m still piecing together my thoughts on it, but here are a few screenshots of me using it to give you an idea of the interface and the results.

I think perhaps the most outstanding thing here is not only the speed, but it’s the presets. They are very nicely organized. Everything from Street to Dramatic to Vintage. The thumbnail previews are nice and big… and it’s a very fast way to get many different quick looks at your photos.

One of the best ways to talk about the product is just to show it! Here’s some screenies:


Here we have Tonality Pro and, as you can see, it’s looking absolutely amazing! I was quite surprised to find out that a lot of the presets have quite a bit of color left in them. My initial impression of this being a black-and-white only product was wrong.


As opposed to the photo above, I also wanted to show how it can be used for subtle looks as well. If you look there on the right at the bottom, you’ll see I’m inside the “Street” presets.


I really love some of these remarkable texture effects. They are very easy to control and help give your photos a rather unique look!


There are a variety of photo frames.


I really enjoyed playing with all the Street presets.


Down along the bottom, you can see some of the different “Dramatic” presets. Dramatic is only one of 10 different sets of presets.


I like how some of these different looks really emphasize one color over another.


I often find that the photo is more about the shapes, lines, and contrast than it is about the color. If I’m having trouble making a photo interesting, but I THINK there must be something there, I do a little conversion to Black and White. Tonality is so nice and quick and easy to use that it’s great for quick experimentation. Note I made this with an earlier version of Tonality.