Luminance Review

The power of adjustment layers.

by Pu on September 3, 2011

What’s the meaning of luminance? Luminance, also referred to as photometric brightness, is a term from the photometry glossary indicating the amount of light radiated or reflected by a particular surface.

Subsplash’s Luminace is a universal photo app that takes advantage of adjustment layers to perform quick and effective photo enhancement without affecting your original photos.

Main Features

  • Full resolution available;
  • 19 presets;
  • Hue, saturation and white balance filters;
  • Brightness, contrast and exposure filters;
  • Tone curve and color filters;
  • Vignette;
  • Split toning and sepia effects;
  • History/undo;
  • Retina support;
  • Send photos via email or share on Facebook and Twitter.

Appotography Opinion

Luminance offers a good selection of filters and effects which can be applied to photos either loaded from Camera Roll or taken in-app. What Luminance does is adding a series of adjustment layers, which affect the image’s final look, while the original always remains intact.
Luminance iPhone
By scrolling the menu located at the bottom of the FX panel, with one tap you can add one among the ready-to-use styles to your photos. When necessary, you can modify the given presets by switching from the FX panel to the filter editor, where you can tweak settings to go with the mood or the look you want. If you prefer, you can build your style from scratch. By tapping on the plus sign, you can add as many adjustment layers as you see fit and you can keep on editing the layers you have until you are satisfied.

When you are done, you can save to Camera Roll or share the photo via email, Facebook and Twitter. Photos processed in Luminance are stored in the Library, where you can access them in any moment and make changes using the History feature.

Luminance iPhone

Crush B&W (left) and a custom style (right).

As many users noted, Subsplash’s app definitely lacks a few useful features. However, effects in Luminance are beautifully done and the app works as a charm both on iPhone and iPad. Creating filters by modifying the original presets or building them from scrach is also quite easy once you get the hang of it, although for a beginner the control panel can be a little confusing. It would be nice to have a little more flexibility in the handling of the presets: for instance, it would be easier to have the possibility to save your custom presets and have them displayed along those coming with the app, instead of having to copy edits from a photo to another to use your personal styles.

Users looking for a way to add attractive and polished looking effects to photos easily while maintaining a certain degree of customization will definitely love Luminance.


Name: Luminance
Developer: Subsplash Inc.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad. iOS 4.0 or later.
Price: £0.69||$0.99||€0.79
Vote: 4/5

Luminance - Subsplash

Mar September 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Luminance is one of the few apps I would call “photo teaching apps”, and as such, it’s vital to photography novices. Because the preset filters are non-destructive, you can learn alot about what each setting and each slider does.

ILAR September 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

When one first looks at it, this app seems like a clone of many other photo apps. But the beauty of the app starts emerging as they start playing with the layers – adding and removing – as Mar (above) rightly said, *learning* how to use the layers. Functional Simplicity at its best. Buy it.

ILAR September 18, 2011 at 8:27 am

It’s currently going free— if anyone’s still contemplating its worthiness of $0.99

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