A blend mode compares the content of two layers and enacts changes based on the content of both. You can choose from 14 different blend modes using the pop-up menu at the top of the Layers controls. Understanding blend modes requires a bit of science. To start, let’s establish three key terms.
  • Base color. The original color in the image
  • Blend color. The color is applied by the top layer or Adjustment layer.
  • Result color. The color resulting from the blend

Adjusting a layer’s Blending Mode is easy.

  1. Open a photo within Luminar.
  2. In the Layers controls, click the + button and choose the Add New Image Layer option.
  3. Click the Blend pop-up menu in the Layers control area for the top layer.
  4. Choose from one of the 14 available blending modes.


The default mode performs no additional change to how layer contents interact.


Pixels lighter than blend are replaced; darker ones are not.


It is similar to drawing strokes on an image with markers. The colors of the top layer are blended with the image.

Color Burn

Evaluates each channel; darken the base by increasing contrast.


Evaluates each channel; it then uses base or blend color (whichever is lighter).


Uses a lighter color. It is helpful for “knocking” the blackout of a layer.


Overlays existing pixels while preserving highlights and shadows of the base.

Soft Light

The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the image.

Hard Light

The effect is similar to shining a harsh spotlight on the image.


Evaluates each channel and subtracts or invert depending on brightness.


Look at each channel’s color and subtract the blend from the base.


Uses luminance and saturation of the base and the hue of the blend.


Preserves gray levels. It’s very useful for coloring and tinting.


Is the inverse effect of the Color mode.

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