Lightroom is a wonderful, user-friendly program for editing photos. If you are just getting started with Lightroom, though, you might be wondering how to use its photo editing features and tools. In the first of her series on editing in Lightroom, Jessica Paige from One Willow teaches us how to use the Spot Removal tool.
Using the Spot Removal Tool in Lightroom
There are a few reasons you might find yourself using the Spot Removal tool in Lightroom: to remove dust or dirt spots (perhaps on your camera sensor and showing up on your photos), to remove minor distractions appearing in the photo, or to heal minor blemishes in portraiture. There are more reasons, but that is the general idea. Whatever the reason, you will learn exactly how to use this tool in today’s tutorial on Lightroom’s Spot Removal Tool.
To get started, let’s introduce you to the basics of the Spot Removal tool.
You can locate the tool just below the histogram in the Develop module.
When you click the tool, two options will appear; Clone and Heal. Clone is more dramatic with a more defined border and Heal is more subtle with a faded border. I almost always use Heal as it seems to provide a more natural looking coverage. You can choose your desired option by clicking on it while you have your Spot Removal tool open, and it is very easy to toggle between the two with just a click.
A few ways you can adjust the size of the tool is by using the Size slider or by using your [ (left bracket) key to decrease the size or the ] (right bracket) key to increase the size.
You can adjust the opacity of the tool by using the Opacity slider. This is a great option if you only want to lighten a spot but not remove it entirely.
Now, let’s move on to using the tool on your image. I captured this photo of my son one afternoon this winter. Typically he either runs from the camera or puts on a big ol’ cheesy grin… so, you can imagine how incredibly excited I was to get a soft smile AND him looking at the camera in the same shot, at.the.same.time! I knew that I was going to have to do some post process clean up because I saw that the lint from his hat was showing up on his navy blue jacket; plus, I knew that he had some chapping on his chin as well as a few other dry skin spots. So, I imported into Lightroom, applied a preset, tweaked with the adjustment brush and ended by grabbing the Spot Removal tool (set to Heal) and removed various spots throughout the image. (In case you’re wondering, you can use this tool before or after your edit. I chose to make all the other adjustments first, then use the spot removal tool this time.)
To use the Spot Removal Tool, move the cursor (adjusted to the appropriate size) directly over top of the spot and click. Two circles will appear; one to cover the spot and one to grab the area for coverage. Lightroom automatically tries to grab from an area that it thinks will work; sometimes it chooses correctly, but often you have to adjust. To adjust, click-and-drag the highlighted circle to a more appropriate sample or area. While you have your spot removal tool open, continue to scroll the image and apply where needed.
A few more tips when using this tool:
If you want to zoom in tight on your image you must do so before opening the spot removal tool or close the tool, zoom and then re-open it. A few ways to zoom in: double click your image or press command +(Mac) or Control + (PC). Also, use your space bar to zoom at 100%.
To adjust a circle, click on it and make the appropriate adjustments.
To delete a spot removal circle simply click on the circle and press delete. Poof, gone.
I hope this tutorial has given some guidance for utilizing the spot removal tool. While more complex edits might require the help of additional editing programs, this tool can be great for your Lightroom workflow.
Jessica Paige is mom to a busy brood of five and the designer of One Willow Presets for Lightroom and ACR, a proud sponsor of I Heart Faces. View her beautiful presets collections on her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.