Lightroom Spot Removal Tip

January 29th, 2010 by Scott Wyden

Lightroom Spot RemovalThe spot removal tool in Lightroom has to be one of my favorite features. With Adobe adding this tool, I can now spend more time in Lightroom than in Photoshop, increasing my workflow and my productivity.

The spot removal tool looks like a big O with an arrow pointing to the right. It can be found in the Develop panel, in between the crop tool and the red eye tool. When clicked, you will see an option to Clone or Heal the spot. You can also adjust the size of the area and the opacity you want to use for the removal. Typically I use "Heal" and adjust the other sliders to match the spot. The really nice part of this tool is that Lightroom will try to fix the spot on its own by finding a matching area! However, if the fix is bad you can just drag and drop the matching area to find one that works. Simple, right? It really is!

Lightroom Spot Removal

Here is a great example of a one shot HDR photo that I've been working on. This shot was taken during the Mark Wallace PocketWizard Meetup in Jack Studios. All of the dirt and spots you see are the window, not on my sensor. I really love this photo because it is so industrial. It gives me the "Gotham City" vibe. However, the spots are really annoying!

Lightroom Spot Removal

Even the helicopter at the top of this image gets annoying when the photo is small enough where you can't tell what it is…

Lightroom Spot Removal

…or that really long smudge from the top

Lightroom Spot Removal

Lightroom Spot RemovalAll of the circles you see in this screen shot are where I told Lightroom to make the removal.  In Lightroom, when you put your mouse over one of the circles you will see another one appear with an arrow pointing to the original. That is the area of pixels that Lightroom took to fix your spot. As I stated before, move that new circle around and you will see the original spot's area change.

Neat, isn't it?

Lightroom Spot Removal

Getting rid of all of the spots on the window in this photo took me about 15 minutes of Lightroom work. Yes, it could take the same amount of time in Photoshop if you are quick about, it but the key is staying in Lightroom to improve your workflow. While the photo isn't complete, here is what I have done in a matter or 15 minutes:

Lookout Jack HDR

If you didn't know this tool existed please give it a try. If you knew it existed and never thought it was worth a shot, please give it a try. I'd love to see your before and after photos too, so please post a comment with a link to your photos. Thanks for reading and happy shooting!

Scott Wyden Kivowitz



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4 Responses to “Lightroom Spot Removal Tip”

  1. Paul A Valentine says:

    That’s Cool, and it works well. But what LR REALLY needs is a Clone Stamp! I miss that a lot!
    It is possible to do that to some extent with the spot removal tool, but it ain’t easy!

    • Libor says:

      Agree 100%, clone stamp is often much quicker to use.
      Also a pity the shape cannot be changed. Often an ellipse or rectangle would be useful. (such as in your case on the long smudge..

  2. Richard van Wayenburg says:

    Thanks for the example Scott. I have never used it before. I tend to goto photoshop for all the clean up… Ill try it for sure now though!

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