Remove unwanted aspects of a photo in a few simple steps with the enhanced Spot Removal tool.

About the enhanced Spot Removal tool

The Spot Removal tool in Lightroom lets you repair a selected area of an image by sampling from a different area of the same image. For example, you can clean up a picture of a landscape by removing any objects that are unnecessary (people, overhead electrical wiring, and more).

Removing person from a landscape photo using Spot Removal tool in Lightroom
The photograph of a landscape contains a person (image left). The person can be removed from the scene using the enhanced Spot Removal tool (image right).

Video tutorial: How to get rid of something in your photo

Using the Spot Removal tool

  1. In the Develop module, select the Spot Removal tool from the toolstrip, or press Q.

  2. Select one of the following:

    Heal Matches the texture, lighting, and shading of the sampled area to the selected area.
    Clone Duplicates the sampled area of the image to the selected area.

  3. (Optional) In the Spot Removal tool options area, drag the Size slider to specify the size of the area that the tool affects.

    Note:

    You can scroll up/down to increase/decrease the radius of the tool. Or, your can use the bracket keys on your keyboard to change the brush size:

    • Left bracket ([) reduces the tool radius size.
    • Right bracket (]) increases the tool radius size.

  4. In the photo, click and drag the part of the photo to retouch.

    • A white marquee area designates your selection.
    • Another white marquee area with an arrow pointing at the selection designates the sampled area.
    Using the Spot Removal tool to retouch a photo in Lightroom
    Identify the part of the image to clean (the person, in this case), and then use the Spot Removal tool to paint the area. Use the pins (image right) to reposition the selected or sample areas.

  5. (Optional) To change the sampled area that is selected by default, do one of the following:

    • Automatically Click the handle of a selected area, and press the forward slash key (/). A new area is sampled. Press the forward slash key until you find a sample area that fits best.
    • Manually Use the handle of the sampled area to drag and select a new area.

    Note:

    When you select larger portions of an image using longer strokes, the right sample area match is not found immediately. To experiment with various options, click the forward slash (/), and the tool auto-samples more areas for you.

  6. To remove all the adjustments made using the Spot Removal tool, click the Reset button below the toolstrip.

Keyboard shortcuts and modifiers

Circular spot:

  • Single click creates a circular spot, and automatically finds a source.
  • Control/Command + click to create a circular spot; drag to set the source of the spot.
  • Command/Control + Option/Alt + click to create a circular spot; drag to set the size of the spot.

Delete a selected area or spot:

  • Select a pin, and press Delete to remove the adjustment.
  • Press Option/Alt and click a spot to delete it.
  • Press Option/Alt and drag the mouse to draw a marquee, and automatically delete spots that are within the marquee.

Cleaning up a photo with the Visualize Spots feature

When you print a photo at full resolution, the printed output may contain many imperfections that were not visible on a computer screen. These imperfections may include dust on a camera sensor, blemishes on somone's skin in a portrait, or tiny wisps of cloud in an otherwise blue sky. At full resolution, these imperfections can be distracting.

The Visualize Spots feature helps you see and fix these imperfections before you print.

When the Spot Removal tool is selected, the Visualize Spots option and slider are available below the image. When you select the Visualize Spots option, the image is inverted, and you can see imperfections more clearly. You can vary the contrast levels using the slider, to look for imperfections in greater or lesser detail. You can then use the Spot Removal tool to remove distracting elements.

  1. Select the Spot Removal tool from the toolstrip, and then select the Visualize Spots checkbox from the toolbar.

    The image is inverted, and the outlines of the elements of the image are visible.

    Using Visualize Spots option when the Spot Removal tool is selected in Lightroom
    Visualize Spots option is off (left). When you select the Visualize Spots option (right), more details becomes available for cleanup using the Spot Removal tool. For example, specks of dust on the hat in the photo are more clearly visible in this view.

  2. Use the Visualize Spots slider to vary the contrast threshold of the inverted image. Move the slider to different contrast levels, to view imperfections like dust, dots, or other unwanted elements.

  3. Use the Spot Removal tool to clean up elements of the photo. Clear the Visualize Spots checkbox to view the resulting image.

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until satisfied.

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