One of the magical things that photo editing can do is take care of things that don’t belong in our photos. If you’ve ever had that photo that’s been one tiny facial spot away from perfection, you’ll appreciate today’s post on Lightroom spot fixes.
Lightroom has fantastic tools for taking care of spot fixes. It has two ways to remove spots we don’t like: clone and heal. To use both of these tools, you’ll need to be in the Develop module. You’ll find them just below the histogram on the right side, and all we have to do is click the button to get started, or press Q on the keyboard.
To use the Spot Removal tool, make sure that you’re in the Develop module and press the button or Q on the keyboard to get started.
Let’s think of the basic concept at hand with cloning and healing. What we’re going to do is take pixels from one area, and use them to fix another area. We’ll call the area we’re sampling from (the good area) the source and the area that we’re fixing the target. Let’s take a look at the tools a little closer:
Cloning is going to copy one area of a photo to another area. This is a direct copy from one area to another, with the source area being cloned to a target area.
Healing is a little smarter. I usually recommend using the healing brush when we’re working with skin. What the healing does is build a texture from the source area
For both of these brushes, we have two options we can change:
- Size – simply changes the size of the area we’re cloning / healing to and from
- Opacity – opacity is how transparent the brush is. Setting the brush to anything less than 100 is going to make it so that the original is partially transparent
1) Set your brush up selecting the size and opacity. I’m working on fixing a small spot on skin, so I’ve selected the healing brush.
2) Click the area you want to fix. Lightroom automatically selects the area to sample from, and puts in the replacement pixels.
On the left is the before region. Clicking on the spot I want to fix caused Lightroom to automatically select an area to heal the skin from. If it guessed incorrectly, I would simply drag the replacement circle to some other area to heal from.
Let’s suppose that Lightroom didn’t make a good guess as to where to sample from. No worries – this is an easy fix, and a really cool feature. All that you have to do is click on the “sampled from” circle and reposition it. Just drag it to a better spot to clone from, and you’re good to go. You can also change the size of the circle on the menu, even after you’ve placed it.
The clone tool is used when we don’t want to use the texture as well. When we want to directly copy one area to another, the clone tool is the way to go.
Lightroom’s spot fix tools, clone and heal, and pretty fantastic for taking care of most spot fixes. It’s really intuitive to use and not hard to tweak.
Need more help with the spot cleanup tools? Leave a comment if there’s anything that I can do to help.