Adobe Lightroom has two powerful features – the Clone Stamp and the Healing Brush under the Spot Removal tool umbrella. These two powerful options can help you remove skin blemishes, unwanted features, sensor dust and any other types of spots in your photos at the blink of an eye. In this article we shall be looking at these two features and see how we can work with them to remove simple blemishes and spots from an image.

Here is an image of the Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda) that I took in Orissa during a recent road trip.

how to remove unwanted elements in an image

The annoying leaves and branch sticking out at the top left corner of the image


The Heal Tool

This image has a few overhanging leaves and branches sticking at the top left corner of the image which I don’t like. I will use one of the above tools to remove these. Let’s pick the Heal tool to remove these. Lightroom accurately samples patches from adjoining areas and uses them to remove the annoying leaves and branches.

More often than not, Lightroom does a fair job of picking areas that are similar in terms of light, texture and color to patch over the sampled area. Sometimes though, the selected area may not be suitable for patching. If it selects an area which is unsuitable, simply click and drag the selected sample area and place it over an area that is more suitable.

how to use the spot removal tool for removing unwanted elements

The spot removal tool does a good job of eliminating the branch and leaves


Magically though, in this instance, Lightroom does a good job of replacing the ‘affected’ areas with adjoining patches which matches the color, lighting and texture.

The spot healing tool is particularly great when removing skin blemishes and imperfections. You can even remove an entire human being just in case someone’s photobombing an otherwise perfect landscape shot. The only problem with the spot removal tool is that while the size of the brush can be altered, the shape remains an annoying circle. That means you are stuck limited flexibility. For intricate editing work Photoshop still remains the preferred tool of choice.

The Clone Tool

The Clone Tool is also very suitable for removing the odd spots on the lens, sensor dust and those sort of things. In this example I shall be using another image to demonstrate how the Clone Tool can be very effective.

using the clone tool in lightroom

This was a spot on the front element of my lens


In the above image and the enlargement beside it I have highlighted the area where a spot on the lens was caught in the image. It was a windy and it drizzled intermittently and probably there was a drop of water on the front element of my lens. This ruins an otherwise good image. To remove it I shall be using the Clone Tool in Lightroom.

working with the clone tool in lightroom

The Clone tool selects an adjoining area that closely matches the affected area and patches over.

The Clone tool does a surprisingly good job of removing the spot. Remember to scroll up or down to change the size of the selection area. Overall the spot removal tool in Adobe Lightroom is very powerful and barring the inability to change the brush shape it is capable of handling most spots, blemishes and other unwanted elements in the image.

Rajib Mukherjee

Rajib Mukherjee

Rajib’s love for the road is second only to his love for photography. Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly. He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favourite pursuits.
Rajib Mukherjee