Let’s be honest. No matter how great the composition is, the moment you notice a few unwanted spots in a photo, you can’t see anything else but those annoying dots. It is really frustrating.
Luckily for you, there are many easy and quick ways to deal with this nightmare in Photoshop.
So, if you are tired of dust spots ruining your photos, here you will learn how to fix this issue with two different methods.
Let’s get started!
Tools for spot removal (Photoshop and Lightroom)
There are many alternatives for photographers to get rid of blemishes in post-processing. If you usually do all your editing in Lightroom, you might already be familiar with the Spot Removal Tool and the Visualize Spots feature. In case you don’t know how to get the best out of this tool, you can check this article from the Adobe website.
However, if you want to explore more options to retouch your pictures using Photoshop, there are many useful functions to choose from: the Healing Brush Tool, Spot Healing Brush Tool, Clone Stamp Tool, and Patch Tool.
For this article, we will focus on two simple tools for a quick and easy process:
- Spot healing brush tool
- Patch tool
Both of these options are perfect for removing dust spots, scratches, and some skin imperfections in a few clicks. Nevertheless, if you want to do high-end skin retouching, you should use more complex techniques, such as Frequency Separation. There are many tutorials online to learn how to master advanced editing techniques for portrait photography, but here we will only focus on quick solutions.
Let’s go with the first one:
How to remove spots using the Spot Healing Brush tool
When to use this tool: the Spot Healing Brush is perfect for removing a minor blemish or mark instead of an object in an image. In simple words, this tool grabs sample pixels from a surrounding area to cover the spot and heal the photo.
To use it, open your image in Photoshop and do the following steps:
1. Create a new layer
First of all, remember that you should always work with separate layers for non-destructive editing. Click the Add New Layer icon in the Layers panel or press Control/Command + Shift+ N to add a blank layer.
2. Select the Spot Healing Brush tool
On the left-hand toolbar, click the Spot Healing Brush. It is the band-aid icon with a circular shape behind it. If you’re already set to the Spot Healing Brush tool, you can simply press the J key.
Then, on the top tool options bar, select “Sample all layers” and also set the brush type to “Content-Aware“.
3. Click on the spots you want to remove
Lastly, you just have to click on the spot to clean it and Photoshop does all the magic. For this part, you should use a brush size slightly larger than the blemish you want to remove. And, to remove larger elements, drag your mouse, “paint” over the area until it is completely covered, and release the mouse.
And that’s it! Now you have a dust-free image with practically no effort.
Note that this method works great for blemishes, but sometimes you will need to clean the photo a little bit more with additional features.
How to remove objects and spots using the Patch Tool
When to use this tool: the Patch tool is useful to clean small spots but also large objects seamlessly. It fixes imperfections in a selected area using samples from another part of the photo that you choose. What’s great about it is that you can use it with any selection tool.
This tool might sound similar to the Clone Stamp, but it works differently. Instead of cloning content, it blends texture, light, and color. It is like an improved Healing Brush because it allows you to select rather than use a brush. It is the perfect way to get rid of distracting elements without leaving a visible sign behind.
Here’s how you use it:
1. Create a new layer from all visible layers (or duplicate the background layer)
Unlike the Spot Healing Brush and the regular Healing Brush, you can’t use the Patch tool in an empty layer. However, you can merge copies of all your visible layers into a new one by pressing Control/Command + Shift + Alt/Option + E. That way, you can remove any spot you want even though you already have several layers of work.
Alternatively, you can add a new layer from a copy of your original photo by pressing Control/Command + J.
2. Select the Patch Tool
The Patch Tool is located in the left-side toolbar in the same group of features as the Spot Healing Brush. If you don’t see it, right-click on the Spot Healing Brush icon to see the other options.
Make sure to use the Patch tool in Normal mode and to select Source on the top tool options bar.
3. Draw a selection around the area you want to fix and drag it
Draw a selection as you would do with the Lasso tool. It doesn’t have to be perfect, though. Just surround the spot you want to fix.
Next, all you have to do is dragging the selection to copy data from a different part of the image. Release the mouse afterward, and ta-da! You will be impressed with how well this tool works.
Whether you want to remove camera sensor dust, skin imperfections, or distracting objects, Photoshop offers incredible features to help you out. Now, all you have to do is practice!
To train your retouching skills, you can download free images on sites like Pexels or Unsplash.
If you found this article helpful, check our Photo Editing section for tutorials and useful links to download the best software for photography. We also comment on popular programs to try out, so you might want to stop by.
Thank you so much for reading!