The Lightroom Spot Removal Tool: Your Secret Weapon For Better Photos

Inside: The Lightroom spot removal tool is your secret weapon to easily remove distractions and instantly make your images look more professional. Video tutorial included!

This post may contain affiliate links.

Lightroom Spot Removal Tool Tutorial

The Lightroom spot removal tool is a simple and powerful way to improve your photos.

I consider it my secret weapon for better photos.

When I’m shooting I always try to be mindful of what’s in the background of my photos.  If I can, I’ll change my angle to avoid including something that might be distracting in my photo.

Distracting people or objects in the background can draw your eye away from your subject.

Sometimes I’ll wait until others move out of my shot.  But more often than not I’m calculating in my mind how hard it will be to remove them using the spot removal tool in Lightroom.

In most cases, it’s an easy fix!

Check out the difference after I remove the distracting people from the background of this photo with the spot removal tool: 

How do you remove something from a photo with the Lightroom spot removal tool?
spot removal tool in Lightroom

When I look at the photo with the people in the background my eyes are drawn away from my photo’s subject.

But when I remove them it “declutters” the frame and gives a sense of clarity as to what the photo is meant to convey – a quiet hike in nature.

(Shhh…no one has to know we weren’t really all alone on a solitary hike). 

How To Use Spot Removal Tool In Lightroom

The spot removal tool is found inside the Develop Module in Lightroom:

Lightroom spot removal shortcut

To activate the spot removal tool click on the circle with the arrow pointing to the right, or use the Lightroom spot removal shortcut on your keyboard: “Q.”

Pin This For Later

Heal v. Clone in Lightroom

lightroom clone tool

In the spot removal menu you can choose between the option to “clone” or “heal.”  The photos below demonstrate the difference.

The clone tool will replace the area of the image you’re trying to remove with an exact replica of another area of the image.  I took the sample from an area of the dress so you could see the difference clearly:

Lightroom clone v heal

The heal tool will also copy another part of your image but will try to match it with the color from the area you’re trying to cover.

Lightroom clone v heal

If you’re not sure whether to use clone or heal, try both and see which one gives you the best result.

I find that the heal tool often gives me natural-looking results.

I recommend raising the feather slider to avoid too hard of an edge that might make your editing easier to spot.  Somewhere around 50 often works well.  But if you raise it too high it may start to reveal parts of the object you’re trying to remove.

I usually leave opacity at 100 when I’m trying to remove an unwanted object.  

Adobe has some helpful tutorials on using the spot removal tool here.

How To Remove Distractions In Lightroom

To remove a distraction or anything you don’t want in your image, simply drag the spot healing tool across the area you want to remove.  Lightroom will automatically select an area of the image it thinks will work well to cover it.

You can move the area it’s taking the sample from if you’re not happy with the area Lightroom chose.  You can also adjust your feather, and try out the clone and heal options to see which one gives you the best result.

This video tutorial shows you how to remove distractions in Lightroom:

Next time you’re out shooting, don’t stress when someone walks into your photo.  Remember, you’ve got an easy fix – a secret weapon – at your disposal to make sure your photos are free from distractions.

Leave a Comment