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Getting Better Results From Lightroom’s Spot Removal Tool

I’ve shared this tip before, but I had a guy ask me about this problem at my seminar this week in Philly, so I thought it was worth sharing again.

If you’re using the Spot Removal tool to remove a spot or a blemish and the results look kind of funky, it’s probably because the tool didn’t pick a similar enough area (text, tone and/or content wise) to give you a good fix. Take a look at the image below.


Above: The upper circle (the one with the white arrow pointing at it) is where the part I wanted to remove is located, but look at the lower circle where it sampled from. A fairly lame choice, and of course the fix doesn’t look realistic. Of course, I can grab the top circle and try to find a better location for the tool to sample from, but that’s where this tip comes in handy — you can have Lightroom do it for you:

Just press the ‘/’ (the slash key) on your keyboard, and Lightroom will instantly pick a different spot to sample from (see below).


Above: When I pressed the / key, it picked an entirely different spot. It was better, but it wasn’t great, so I just hit that same / (slash) key again.


Above: the third time’s a charm! A much better location and my retouch looks a lot better.

Hope you find that helpful next time you’re removing spots, specs, or retouching (removing wrinkles, blemishes, etc.).

Have a great weekend everybody (I’m not shooting any games this week – the Bucs are on the road, so I’ll just be watching at home).





  1. John H 9 December, 2015 at 20:54 Reply

    Missed this first time around, thanks for sharing — Wonderful tip, Scott, huge time-saver, thank you!

    PS: Loved every minute of your Philly SLAP seminar (16 Nov), come back soon!

  2. Monte Evans 20 November, 2015 at 20:15 Reply

    Seems like it would be a lot easier to simply move the source spot to a new location that does match the problem area.

  3. Pec Indman 20 November, 2015 at 12:52 Reply

    I’m using LR 6.1.1 and I don’t seem to have the white line going to a second circle to choose the area I want cloned. Is that only in Creative Cloud? I would love to be able to pick the area to be cloned.

    • notlyle 20 November, 2015 at 19:46 Reply

      When you select the circle on the menu – look below your photo’s lower left corner.
      There’s a field below and just outside of it that should say “Tool Overlay” – set it to “Always”. If that area isn’t displaying, turn on the Toolbar by pressing ‘t’.
      Should fix you up I think.

  4. Paul C 20 November, 2015 at 07:57 Reply

    Great tip, as ever. Really looking forward to your new show to eclipse all others 😉

    What would be really fun, next time your organisation celebrates an anniversary (e.g. 15 years of Kelby Media), would be to get all your old team, e.g. Dave Cross, Matt K, to submit their own killer-tip… particularly if you challenge them to find one that has never been aired before…. a bit like the challenges Dave C gave us each week.

    Keep it up, Scott

    • Paul F 20 November, 2015 at 10:46 Reply

      It’s awesome that you were able to point that out Bastian. Did you read the very first line of this post?? I’m guessing not…

  5. Svato Straka 20 November, 2015 at 04:51 Reply

    Thanks for this tip Scott! I’ve been hoping for something like this to exist – and it does, even whith a keyboard shortcut. Great!
    Oh BTW, any plans on restarting The Lightroom Show?

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