Spot Healing in Lightroom – A wonderful feature to use

Spot healing has been available in Photoshop and Lightroom for quite some time. Despite the fact that there are far too many photo editing programs available, nothing beats Lightroom and Photoshop. The content aware fill and subsequent improvements have made spot healing one of the most often utilized capabilities, particularly in portrait photography.

What is Spot Healing?

You may have visited a location for sightseeing or vacation and taken some very great photographs. The first thing we do is share it with our friends or on social media, where we may enjoy the likes and comments. But what if these photographs contain a wire or plastic item in front of a stunning environment or any form of dust that might disturb your image viewers? There is a procedure known as ‘spot healing’ that may be used to eliminate this.

I recently returned from a week of Himalayan hiking to Alpine Lakes in Kashmir, India, where even after cleaning my camera, I saw a few dust specks in the final photograph. This was due to dust in the lens and on my camera sensor. This might have happened while changing the lens. A single dust particle was enough to detract from the entire image. I had to utilize spot healing using some of the photo editing tools to solve this.

How do you use the Spot Healing brush tool?

As shown in the image below once the image is opened in Lightroom or Photoshop it will be in your library by default. Switch to ‘Develop’ mode and click on the spot healing circle (marked in red circle). Once you click on this, you get more options under spot edit where you can adjust the size and opacity. Once it’s set, click on the spot that is to be healed – circle A in the image below.

spot healing in Lightroom
Spot Healing using Lightroom

To select a larger region increase the circle size or just drag around the selected spot in the image. Once this is done the software will auto select another region of the image from where that part of the image is copied. If you are not happy with it then you can select another region by moving circle B to a different region. I would recommend zooming into the photo and then doing this activity and also selecting small regions instead of large circles.

Most of the photo editing tools have this feature called spot healing, but when it comes to Photoshop or Lightroom the spot healing that is done is just too good. These two tools have an algorithm called ‘content awareness’ using which it will look into the best match to spot that is to be healed by looking at the spot surroundings. You can also use spot healing to remove unwanted obstructions to bring in focus on the main subject.

A note of causion while using spot healing

It is wonderful to do the spot healing once or twice, but if there are too many spot healings to be done, it will be difficult to edit. It is thus preferable to have the lens cleaned or to move around the subject in order to prevent having the disruption when recording the image in the first place. When it comes to spotting healing, Lightroom does a good job.

Can I sell my modified image?

It should be noted that while this may look fine for posters, publishing, or social media, it is not permitted in photography competitions and will be regarded as modifying the original image. Furthermore, if you wish to sell photographs in reputable stock agencies or license your modified or manipulated image, not all agencies will consent to this. If it is for a wedding, or model photoshoot, then yes you can modify it as most of the work is on content aware and pot healing. This is where is mostly used and customers want to look good and you definitely need to use this feature to get better results.

Indian Wedding Candid Shots by Ravindra Joisa - Professional photographer.
Retouched wedding photos where spot healing was used. Photo Copyright: Ravindra Joisa

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Give it a try and leave a comment on what you think. Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post on editing photos like a Professional Photographer. Leave a comment below if you have more ideas. Buy me a coffee to support my work or you can go to my store to buy some of my images. Also, do not forget to join my FriendZone by signing up for my newsletter. Consider subscribing to my YouTube channel.

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