Oftentimes, when working in Adobe applications, such as Photoshop, Camera Raw and Lightroom, it’s tough to see everything a photograph contains. For instance, if you’ve got a photo that’s really light or faded and intend to print it out for some use, you may be concerned that imperfections may exist that aren’t readily visible to the human eye. Noticing a blemish after spending money on a print job certainly isn’t the way to go. If you can catch dirt, dust and objects you don’t want to show in the final product, before you export and print, that’s all the better.
In today’s post, I’m going to quickly discuss something I’ve touched on in previous posts. Since this isn’t an in-depth topic or something overly instructional, I’ll try to keep things brief. What I’d like to talk about is how to best visualize those “invisible” areas of a photo. And then, how to best get rid of the objects we don’t want around any longer.
The Demo Photo
Since I don’t have tons of photos with dust or dirt showing in them that jump right out at me, I had to do some digging. The photo I settled on is of a lighthouse at dusk. It’s a creative shot that shows some stars in the background. I’ll use the lower portion of stars and consider them undesirable. Now, if you look at the photo below, you’ll notice that many of the very dim stars aren’t very visible at all. If I can’t see them, how can I get rid of them? I’ll go over that below.
In this post, I’m going to rely on a few posts I’ve previously written. If you’d like to review some writing on the Spot Removal Tool in Adobe Lightroom, please click through the links below.
In order for me to get the most clear picture of what’s going on in the way of spots, or stars, in this photo, I’ll first need to active the Spot Removal Tool in Adobe Lightroom. To do this, I’ll click the Spot Removal tool icon in the Develop module.
Once I do that, the Spot Removal sliders will appear in the right column. Again, if you’d like to learn all about them, please feel free to click into the links I provided above.
For now, what I’d like to look at more closely is the Visualize Spots feature that’s available down below the center image. I’m not even going to bother trying to remove any spots the traditional way because I already know I can’t see all of them. And since the sky is generally smooth and solid, I can rely on the Visualize Spots feature with confidence.
Next, I’ll click the small check box in this section and watch as the image turns black and white. I can adjust the strength of this feature by pushing the slider back and forth. If I push the slider to the left, I’ll reduce the number of visible imperfections I’m able to see and if I push the slider to the right, I’ll increase that number of visible imperfections. I found a spot somewhere in the middle. If I go too far to the right, everything will turn into an imperfection and it’ll be just too sensitive.
At this point, I could go ahead and begin removing spots with this tool.
There really isn’t a whole lot more than this. I think this tool and feature are perfect for these types of scenarios because of how solid the sky is. Any imperfection will show and they are relatively easy to remove with this few.
I do want to warn you about something quickly. If I go ahead and use the Ctrl++ keyboard shortcut to enlarge the view of the image, all of a sudden, a heck of a lot more spots become visible. It’s sort of like looking through an ever more powerful telescope. Since stars are visible as far as a telescope can see, we need to recognize the depth of editing that’s possible.
If I were working on a high resolution photo that was going to be printed large as well, I’d want to make sure I zoomed in a good amount so I could remove any spots and blemishes that weren’t visible with the smaller view. Keeping the editing view small is doing a disservice to the amount of time it takes to properly edit a photo.
That’s it. I wanted to share this tidbit of information with you because I feel it’s important to know for different types of photo editing. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!