When I use any sort of spot removal or healing brush tool, I generally do so three ways. First, I “dot” the tool over any offending areas of the photo I’m working on. This method is probably the most common. If a camera had dust on the lens, dotting a spot removal tool to get rid of that dust is necessary.
Second, I “draw.” If there is a larger object that I’d like to remove or if the object has irregularly shaped edges, I can use a smaller sized brush to paint away the object. Of course, this takes practice and sometimes more than one try, but I do oftentimes correct photos like this.
Finally, there’s the “straight line” method. If I have a straight object in a photo that I’d like to remove, I can easily do this by using the very quick tip I’ll share down below. While the dot and draw methods would work as well in cases like this, the straight line approach is taken advantage of much more by power users. These are the types of folks who work so fast and on so many photos that your head would spin in any attempt at watching them. Sure, I can draw away a straight line if I’m working on only one photo, but if I’m working on 500, I would need a more efficient way to get things done.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you the straight line method for removing objects that are, well, straight. It’s super simple and really straightforward, so read on below.
The Final Photo
I figured I’d work backwards today. Instead of showing you the original image, I thought I’d show you the one with the object removed. I did this because I wanted to demonstrate that when you don’t know what has disappeared, you really can’t guess where anything was. If you had seen the offending object at the get-go, you’d always notice that it wasn’t there.
Go ahead. Take a look at the photo below and try to guess what I got rid of.
Finding the Photo in Lightroom
To work on this photo, I’ll need to import it into Adobe Lightroom. I already did this, but if you’re not sure how to, you can read my very helpful posts on the topic:
After the photo is imported, find it in the Library module, click on the thumbnail and then click into the Develop module. Things should look something like this:
Using the Spot Removal Tool
At this point, I can make any adjustments I want in the Basic panel. In general, this is the first thing to do. Since this is just a demo, I’ll quickly push a few sliders around in an effort to add some contrast to the photo. The original version was somewhat bland and washed out looking.
Next, I’ll click the Spot Removal tool icon. This will open up the Spot Removal panel directly below.
Really, there isn’t much to this process. What I primarily need to concern myself with is the tool settings. So, since I’d like to remove the odd looking cloud in the upper right corner of the photo and the sky is already quite soft, I’ll size this brush so it’s about twice the width of the cloud. The Size setting will be 80. Next, I’ll soften the brush by half, so the Feather setting will be 50. Finally, since I want to completely remove the cloud, I’ll set the Opacity to 100. If this was any lower, some of the cloud would be left behind. You can see these slider settings in the screenshot above.
Now, here’s the trick. Instead of dabbing the Spot Removal tool multiple times over all the parts of the cloud, I’ll only dab twice. Instead of clicking and holding down to draw over the cloud, again, I’ll click twice.
I’ll click once at the top of the cloud to create a start point.
At this point, Lightroom thinks I just want to remove this one area. That’s why it’s showing the two circles – one to get rid of and one to replace it with. What Lightroom doesn’t yet know is that I want to remove the entire cloud with one fell swoop. So, to accomplish this, I’ll hold down the Shift key on my keyboard and click my mouse pointer again at the other side of the cloud.
By holding down the Shift key, I told Lightroom that I wanted it to connect my first click with the next click I made. And I want it to connect them in a perfectly straight line. As you can see, it did that and it chose to replace the cloud with an area to the left of it.
In this case, I chose to use the Clone version of this tool because it worked perfectly. I could have used the Heal version if I wanted to. I ran a test and both choices worked equally well. When you use this tool, you’ll need to decide which is best in your case. To learn more about spot removal in general in Adobe Lightroom, please take a look at this post:
Today’s tip was to simply use the Shift key when removing straight objects from a photo in Lightroom. As I mentioned above, you can certainly use the other two methods for things like this, but when it comes to monotonously correcting large numbers of photos, you want all the help you can get.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!