I’m not a professional photographer so sometimes I don’t get the most perfect image in-camera. If you are like me sometimes a little help in editing can make the difference. Here are several ways to remove spots, blemishes and distracting elements using Adobe Photoshop CC. From the Spot Healing Brush to manually painting over objects, to remove unwanted objects or distracting elements with Photoshop tools is relatively simple.

Spot Healing Brush simplest of Photoshop tools

lens spot
Use the Spot Healing Brush Tool to fix lens/mirror spots on an image. Photo by Gene Dianoski.
spot healing brush
Spot Healing Brush Tool menu.

The Spot Healing Brush is a great way to remove lens spots or minor distracting details on an image. In the image below there is a lens spot in the sky. It’s very easy to see and very easy to remove with the Spot Healing Brush Tool. To remove the spot choose the Spot Healing Brush Tool and size it to be just big enough to cover the spot. Then click. That’s all there is to it.

after spot removal
The image after using the Spot Healing Brush Tool. Photo by Gene Dianoski

As you can see, the spot disappeared with a few simple clicks.

Content Aware Fill for complex objects

content aware fill
Use the Content Aware Fill to remove more complex distracting elements. Photo by Gene Dianoski

The Content Aware fill is for areas that are much more complex. In the image above I want to remove the small sailboat and used the Lasso Tool to select the boat.

From the Edit menu choose Fill and use Content Aware in the drop down. Click Ok. You can see it did a fantastic job removing the boat from the image.

content aware fill
In this image, the distracting boat has been removed with the Content Aware Fill. Photo by Gene Dianoski

Patch Tool also removes more complex objects

patch tool
The Patch tool allows you to cover large areas of your image. Photo by Gene Dianoski
patch tool
patch tool

The Content Aware Patch Tool defines an area selection in your image and uses another area you want to cover cover it. It’s like a combination of the Content Aware Fill and the Clone Tool. Select the area you want to be patched with the Patch Tool and then drag it over the area you want to use as cover.

In the image below you can see I selected much of the upper left side of the image where the blurry distracting elements are. Once I drag that selection over to the other side of the bird and release it covers that area pretty nicely.

patch tool II
The Patch Tool works in places the Spot Healing Brush Tool or the Clone Stamp Tool doesn’t. Photo by Gene Dianoski

This still left a little bit near the chickadee that couldn’t be fixed with either the Spot Heal Brush or the Clone Stamp Tool. I’ve again selected that little area with the Patch Tool again.

after using the patch tool
The image after removing distracting elements using the Patch Tool. Photo by Gene Dianoski

Now everything looks great!

Clone Stamp Tool copies one part to another

clone stamp tool
The Clone Stamp Tool lets you paint over an area with pixels sampled from another area. Photo by Gene Dianoski.
clone stamp tool
Clone Stamp Tool

The Clone Stamp Tool is uses pixels from one area of your image to paint over another. In the image above I can see a bit of stem under the dark water in the upper left that’s distracting from the waterlily.

Choose the Clone Stamp Tool and hove the cursor over the area you want to copy. Hold the alt/option key and click to select source pixels. Now release the alt/option key and click drag over area to cover. Using the Clone Tool Stamp to clone pixels from the right side of it I can paint over the distracting element.

clone stamp tool
The image after covering the distracting element using the Clone Stamp Tool. Photo by Gene Dianoski

Manually paint to remove unwanted objects with the Brush Tool

painting directly on the image
Sometimes the best thing is just to use the Brush Tool to paint over something in your image. Photo by Gene Dianoski

At times I’ve had to use the Paint Brush tool to paint directly on a layer. In this case I’ll use a clean layer just for the painting. This way if there is any mistakes only that layer has to be redone and not the whole image.

painting with the brush tool
The lettering on the life ring has been painted over it using the Brush Tool. Photo by Gene Dianoski

By sampling the color on the life ring in this image I can paint over the lettering.

Add new elements with the Selection and Layer Mask tool

Selection and masking is a powerful way to change an image. Photo by Gene Dianoski

This is a different sort of technique that you can use for a lot of different reasons. You can cover something add something or change your image altogether. In the image above I’ve got another sailboat image with a pretty bland and nondescript sky.

From a second image I took years ago I have a deep blue sky with a puffy white cloud. Duplicating the layer over to the sailboat image and using a mask and selection to cover over the sky completely changes the image.

using masking to cover a boring sky
Nothing but clear sailing ahead for these guys once I changed the image with a selection and layer mask. Photo by Gene Dianoski

I hope you learned something new and can apply any or all of these techniques in your images. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to comment below.


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