Photo Tip: Removing Dust Spots

Borobudur - Leica M - 50mm f2Borobudur. Leica M, 50mm f2.0

It’s a common problem – digital sensors attract dust and each time you swap lenses you run the risk of a bit of dust entering the camera body and ending up on the sensor. Dust shows up as small grey fuzzy disks which appear ‘sharper’ if the image was taken at small apertures as opposed to wide ones (more Depth of Focus, which is like Depth of Field but operates behind the lens).

Fortunately, Lightroom 5 has a handy tool to allow you to ‘spot’ the more subtle dust blemishes.

Borobudur - Leica M - 50mm f2 Lightroom

In the Develop Module, select the Spot Removal Tool (Q key). Now look down at the bottom left of the image and you’ll see a Visualise Spots checkbox and slider. Click the box, and adjust the slider until the dust appears clearly against a black background. Dust usually shows up as a white doughnut, white specks like stars will look like solid spots and can be avoided.

Click the spots using a brush just slightly bigger than the spot (mouse wheel or square bracket keys to re-size) and use the Heal setting for best results. You should now see a brush ring marked on the image – if not toggle this on and off with the H key. You can even drag the sampling source ring around to choose a better place than the automatic selection provides.

Lastly, given that dust on the sensor will be on the same place in many images, you can multi-select images and ‘Sync…’ the Spot Removal settings from one image to many. A huge time saver.

via Leica Akademie

Nick Rains has been a professional photographer for thirty years of broad experience and he remains a working photographer, shooting assignments around Australia and the rest of the world. He is also Principal Instructor for the Australian branch of the Leica Akademie.

Nick is a Master of Photography with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) and is a National Judge at the annual Australian Professional Print Awards (APPA). In 2002 Nick was awarded Australian Geographic Magazine Photographer of the Year and continues to shoot assignments for the magazine all around Australia.

Post-production is another of Nick's strengths, he is an acknowledged Photoshop and Lightroom expert and has been involved in teaching advanced courses in these two industry leading applications for the past five years. Nick is also a skilled printer, making fine prints for exhibitions and often takes on consulting roles with inkjet manufacturers.

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