When to use the Clone or Healing Brush in Lightroom

Blog Spot RemovalThere’s nothing worse than getting ready to edit a great image only to find out that you had dust or a mark on your lens. Or in my case, to find that a snowflake landed on my subject’s face.

For an image like this I could leave the snowflake there since it was in fact snowing and it adds to the feel of the photo. However, I feel I must succumb to my OCD tendencies and for the purpose of this post, let’s remove it.

The Spot Removal brush lets you repair a selected area of a photo with a sample from another area. When removing spots, you use two connected circles: the spot circle indicates which area to change, and the sample circle determines which area of the photo is used to clone or heal the spot.

The Clone brush

Clone duplicates the sampled area of the image to the selected area. This option is great if the area you need to fix can be copied exactly from another spot in your image.

The Heal brush

Heal matches the texture, lighting, and shading of the sampled area to the selected area.

Let’s try.

1. Select the Spot Removal brush in the tool strip (Shortcut key Q).

Spot removal tool

2. To remove the snowflake from the little boy’s face in this image we want to use the Heal brush. The reason for this is that we want Lightroom to match the sample area rather than copy it exactly.

You may also want to zoom into the location on your image that you want to adjust.

3. To adjust the size of the Healing brush, simply hit “[” or “]”. You can also use the wheel on your mouse to make the brush bigger or smaller.

Heal brush

4.  You will want to make your brush just slightly larger than the area to adjust. Lightroom will then automatically guess and sample from another area. An arrow will point from the sample circle to the spot circle, which indicates the selected area that is being healed.

While you have the spot selected, you can switch between the two brushes to see which one looks better. In this case we made the right choice with the Heal brush.

5. From here you can refine the sample area by dragging the sample circle to the best area to pull from. You’ll see that I also removed the tear from his face too.

Heal brush2

Et voilà! All fixed!

You don’t have to run to Photoshop each time you need to remove a spot. Lightroom’s Spot Removal tools also do a really good job. Play around and enjoy.


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Kristy Chapman


This lover of photo editing is primarily a Lightroom user dedicated to sharing her knowledge with others. She will tell anyone who will listen about the amazing power of Lightroom and how it can be your ultimate editing tool.

Her super-friendly attitude and obvious love-affair with Lightroom makes her easy to approach with those editing questions you have. She’s your girl. She’s got your back. She’s also happy to chat about shoe sales and Etsy finds, so don’t hesitate to contact her. When she’s not chasing around her toddler son or watching Netflix marathons with her husband (Have you seen Orange is the New Black?), she can be found behind a camera capturing life’s moments.