How to Retouch Photos With the Visualize Spots Tool in Adobe Lightroom

There’s nothing worse than coming home after a shoot only to find that your perfect image has a spot on it. Whether that’s a dust spot or blemish on a subject that’s more obvious in the image than in the viewfinder, you need tools to correct spots. 

In this tutorial, I share a quick guide to using Lightroom’s Spot Removal tool, and then you’ll learn about a lesser-known tool called Visualize Spots that makes it easy to find all of those tiny imperfections you may want to correct.

Where Do Spots Come From?

Unfortunately, correcting dust spots is just a part of life for busy photographers. Tiny bits of dust, hairs, and other small particles sneak their way onto the camera sensor—the suction from zoom lenses is a common culprit.

Especially if you’re shooting landscape images, photographing solid blocks of tone, or using small apertures, you’re likely to see dust spots on your image. Most modern cameras have self-cleaning sensors, but you may still see the occasional spot on your sensor.

Dust Spots on Image
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no—it’s dust spots on the camera sensor showing up in the sky.

Camera sensors need periodic cleaning to remove dust and other particles from them. Those spots are increasingly visible as you use a smaller aperture (think f/16-f/22) with those spots refracted with smaller apertures.

Check out Stefan Surmabojov’s tutorial below to find out more about keeping your camera sensor and other gear clean.

More generally speaking, the Visualize Spots feature you’ll learn in this tutorial could also be used to correct spots like skin blemishes or imperfections. 

Watch & Learn

In the screencast below, you’ll see how the Visualize Spots tool makes it easy to pinpoint the spots that need correction. Learn to turn it on, find spots, and easily correct them with only a few clicks.


In the rest of the tutorial, I’ll show you step-by-step directions to get the most from this tool.

Spot Corrections in Lightroom

To use this tool, let’s start off by making sure that we’re working in the Develop module. Lightroom is several tools in one (a raw processor, a file organizer, a layout and printing program, and more) and the Develop module is where we can change the look and feel of an image. 

Develop and Spot Correction Tool
Make sure that you’re working in the Develop module, and click on the Spot Removal tool below the histogram on the right side to get started.

The Develop module also has spot correction tools. This means that you can adjust part of an image with fixes like local adjustments or spot patches. 

While many photographers think that these types of tools and adjustments are reserved for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom has a surprisingly robust set of tools to apply regional corrections built right in.

In this tutorial, we’re using the Spot Removal Tool that I highlighted in the screenshot above. Get started by clicking on it.

Spot Removal Tool Settings
There are a few settings you can tweak under the Spot Removal tool, such as changing the size of the circle for the spot you want to correct.

The simplest way to use the Spot Removal tool is simply to click on the spot that you want to remove. Lightroom automatically will guess at a part of the image to sample replacement pixels for. You can always click and drag the spot if you want to sample another part of the photo.

Spot Removal Example
Click on a spot that you want to correct and Lightroom will automatically guess at a part of the image to grab as a replacement patch.

It’s easy enough to remove spots using this tool. But, how can you find all of the spots you need to clone out with the least work possible? Read on to find out.

How to Visualize Spots in Lightroom

Now that you’ve entered the Spot Removal Toolyou have access to turn on Visualize Spots, a feature to help you pinpoint spots that may need correction with the Spot Removal tool.

Below the image, you should see a toolbar where you can turn on the Visualize Spots feature. Simply click on the Visualize Spots option to enter a helpful view for finding spots.

Visualize Spots feature
After you open the Spot Removal tool, you’ll see the Visualize Spots option; click on the box to switch to this helpful view.

Once you turn on the Visualize Spots option, Lightroom will invert the photo into a black and white image with strong edges. This type of view really draws attention to the spots that may need correcting.

Visualize Spots Example
Compare the standard view of an image with the Visualize Spots version of the image.

In the example above, it’s clear that everything that Lightroom has highlighted isn’t a spot that needs correction. The white highlighted lines on the left side of the frame are clouds and not dust or noise.

When I’m working in this view, I’m constantly toggling it off and on to ensure that the spots I’m going to correct are real imperfections. Once I’ve identified the spots to correct, I’ll simply click on them to use the Spot Removal tool.

Of course, there’s no way that Lightroom knows exactly what spots you’re looking for. Think of this as a visualization tool that helps you find spots, but you can’t simply click on each and every outline.

Adjusting the Spot Visualization Threshold

To really hone in on what spots may need correction, you can use the slider next to the Visualize Spots feature. Pull it to the left or right to bring more or less detailed lines to potential spots is really helpful, and you can do just that with this slider.

In the example below, you can see an example of pulling the slider up. In the screenshot on the right, the lines have much more detail around them to potentially detect spots that need correction.

Adjust Spot Tolerance
Pull the slider next to Visualize Spots to test out different thresholds for drawing boundaries around potential imperfections.

Recap & Keep Learning

The Visualize Spots feature is easy to miss in Lightroom, but I can’t stress enough how useful it is to pinpoint those imperfections. Use the Visualize Spots feature to find them quickly and make easy corrections.

How do you find spots? Are you using a manual feature to do so, or are you now using the Visualize Spots option for finding and spotting imperfections?

Learn How to Draw People With 11 Tutorials and YouTube Videos


Drawing is a great hobby—it’s calm and meditative, it exercises your brain, and it’s something you can continue to perfect over the course of your life. And, of course, you can draw anything you want. We’ve looked at how to draw comics and manga—and now we’ll show you where you can learn how to draw people. The human body is a challenging subject. Not only is it mechanically complicated, even a small error in proportion or balance can make it look very unnatural. We’ll take a look at some of the best articles and YouTube videos that will help you…

Read the full article: Learn How to Draw People With 11 Tutorials and YouTube Videos

How to Design Flat Icons in Affinity Designer: Cargo Truck Icon

This is the final lesson in our four-part series on How to Design Flat Icons in Affinity Designer.

you haven’t already, make sure to check out Part Three in this series,
where you’ll learn how to create a shopping basket icon and a dress icon.

Find more incredible Design & Illustration Courses on Envato Tuts+. And get amazing vector resources for your projects on Envato Market.

How to Create a Cargo Truck Icon

In this final lesson, Yulia Sokolova will show you how to make a colorful cargo truck icon. Learn how to draw the most detailed design using a combination of the tips we’ve already learned.


Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create two orange base shapes for the truck. Adjust the size with the Transform panel.

Then change the color of the second rectangle to green. Modify the shape of the truck cabin for a more rounded curve.

Create the truck base shapes

Duplicate the shape for the truck’s cabin and make it smaller. Use this shape to create a light blue window before adjusting the size with the Vector Crop Tool.

Now use the Rectangle Tool to make the bottom of the truck. Use the same tool to create additional details, like the bumper of the truck and the door handle.

Add the door handle and bumper

Add more details to the truck. Use the Rectangle Tool to create a row of stripes along the back. Then use the Ellipse Tool to create a set of wheels along the bottom.

Customize this design even further with a simple arrow design. Create a quick rectangular shape first, and then add a bold red arrow on top with the Arrow Tool.

Add details to the truck

Finish this icon using the style we created before. Apply it to a light blue circular base before adding a nice long shadow for a trendy effect.

Here is the result below.

Finish the truck icon design

Awesome Work, You’re All Done!

In this course, you’ve learned how easy it is to create beautiful flat icons using simple shapes and tools in Affinity Designer. Continue learning more about its special operations and functions to make your workflow better. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial. Here’s a final recap from instructor Yulia Sokolova which covers everything we’ve learned from this series.


Want More?

Learn more about Affinity Designer by taking a crash course from our lessons. Share your results with us, and let us know how you liked this course in the comments below.

Find creative assets for your designs on Envato Elements.

And for more helpful lessons, check out these tutorials to learn more from our experts!

Tips From a Professional Photographer: How to Capture the Perfect Sunrise

tips for photographing the sunrise

We’ve all been there, gazing at a magnificent sunrise and wanting to capture the moment, only to have the photograph turn out horrible. What is it that makes it so difficult to translate the magic and beauty of a sunrise into the perfect picture? Professional photographer Anton Gorlin, who recently shared his guide to photographing the perfect seascape, is back with a fresh set of tips to make capturing the next sunrise you see much easier.

So why is sunrise photography so captivating for photographers? According to Gorlin, “Some people don’t believe in magic. But that’s until they see their first breathtaking sunrise light show. Photographers believe in magic and sunrise photography is a way to deliver it, to share it with others. Because when you share something great, it multiplies.”

Whether you are an early riser or prefer the fiery colors just before dawn, Gorlin has provided 15 simple tips to improve your photography. You can read his in-depth guide or download the PDF version on his blog. Let’s preview his guide to sunset photography and then set your alarm to try out his tips.

guide to sunrise photography

Here are 15 tips for photographing the perfect sunrise from a professional photographer.

  • Arrive Early – If you arrive 60 minutes before dawn, you can get incredible results with long-exposure photographs.
  • Bring Extra Light – Don’t be left in the dark! A headlamp or flashlight is useful for making sure you can see your surroundings.
  • Create Light Bleeding or a Starburst Effect – These fun lighting effects will give a new dimension to your photograph. Gorlin even has a starburst tutorial to help you.
  • Check the Weather – This may seem obvious, but understanding the weather will help you know if you’re in for an amazing sunset or a muddy sky filled with clouds.
  • Create an HDR Image – Filters and bracketing will allow you to shoot photos that you can process into an HDR image for incredible depth and light.

sunrise photography tips

  • Take Photos During Golden Hour – Your photo will be filled with the warm golden hues of the sun’s rays if you time your outing for the golden hour.
  • Use Silhouettes – Create interest in your shot by exposing the sky and leaving the foreground dark. This works best if there’s a recognizable element in the foreground, like an animal or person.
  • Include Reflections – There’s nothing better than seeing a dazzling sky reflected by still water.
  • Focus Wisely – If it’s too dark to focus on a given element, open your aperture or use your flashlight to illuminate something the lens can focus on.
  • Look Around You – Don’t just stay focused on the direction of the sun, look behind you and you may just see some amazing elements lit up by the sky.

How to Photograph the Sunrise

  • Bring a Tripod – A must have if you are shooting the sunrise.
  • Look for the Light – Watch for the faint skyline that appears prior to sunrise and you’re guaranteed to pull out interesting textures that can be enhanced in post-production.
  • Change Location – Don’t glue yourself to one location. Walk around and see what other points of view have to offer.
  • Research Your Location in Advance – Use Google maps and make a visit to the location prior to your sunrise shoot. Since it will be dark when you arrive the day of the shoot, you’ll want to know where you’re going in advance.
  • Stay Longer – Don’t rush to pack your bags. Some of the most interesting light can happen right after sunrise, as you never know when clouds can part, letting the sun’s rays filter through.

How to Photograph the Sunriseguide to sunrise photographyAnton Gorlin: Website | Instagram | Blog

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Anton Gorlin.

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Professional Photographer Shares Secrets to Capturing Perfect Landscape Photos

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