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Quick Trick in Adobe Lightroom to help find Sensor “Spots”

Tell me if this has ever happened to you.  You’ve been on the road for a while, changing your lenses out over and over, and then came across the most perfect sunset landscape setting ever. So you take the most epic shot of this moment and head home to edit and share! Well, once you get home and load the image up on your computer, you notice it’s riddled with spots!!! Well, fear not, that shot may need a lot of work, but the folks at Adobe have provided an awesome tool in Lightroom CC to help you see just how bad your camera needs a cleaning!

Follow along as we have a look at my camera’s sensor dust discovery;

As you can see, in the above photo of the sky, shot at F16, it’s pretty clean, maybe one or two dots on the sensor that need to be cleaned up that can be easily handled with the spot healing tool.

Now if we navigate up to the spot healing tool located on the top right panel of the Develop module in Lightroom we can select the spot healing needed to clean this up…and see just how bad things really are.

What most people, (including myself until recently), never noticed, was on the bottom toolbar is a slider and check box labeled “Visualize Spots” that will change your world!

So, now that it’s checked, we can focus on just the dust on the sensor….not too bad right? Well…if we’re going to do anything landscape or detailed, you’ll want to dive in further to make sure there’s nothing in the way of your perfect shot. So, lets crank that dial up to 11 and see what we’ve got going on there.

Wow…well this…is…just…not pleasant at all! Not to worry though, I actually was aware how dusty my rig was, as it is already scheduled to get in for a proper cleaning! If this were a real shoot, you can use this tool to identify the spots you need to clean up before releasing your masterpiece to the world!

Keep ALL of your optical gear clean before a shoot! The spots you see here are specks dust resting on my sensor. Dust or spots on my lens or UV filter will not show up here. Those can cause lens flare and soft areas if the coating is thick enough in the final photo. Only dust resting directly on the sensor will appear this way. I hope this quick tip helps you with your retouching, AND gear maintenance moving forward. One thing to keep in mind though, the spots can also be bright or dark spots of contrast in relation to the rest of your image, and are meant to be there…so _sometimes_ they can be ignored. Be sure to play with this tool on your images and see what you discover.

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