It’s a small thing, a spec of dust, but once it’s implanted itself on the surface of your sensor it’ll dominate every picture you take.
Removing dust from a sensor is a delicate process, but easy enough to do, as long as you’re careful and have the right kit. But, a good sensor clean after the event doesn’t retrospectively clean the images you’ve already taken.
Cleaning dust and scratches is a Photoshop fundamental and although repairing and restoring old photo’s is time-consuming, removing a speck of dust is fast enough.
The whole process can be carried out from within Photoshop ACR, with the same process also possible in Lightroom.
To get started simply select the picture with a spot of grub and if it’s a RAW file double click to open in ACR. If the image is a JPEG, right click and select ‘Open in Camera RAW’.
1/ Zoom into the dust
First and foremost let’s zoom into the image to see what the damage is. Select the Zoom Tool (Z) and click three times to zoom to 100%. Then hold down the space bar and click and hold in the image and drag to move to the dust.
2/ Spot Removal Tool
Select the Spot Removal Tool (B) and hover the cursor over the dust spot. You’ll see two circles. Use the square bracket tools [ ] to adjust the size of the circles to cover the dust and click.
3/ Find a sample spot
Once you click you’ll see the secondary circle select an area of similar tone and colour and hopefully the dust will have disappeared. If the sample area is wrong simply click and move to correct.
4/ Check the image
Keeping at 100% move around the rest of the image repeating the process, selecting the dust and sample point until you have a clean image. Once completed click Open Image to open in Photoshop.
Useful Tools for cleaning your photo in ACR
- Zoom Tool (Z)
- Spot Removal Tool(B)
- Hand Tool (H) or Space Bar
Spot Removal Tool Options
- Size: Adjust the size of the repair area with either the slider or the square bracket short cuts on the keyboard [ ]
- Feather: Exactly the same function as any feathering selection tool. This graduates the edge of the effected area into the unaffected area to create a smooth transition
- Opacity: Adjust the opacity of the effect or repair being applied. Reduce the opacity if you want some of the original area to come through.