Spot Your Images More Effectively by Creating Your Own Tool in Lightroom

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 6.46.39 AM

Lightroom 5 has a new feature that lets you reveal dust by adjusting a black mask. However, I have found that this doesn't actually show dust that well. It shows the big pieces just fine, but those I can usually see without any help. It's the little specks, the ones that are semi-transparent, don't show up. So, even though I think Adobe is on the right track with this new feature, I still use this simple trick.

Note: This trick will work with most photo editing software.

     What does this tool do?

I choose a macro image, because they often have a lot of dust that is hard to see. The first thing we are going to try, is Lightroom's native dust tool. When you are in the spot removal tool, tap 'A' on your keyboard, or click the box at the bottom of the screen:

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 6.45.19 AM

This will turn on the visualize spot tool, so that we can see the effect:

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 6.45.42 AM

As you can see, it is doing a fine job of showing us the big stuff, but how about if we zoom in?

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 6.49.57 AM

By zooming into 100%, we can see that it looks like it is doing a fine job of showing us the spots, but lets compare this to the tool that we are going to make.

 

Here is the tool that we are going to make:

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 6.50.07 AM

They both show the big spots just fine, but our tool is showing us fainter specks that we would have missed otherwise. These smaller spots are lost in the grain shown by Lightroom's tool, but not in this very colorful one.

 

Great! So how do you make this? To create our dust tool, we need to go to the tone curve panel in Lightroom:

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 6.59.57 AM

By default, the tone curve has all of these sliders shown. This is great for normal editing, but limiting for what we want to do. Instead, click on the button in the lower right that looks like this: 

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 7.00.16 AM

This takes us into the point-curve mode.

 

Your panel should look like this now:

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 7.00.29 AM

Start by making a point and dragging it to the very top and then to ten (don't worry, it will show you numbers so you can tell when you are at ten):

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 7.32.53 AM

Then make another point. Drag this one to the bottom and put it at 20:

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 7.33.17 AM

Take the next point up to the top again and place it at 30:

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 7.33.45 AM

Keep alternating between top and bottom every ten, until you have to drag the last point in the top corner to the bottom:

 

Then go ahead and make a preset to save your work: click where it says "Custom" and then choose 'Save' from the drop-down menu.

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 7.42.48 AM

There you go, you now have an amazing tool to help you catch elusive dust.

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 6.46.39 AM

- Graceson Aufderheide

     If you want more Lightroom and editing tips consider this post on editing B&W images, or check out my One-on-One Lightroom TrainingIf you don't have Lightroom yet I suggest that you give it a try because it is my favorite program for photography. You can download a trial version here if you would like (FYI this is an affiliate link).

 

If you have found this useful of your photo editing, please share this post with your friends by clicking the buttons below.

Tell your friends:
Share on FacebookGoogle+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

two × four =


Welcome

This blog discusses Graceson's interests and ideas, including: Lightroom and Photoshop tips, photography discussions, jewelry crafting, new projects, gear reviews, and more.

Visit his Photography here.
Visit his Goldsmithing here.

About Me

Image of GracesonMy name is Graceson Aufderheide, but you have probably figured that out already. I am currently a senior in high school who photographs, teaches, and makes jewelry. I have always been creating, that is what I do.
Learn More About Graceson

Tell your friends:

Share on FacebookGoogle+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail to someone

Photography Newsletter:

Donate

If this site and blog has helped you with your photography, editing, boredom or decisions please consider a small donation.