4 Simple Steps to Cleaning your Images

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: December 1, 2010

Category: General

Hi All.
Today I thought I’d share a technique with you that I now use on every single picture that I edit, 100% of the time.

It’s a technique that I was reminded of by Scott Kelby during his recent trip to London and it’s for checking for those pesky dust and oil spots in your photographs that come from off of your camera’s sensor.

Until recently I used to go to the 1-1 view in Lightroom and look around for these marks but there would always seem to be one or two that escaped capture. However with this technique it’s a totally different story…the specs of dust and oil may just as well be waving White flags in surrender 🙂

With just 4 simple steps the technique couldn’t be simpler:

Step 1: Duplicate the background layer
Always work on a copy of your image just in case you go wrong somewhere along the line and save what you’ve done. You can duplicate the main image (Background Layer) by:

  • Click, Drag & Release the Background Layer over the ‘New Layer’ icon at the bottom of the Layer Panel, or
  • Press CMD (Mac) or CTRL (PC) + J

Step 2: Invert the image
Invert the image to get this ‘X Ray’ looking view by:

  • CMD (Mac) or CTRL (PC) + I, or
  • Go to IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > INVERT

Step 3: Remove the dust spots etc…
Inverting the image can make any dust / sensor marks stand out so that you can see them clearer. All that needs to be done then is to remove them by using your tool of choice e.g. The Spot Removal Tool

Step 4: Invert the image
Now that you’ve removed all the visible dust / sensor marks you just need to Invert the image back to it’s original state by again pressing CMD (Mac) or CTRL (PC) + I and you’re done, leaving you to carry on with any other editing:

•    •    •

And that is all there is to it. Of course the easiest way to not have dust spots on your sensor is to to keep your sensor as clean as possible but as we all know that is easier said than done; especially when working on location.

Enjoy 🙂

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18 Comments

  1. Mike Patterson

    Nice one Glyn.

    A very handy tip if you are working on a very small amount of images. Defo added this as a fav!!!

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Nice one; glad you like it mate 🙂

      Reply
  2. David Kelly

    Good quick tip Glyn. Bit nervous in doing it though, as I’ll clearly see just how dirty my sensor is 😉

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @David Kelly…Believe me I’ve been disgusted with myself on more than one occasion lol 🙂

      Reply
  3. daniela

    amazingly easy. thank you very much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @Daniela…You’re welcome and thanks for dropping by 🙂

      Reply
  4. DaveT

    What a handy tip Glyn.

    Out of interest, would this technique also work when the dust spot is on a more detailed part of the photo? In the example shown the spots are on part of the image that is fairly neutral i.e. th e floor, and I was wondering about spots that may fall on something like the face.

    Dave

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @DaveT…I’ll always take extra care around areas like the the face by switch between Inverted versions if that makes sense.

      Reply
  5. Linus

    Thanks for that Glyn. Something that I had overlooked but think its great sound advice and something I will be implementing. Its one thing taking a good image but quality of presentation is another. Cheers

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @Linus…Thanks for that; glad it was useful 🙂

      Reply
    • Glyn

      @Tim…Nice one 🙂

      Reply
    • Glyn

      @Claudio…Glad you like it 🙂

      Reply
  6. DaveT

    Thanks Glyn

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @DaveT…No worries mate

      Reply
  7. Callum Winton

    There is another easy way of doing it that picks up more dust and imperfections fo correction ….

    Reply
    • Glyn

      @Callum…That’s the great thing about Photoshop; always more than one way to do something 🙂

      Reply

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