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I took some pictures a few years ago on a vacation and the digital camera I used had a black dot on the lens so I took a bunch of pictures with an ugly back dot. Is there a way that I can get rid of them? Software, paid or free, doesn't matter to me.

Here is one of the pictures I took. You can clearly see the dot in the middle. enter image description here

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1  
FYI, these kinds of dots are usually dust particles on your lens and/or on your sensor (if you own an interchangeable lens camera). I've had the same problem as you many times, and the best solution to take care of them is to avoid them in the first place: carry a piece of soft cloth (like for washing glasses) and clean off every lens before and after you use them. You can also use the cleaning feature of your DSLR to wash the sensor, if it has such a feature. –  Max Jan 17 at 5:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

What you are looking for a spot-removal or healing tool. The name varies by software but they tend to work similarly.

Adobe Lightroom has such tool. You basically place a circle over the spot, size it to cover and click. Then, the software searches of another part of the image with similar and uses that to replace the spot. It works quite well for areas of low-details like your example.

Now if the spot is in the same location in multiple images, Lightroom can even synchronize the spot removal and apply it to a back of them. You can then adjust the placement and size of the spot in images if it misses.

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+1 -- I was going to suggest Lightroom! –  Mike Jan 17 at 16:23

In addition to Itai's answer, Photoshop's "Magic healing brush" or other-brand equivalent, can do this reasonably well, and gives you a greater degree of manual control than the fully automated tool. In most cases this is not necessary, but it's good to have "another string to your bow" when desired.

MHB is a clone tool that copies material from an area of your choice under user 'brush' control, but as well as being able to select brush diameter and % transparency of the written overlay, the tool melds the written and selected areas when you finish a "pass" (release mouse button usually). In examples like the one you have given the spot is far enough away from material which differs from what is going to be overlayed that you can do it without using a mask to restrict the writing behaviour. But, if you are near a boundary (eg grass to gravel transition in your image) the tool tends to include averaged material from the undesired area (eg here gravel colouring in grass). This can be overcome by using a selection tool to select an area in which writing will occur and this also stops material outside the selected area being auto-magically included. It's easier to do than to explain.

@MattDm would like me to suggest Irfanview for this - but it does not do it well.

I'd post an example removal on your image but I've just changed PC's and I have not yet reloaded Adobe's fine products on this PC.


Just for Matt:

This is what you can achieve with Irfanview with a little work. Much better if much longer taken.

Far harder and far less good than using MHB or Itai's method.

I've added a bonus 'deer' into your original :-) (more visible on large version).

Larger version here - a closeup look at the changed area on the larger version will show some fairly gross patching.

enter image description here

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