How to fix small to medium areas in Lightroom with the spot removal tool

One of my favorite features in Lightroom is the spot removal tool. The word “spot” is a bit misleading, at least for me – when I read the word “spot” I think of dust spots or skin blemishes. The spot removal tool can remove pretty much anything, though, and in a very discreet way!

This is one of my favorite photos of two of my good friends from their wedding in Costa Rica a couple of years ago. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at my images, though, that I saw an unwanted visitor, 3 o’clock. This is an easy fix in Lightroom, though!
 In the Develop Module, select the Spot Removal Tool (round icon with arrow on its side).

I changed the Size from 75 to 76, and the Opacity from 45 to 100. You can use this tool at varying opacities for different purposes, but in this case, I wanted the man in the background completely removed, so I used 100% opacity.

The goal here is to have the Spot Removal Tool (I’ll refer to it as the SRT from here out) cover only a slightly larger area than the spot to be removed. So, for this guy, I sized the SRT to cover an area just above his head, both of his arms, and a bit of the rock that was between us.             

Now, as you can see above, I drug the SRT (to drag it, click and hold) from point A to B. You want to drag your SRT to an area that is similar to your point A. So, instead of dragging up to the trees or down on the rocks, I drug along the sand line so that the line would continue as it would if the man in the background was not blocking this area of the image. 

As you are dragging the SRT (still holding down on your mouse), Lightroom gives you a preview of what the cloned area will look like. This will save you a lot of time, as you will not have to use the trial and error method.

And voila! The beach is now completely empty!