Retouching Blemishes

Photography Tip - Retouching Blemishes


Basic Retouching Tips for Removal of Skin Blemishes

You photographed your model, but there is a skin blemish in the image!  Not to worry, there are a few ways to remove an unsightly blemish easily in your photo editing software. Please follow one of the steps below for basic how-to removal of acne on models’ skin. The same steps can also help you to restore old photos with marks or scratches to excellent condition.


Use the Retouch tool to remove blemishes and improve photo quality

  1. Click the Retouch button.
  2. Click once to highlight the area you’d like to retouch. A few tips:
    1. Adjust the size of your brush using the slider (or use the + and - keys on your keyboard).
    2. Use Ctrl-drag to pan across the image, especially useful when viewing your image while zoomed-in.
    3. Use your mouse wheel to zoom in on an area you indicate with your cursor.
  3. Move the mouse around the image to find and preview a replacement area.
  4. Click on the replacement area to finalize.

 For natural looking results, use a small brush size, and pick a replacement area close to the photo blemish for a better tonal match.


  1. Open your photo, and create a new layer in order to protect your original content layer.
  2. Select the Spot Healing Brush. The spot healing tool is an excellent tool to use to remove blemishes. It’s essentially a texture replacement tool, and it basically creates a seamless repair by replacing damaged or unwanted texture from one area in an image with good texture from another area.
  3. Select the “Sample all Layers” in the options bar along the top of the screen, in order to tell Photoshop to look at the image on the background layer as well.
  4. If you are using Photoshop CS5 or later, make sure you have content-ware selected in the options bar. If you have an earlier version than CS5, click Proximity Match.
  5. View your image at 100%.
  6. Click on the problem spots to “heal” them. Move your brush cursor over the pimple and adjust your brush size so its just slightly larger than the pimple itself.
  7. If the spot healing brush makes a mistake, and the final result doesn’t look good, just press Ctrl+Z(Win) / Command+Z (Mac) to undo it and try again.


  1. Select your image to fix, and select the Lightroom Develop module.
  2. Locate the Spot Removal tool which is situated below the Histogram and to the immediate right of the Crop tool. 
  3. Click the Heal option.
  4. Adjust the size of the tool using the slider so it is large enough to cover the area to fix.
  5. You can click on the area to fix and leave Lightroom to choose the source image data to fix it with or click on the part of the image to fix and continue to hold the left mouse button as you drag to find an area to use to for the fix. You will see a preview of how the fix will look to help you determine a good part of the image to use. Let go the mouse button when you have your selection in place.
  6. When you have applied the fix you will see two circles on your image – they appear when you hold the Spot Removal Tool over the image. The circle with the thickest edge is the selected area and the circle with the + symbol in it defines the area you are fixing.
  7. To see the image without the circular markers, press H to hide them. Press H again to display them 
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