Free Report from Denver #1: A Quick Photo Editing Tip for Travel Writers

Bonnie Caton here.

I’m in Denver to help host this year’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop. And today I got to sit in on a presentation from Shelly Perry on editing photos in Adobe Lightroom.

Shelly and I (along with 15 other attendees) arrived a day early to focus on nothing but photography before we switch gears tomorrow and immerse ourselves in travel writing.

One of the tips Shelly gave us was for digital photographers looking to sell their photos to editors….

Digital dust spots. You may not notice them at first glance… but an editor probably will. So before you send your photos in to be published with your story, check to make sure they’re clean.

Usually gunk on your lens or particles on your camera’s light sensor creates the dust spots in photos . They’re small, dark circles that show up in large, evenly-colored areas, like blue skies, or walls.

Today, Shelly showed us a quick, easy way to remove dust spots from photos using Adobe Lightroom. Here’s how:

** Step 1 - With your photo imported into Lightroom and selected, go into “develop” mode.

** Step 2 - Under your photo, click on the little rectangle with two circles and a diagonal arrow inside. When you move your cursor over your photo, you’ll see that it’s turned into a circle.

Lightroom - Dust Spots

** Step 3 - Make the circle just big enough to cover your dust spot by using the “spot size” slider under your image, or hitting the “[” or “]” key.

** Step 4 - Hover the circle over your spot, and click. You’ll see another circle appear. That second circle is the spot that Lightroom chose to copy and paste over your spot. It’s like a patch. If it doesn’t look right to you, you can grab the second circle and drag it to an area that better matches the area around the spot you’re covering up. As you drag that second circle around your photo, you’ll see the image inside the first circle change.

** Step 5 - When it looks right, hit “enter,” or click on the rectangle with two circles and an arrow in it again.

TIP: Take a minute to check your image at 100% (or 1:1). That way, you’ll be able to make sure your spot removal is seamless and undetectable.

Before you send your photo to an editor, you’ll also want to make sure it has a straight horizon, no clutter, and is properly exposed. Of course, those are just the technicals. There are a few other things that make a jaw-dropping, editor-drool-inducing photo. Shelly will be talking about how to do that on Thursday during the main workshop sessions.

If you missed Shelly in Denver, join us at one of our upcoming live photography events. Check out the Workshop Schedule here.

By the way, if you don’t own Lightroom and you’re not sure you want to buy it, you can download a free 30-day trial at

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]