How To Remove Objects in Lightroom: 3 Easy Steps

How To Remove Objects in Lightroom: 3 Easy Steps - Mastin Labs

Whether you want that pristine landscape without the power lines or the cute family portrait without that photo bomber, the ability to erase objects from photos gives you the power to perfect your pictures. In this post, we’ll explore how to remove objects in Lightroom, specifically. Why? Allow us to elaborate.

Why Use Adobe Lightroom Instead of Photoshop To Remove Objects?

If you primarily use Lightroom for photo editing (adjusting the quality of images) and Photoshop for photo manipulation (adding and removing elements), we’re about to simplify your workflow. Lightroom is tailor-made for photographers and has all the tools you need to create polished photos. And, as an added bonus, it tends to be easier to learn than Photoshop. 

3 Easy Steps To Remove Objects From Your Photos Using Lightroom

Removing an object from your photograph can be completed in Lightroom with just three easy steps. Open the Lightroom Classic application on your computer and follow the steps below.

Screenshot of a picture of a baby being held under their arms in Adobe Lightroom showing the remove objects tool

1. Open the Remove Objects Lightroom Feature

First, select the photo you’d like to edit. Then, navigate to the Develop tab near the top of the window and you’ll see a toolbar to the right of your image. Click the bandage icon (located next to the crop icon) and you’ll find three “Mode” tools that will help you remove an object from your image:

  • Content-Aware Remove: A new feature as of 2022, the content-aware Lightroom tool replaces unwanted pixels with AI-generated imagery based on the surrounding area.
  • Heal: When you click and “paint” an area, the Lightroom Classic healing brush automatically merges original pixels and nearby pixels to mask the unwanted elements.
  • Clone: The clone adjustment tool allows you to duplicate a selected area in order to patch your target area.

Once you click on one of these tools in the right toolbar, you'll see additional adjustment options, such as: 

  • Size: Impacts the size of your tool. You can also use the “[” and “]” keys to change your brush size for all three remove object tools. That’s just one of many Lightroom keyboard shortcuts that will make your life much easier!
  • Opacity: Determines how opaque, or transparent, your selection will be 
  • Feather: Impacts the softness of your selection edges (not an option with the content-aware removal tool)

Underneath these adjustments, you’ll also find a “Refresh” button, which you can click if you're not satisfied with your initial results. This will automatically sample a new area in heal and clone mode or generate a new Lightroom content-aware remove mode.

Screenshot of a picture of a car in Adobe Lightroom displaying the heal or clone tool

2. Match the Pixels You Want To Replace the Unwanted Object

To choose the exact pixels that will replace your unnecessary objects, you’ll want to use the heal or clone tools. Once you’ve selected your desired tool, do the following:

  • Step 1: Click on the area you are trying to remove. You’ll see a circular selection where you click, as well as a short line connected to a second circle.
  • Step 2: Click and drag the second circle to the area you want to source. As you move the second circle, you'll be able to see how the sample area changes your target area.
  • Step 3: Click on the white border of your circular selection and drag in any direction to change the size of the sample area.

This specific approach allows you to add texture, match colors, and select the source pixels that blend most naturally with the area surrounding your unwanted object.

3. Use the Clone Tool or Healing Brush for Better Alignment

The content-aware tool will be most effective when used on areas with little to no detail — like the sky, for example — but ultimately, the results may not align with your vision. The healing brush tool and clone tool are better options when dealing with more complex objects because they give you more control.

The healing brush is great for subtly targeting unwanted objects in photos (like skin imperfections) or for general photo cleanup (like erasing dust spots). Due to its precise duplication, the clone tool is particularly useful when working with repeating patterns and straight lines.

All of the Adobe Lightroom remove objects tools are user-friendly, adjustable, and effective on both small and large objects within your photo. 

Perfect Your Photos’ Look and Feel With Mastin Labs

Well done! You removed that pesky, unnecessary object and made your photo look just right. Now the question is: How does it feel? If there’s something missing, you might find it with Mastin Labs Lightroom presets. Inspired by the intangible elegance of film and guaranteed to lend timeless texture, it’s sure to add that special something to any image.