focal length: 35 mm
shutter speed: 1/250
aperture: f/2.8
ISO: 1000
flash: none

I’ve been learning to appreciate the heal tool in Lightroom 2.0 these days. It saves me time from having to open up an image in Photoshop to use the heal tool there (the bandaid icon - other photo editing software probably has it as well). It’s essentially the same thing and works wonders for pesky acne, dust spots and bits of chocolate cake on a toddler rockin’ it out at a birthday party.

It’s one of the new features in Lightroom 2.0 found next to the cropping tool and in the same place as the graduated filter and adjustment brush. Make sure “Heal” is selected and not “Clone”. We’ll go over the “Clone” tool another day (its implementation is different in Lightroom than it is in Photoshop).

Simply select the size of the brush and set the opacity. I set it to 100 here so that those cake bits would disappear completely, as if her mother actually spent time to wipe her child’s face before taking a thousand pictures.

For touch ups, I also zoom in by simply clicking on the area I want to work on. Be sure your heal tool is not “active” on the right bar. You can check if you tool is active or not if your mouse point has changed. When it is active your mouse point looks like a target with a circle the size of your tool. When it is inactive, it is the magnifying glass with the plus sign (to zoom in). You can toggle by pressing “k” or simply click on the heal tool until the heal tool’s menu doesn’t show. Try it out and you’ll know what I mean.

Change the size of your brush to cover the exact amount you need by placing the your mouse point over the offending acne/chocolate cake bit and use your mouse’s scroll wheel up or down to change the size. You can also use the square brackets “[" or "]” on your keyboard to change the size. Very handy! Then just one click and “Bye Bye” dirty face!

Well, because she had quite a few bits of cake around her mouth, it took a few clicks altogether.

Now she’s a rockin’ police girl in true kiddie style!

Laura is a Vancouver wedding and portrait photographer. Visit