Creating a Dust Correction Curve in Lightroom

Getting an amazing ring shot really comes down to focusing on all the nitty gritty details. By creating a Dust Correction Curve and using Lightroom’s Spot Removal Tool, we can pinpoint problem areas unseen to the naked eye to achieve immaculate imagery.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro IS, 1/100 sec at f/25, ISO 200
Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro IS, 1/100 sec at f/25, ISO 200

Take for example this image above, can you spot any dust specs? Most likely not, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there and won’t show up elsewhere, and the Dust Correction Curve inverts the colors in an image to reveal these dust spots.

What is the Purpose of a Dust Correction Curve


Camera sensors are chock-full of little dust monsters, hard to spot in a single glance. Yes, taking your camera to get your sensor cleaned would be the best possible solution to avoid this issue, however, when you find a spot in the middle of a shoot there you’ve got to figure out something else. Also, wiping your sensor may not give you a thorough enough cleaning and therefore creating a Dust Correction Curve can help you attack those black circles of doom in a matter of minutes.

Creating a Dust Correction Curve


Modify the Tone Curve by starting with 10% on the x-axis and 100% on the y-axis. Start with the Linear Tone Curve and then fluctuate the line by dragging each point to the top and bottom of each axis making your next point (20%, 0%). We are adding a point at every 10% and switching between 0% and 100%, holding down the Shift key to constrain to one direction. Continue with this pattern until the last point has reached (100%, 0%).


The final curve should resemble what you see above, revealing dust specs throughout the image. In order to avoid having to create this tool again for future use, save the settings out as a Lightroom Preset. The SLR Lounge Preset System includes the Dust Correction Curve in addition to a removal preset designed to revert the curve back to a Standard S-curve and maintain all of the spots removed.

[REWIND: Fixing Harsh Lighting in Lightroom Where Light Modifiers Aren’t An Option]

Lightroom’s Spot Removal tool To the Rescue

Although this process can be replicated in Photoshop, Lightroom’s handy Spot Removal Tool does the trick within a matter of seconds. Now that all of your spots are clearly visible, simply select a dust spot using the Heal option under Spot Removal and find an area of the image that blends seamlessly to replace it. Focus on the larger more obvious spots because those are most likely the ones that will stand out within the image.


Watch the video for more tips on how to completely post-produce this image to make your ring shots pop and other shots clean, and comment down below with your final results. This excerpt comes from our Advanced Lightroom Processing workshop where we show you Lightroom’s true RAW processing capabilities in action and how to fully utilize its comprehensive tools to take your images from ordinary to extraordinary. Get access to post-production tutorials and infinite photography education as a SLR Lounge Premium Member.