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How to Use the Healing Brush to Retouch Photos in Lightroom Classic

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Have ever tried to hide imperfections in skin or remove some dust or dirt from your image? Of course you have, but if you haven't been using the Healing Brush in Lightroom Classic, then this tutorial is for you!

The Healing Brush going to save you a ton of time in your retouching, and the results will speak for themselves.

What Is the Healing Brush?

The Healing Brush in Lightroom Classic is a highly effective tool that seamlessly removes information and replaces it with information from a chosen area. Put simply, it can remove unwanted details in your image seamlessly by using a powerful built-in algorithm.

How to Use the Healing Brush in Lightroom

First things first: let's locate the Healing Brush tool. Lightroom makes this very easy with a shortcut in the Develop module just below the Histogram. The shortcut appears as a bandaid symbol. Click on the bandaid, and select Heal in the Brush options.

select Heal in the Brush options.select Heal in the Brush options.select Heal in the Brush options.

You'll notice there are three sliders associated with the Healing Brush: Size, Feather, and Opacity. The settings you choose for these will vary from edit to edit, but here's a general guide to begin with:

  • Size: choose a size slightly bigger than the detail you want to remove
  • Feather: choose a higher number for a softer edit or lower numbers for a more precise edit
  • Opacity: this is generally always left at 100; reduce it if you want a percentage of the detail to remain

Select the Healing Brush, and then Zoom In on the detail that you want to get rid of. In my example, I'd like to remove some crumbs from the lower left corner of this image.

crumbs to removecrumbs to removecrumbs to remove

I've chosen a Brush Size of 78 to cover this little cluster of crumbs. I've reduced the Feather to 34 so that the crumbs are contained in the inner circle of the brush. The Opacity remains at 100 as I want the crumbs to disappear entirely. Click to select the area you want to be healed.

Upon clicking, a second circle will appear. This is the Source Selection for your healing brush adjustment. Make a selection to show what you want Lightroom to use as the new information that will replace your original selection.

 Source Selection for healing brush  Source Selection for healing brush  Source Selection for healing brush

Lightroom will now work its magic, and through its algorithm, it will seamlessly blend in the detail of the source selection with our original selection.

healing brush in actionhealing brush in actionhealing brush in action

And just like that, those crumbs are gone, without any trace of the edit we just made. That's the power and simplicity of the healing brush.

Using the Healing Brush on a Portrait

The subject of this photo doesn't love the little freckle on his upper lip and requested it to be removed in post-production. The Healing Brush is the perfect tool for this job.

freckle on upper lipfreckle on upper lipfreckle on upper lip

I resized the Brush Size to 61, so that it fits just the freckle and the lip, being careful not to select the teeth. The Feather is at 69 to create a soft falloff, and the Opacity is 100.

source selectionsource selectionsource selection

I've chosen my source selection to be a section of the lip without any freckles.

freckle is gonefreckle is gonefreckle is gone

And just like that, the freckle is gone, and our edit has been blended seamlessly by Lightroom. So now you know how to use the Lightroom Healing Brush tool!

There are so many uses for the Healing Brush, and I hope you'll take what you've learned in this tutorial and apply it the next time you need to remove something in a photo edit.

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