If you’ve ever attempted to use the Spot Removal Tool to clone out anything bigger than a piece of sensor dust, you already know Lightroom does a lousy job cloning big areas. In fact, it can make things look much worse than when you started. Lightroom’s Spot Removal Tool lacks finesse and works in the complete opposite of Photoshop’s Rubber Stamp cloning tool. I’ve mentioned this function reversal with the Radial Gradient in an earlier post.

So, what’s the cloning difference between Photoshop and Lightroom?

Photoshop allows you to choose your source (the section of the image you want to copy and paint with elsewhere) and then you choose the destination (the stuff you want to hide with what you just copied) and gives you a paintbrush for some control. To me, that’s logical thinking. But maybe that’s what nearly 20 years of working with Photoshop will do to you.

Lightroom has you working in the opposite. Instead of choosing your source first, you choose the destination – i.e. the thing you want to hide – and, instead of a brush they give you a hammer (disclaimer – Lightroom does not really come with a hammer tool). And, geez, Lightroom chooses the destination for you. What makes Lightroom think a street foreground is a good blend with an out of focus doorway? Yes, Lightroom allows you to adjust your source and destination but it’s not Photoshop by any stretch of the imagination.

Arrrrgggghhhh! But don’t give up. You can work wonders with the Spot Removal Tool with a little patience and practice. Well, maybe a lot of patience and practice, especially in the beginning. But it’s possible to make it work quite well once you get the hang of it.

I had only a couple of seconds to catch this fantastic photograph of two accordion players walking down the street in Florence, Italy with my Nikon D800E. But there’s an unwanted pedestrian crossing the street in the background and here’s how I got rid of him…