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Catalog > Free Tutorials > How to Remove Distractions in Photoshop

How to Remove Distractions in Photoshop

by Aaron Nace
January 22, 2019

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Every photo has them; small distractions that take focus away from the subject and the scene. Learn how to use the Spot Healing Brush Tool to quickly and realistically eliminate unwanted elements from any photo.

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Spotlight on Spot Healing

What could be easier than simply painting over the objects and distractions in an image that you want to remove? The Spot Healing Brush Tool is the default healing tool in Photoshop and should be your go-to whenever you need to quickly clean up a photo.

The Spot Healing Brush tool is a ‘smart’ tool, meaning that Photoshop does all the heavy-lifting for you behind the scenes. When you paint over an object, Photoshop will intelligently replace that object using the information available from the surrounding areas in the photograph.

It’s an extremely helpful tool, but we can make it even better by changing a couple important settings.


After selecting the Spot Healing Brush Tool, you’ll notice a number of options in the toolbar at the top of the screen. The first, and most important option, is selecting the Type. For removing distractions, make sure Content-Aware is selected.

Content-Aware will instruct Photoshop to analyze the surrounding areas around wherever you paint, and use that information to fill in the blanks once something is removed.

Nondestructive Workflow

For working professionals, a nondestructive workflow is key. To make sure you can always get back to your original photo, be sure to create a new Layer for any Spot Healing Brush Edits. If you’re working on a new Layer, also make sure to have the Sample All Layers button checked. This will tell Photoshop to pull information from any and all Layers in your project. This options is what allows you to work with the Spot Healing Brush Tool on a new, blank layer and work without damaging the original image.

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