How to Create a Dust Correction Curve in Lightroom

Getting amazing macro shots really comes down to the minute details, and many of these can be difficult to see with the naked eye. Dust, hair, lint…all of these can affect the final image if they’re not caught during post-processing. Luckily, there are a few presets you can create in Lightroom to find and remove these particles with ease. If you’re an old hand at Adobe Lightroom, creating presets will already be a key part of your workflow, but if you haven’t yet delved that deeply into the program, you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make. In the video below, photographer Pye Jirsa demonstrates how to get immaculate ring shots using the two super-helpful presets:

Dust Correction Curve

The first preset Jirsa uses is called the Dust Correction Curve. If you take a look at the bottom right-hand corner of the image below, you’ll see that he’s manually created spikes in the tonal curve.

How to make a dust correction curve in Lightroom

Creating a Dust Correction tonal curve

It will create extremes in the lights and darks of your tonal curve, but don’t worry, they won’t be there for long—just long enough for you to find and remove the dust and lint. When applied to the image it renders just about any dust or lint immediately visible to the naked eye.

Finding the dust in macro shots

Once you’ve identified the dust, simply use Lightroom’s spot remover to erase them. Once you’re finished, you’ll need to return the tonal curve to normal. Jirsa does this by creating a preset that recreates the standard tonal S-curve seen below. From there you’ll be able to adjust the tonal curve from a baseline, just like you’d normally do in your workflow. (Remember to save both of these presets in Lightroom so that you don’t have to manually create them every time.)

How to make an S-Curve in Lightroom

Creating an S-curve tonal curve

Highlight Bloom Detail Enhancer

And while the remainder of the video shows all the minute adjustments Jirsa makes to get his ring to “pop,” there’s one other preset that can be used across the board for many macro and/or product shots. He calls it the highlight bloom detail enhancer, and it can really make a difference in your shot. Just make sure you only use it on the subject and not on your background.

Lightroom Highlight Bloom

As the name suggests, this preset really caffeinates your highlights. Here’s how you do it.

Settings For the Highlight Bloom Detail Enhancer

  • Highlights 50
  • Shadows -5
  • Whites 20
  • Blacks -5
  • Clarity 10

When you’re finished with it, your ring (or other highlighted subject) should really shine:

Using the highlight bloom preset

What do you think? Worth the time?

Do you have any of your own custom presets you’d like to share with the PictureCorrect community?

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