Adobe Lightroom Tutorials – Cloning

In these Adobe Lightroom Tutorials you will discover how to remove unwanted items in your photos by using the cloning tool.

Waxwing before cloning Waxwing after cloning


There are more cloning examples at the end of this page.

The before image shows a waxwing feeding from a Rowan berry tree. Rowan berries are a favorite food for Waxwings. They have voracious appetites for them, stripping the berries and flying on at quite a pace!

 I love this photo but find the blurred branch behind the tail a little distracting.

Lightroom Cloning To The Rescue!

Select the image you want to work on and go to the Develop module.




In the panel just below the histogram, select the spot removal tool.

Move the cursor over to your image. A circle will appear which is your clone target area. You can increase the size of the circle by using the square bracket keys – [ and ] or by using the mouse wheel.

Adjust the size of the circle so that it is the exact size of the area that you want to alter.

Tip: It is often necessary to use multiple circles in order to get the effect you want, such as in this example.


Move this circle to the area that you want to clone and click. A second circle will appear which is your source area.

Everything in the target circle will be replaced by everything in the source circle.

You can increase the size of the target area by clicking on the target circle, hovering your mouse over the edge and dragging.

You can click on either the target circle or the source circle and drag it around until you get the effect that you want.

If you click on your image again another target circle will appear. Keep repeating the whole process until you’re happy with your change.


Tip: At any point, if you want to see what the image looked like before you started cloning, hold down the backslash key.

Detail Work

When you’re working on areas around your subject such as the tail of the waxwing you’ll need to zoom in and use smaller target circles.

Tip: When you have a lot of source and target circles it is best to create them first and then drag them to the area that you want to clone.

Cloning Examples

before after

This image shows another example of the power of Adobe lightroom cloning.

Further Adobe Lightroom Tutorials

Blurring Backgrounds to make your subject pop.

Adobe Lightroom Presets allow you to rapidly process your photos and automate your workflow by making adjustments to your images with a single click.

Using keywords in Lightroom – Lightroom keywords are a very powerful feature and should form part of your photography workflow.