Quick Blemish Removal!

By Kate Riley September 19, 2012

Oh did you think I was talking about beauty products?  Sorry to disappoint!

No no no, I’m talking about removing blemishes or small imperfections in pictures!  I know some people consider image boosting or tweaking a hush-hush subject but I don’t.  Every now and then you shoot a great image, upload it to your computer and think, oh darn, if only I could get rid of that spot/pimple/speck of dust.  Well there are some free tools out there that let you do just that – remove those spots or blemishes or specks of dust from your images.  They’re free, easy to use, and pretty handy!

Let’s practice on this basket filled with pumpkins, ‘tis the season, you know.  There is a “Blemish Fix” tool in PicMonkey – a new and improved version of once popular Picnik that closed, and the tool will remove smaller imperfections like these brown spots on these little white pumpkins.

This shot is straight out of the camera, notice the tiny brown spots on the pumpkins in the center and in the upper right?

pumpkins in basket

Upload your image to PicMonkey and use the Blemish Fix tool to remove the spots:

blemish fix with  picmonkey

A few clicks later, those tiny spots are gone, easy peasy.

pumpkins in basket no blemishes


Another more advanced tool, and also free, is the spot healing brush in Pixlr, which mimics the same tool in Photoshop.   I’ve praised the Pixlr tools before (here and here).  It’s a simplified version of Photoshop Elements and it’s an online program that’s completely free – all you need is an internet connection.

You can use the Clone Tool just like in Photoshop to grab nearby pixels and cover blemishes, but the Spot Heal Tool is easier.   Here’s an image I posted earlier this week from the Tomato Festival, notice the hole on the front tomato.

tomatoes and wine grapes


I left it in the image because it looks natural to me, but if I had wanted to remove it here’s how to do it in Pixlr.   Open your image in Pixlr Editor (Advanced) and select the Spot Heal tool highlighted below – it looks like a Band Aid.

choose spot heal tool


Select the size and hover over the spot and start drawing on top where you want to heal the image.

select size hover on spot


Use your mouse to click or draw on the spot and it will magically “heal” the image with the surrounding pixels.  Here’s the image with the “repaired” tomato.

tomatoes and wine grapes pixlr


I do prefer when photographs are real and actually depict the subject, but sometimes you may want to tweak your image to remove a tiny imperfection (like a pimple!) or an unwanted speck and these two tools help you do it, plus they’re easy and free!

What are your favorite photo boosting or editing tools?




  1. Can you please tell me where to find the remove twenty pounds button? I really need that clone button too. Can you family and friends tell the difference if a clone shows up instead of you? ;D

    • Ha, Jackie too true! I could use that “twenty pounds” tool myself!!! PicMonkey has a “Weight Loss” tool and also a Nip Tuck…. check them out, they’re fun to play with!

  2. So funny Kate- I was just using PicMonkey to “airbrush” wrinkles off my forehead! I have two annoying squint lines right between my eyebrows! It’s a miracle what that software can do for free- without botox! :)

  3. I use the healing & spot healing brush tools in Photoshop as well. For quick photo boosting, I like to use the filters & different styles on Picasa. Photoshop seems a bit complicated for that.

  4. This sure is great.. I have downloaded picasa 3 which also has a blemish fix, and sure has come in handy for some of my photos.
    Bec x

  5. Thanks. That was very helpful. I’ve used picasa but I often can’t seem to get it to work right so I gave up. I’ll give this a try. Thanks again.

  6. Kate, you are just a wealth of knowledge. I’ve been deleted photos with imperfections. Geez.

  7. Thanks for sharing! I use the basic tools in iPhoto but these programs appear to offer more options. Researching them now :)

  8. I use Gimp, which is free! There is a learning curve, but understanding what the process is, is priceless. Thanks for the overview!

  9. Ha ha, I just did this yesterday. I was looking at a picture of my fireplace and noticed a huge stain on the stone for the first time. I used the retouch tool in windows since I can’t figure out photoshop. Now, hopefully that stain will come clean.

  10. I love when you do posts on tips like these! So helpful b/c I’m clueless and haven’t taken the time to try to figure it out myself. Love your blog!

  11. I’m using Picasa and am content with it because it is so easy.

    I always edit my photos. Even the ones that look terrific at first can stand a little enhancement — cropping, leveling, better contrast, and yes, blemish removal. Just knowing that the shot doesn’t have to be perfect when you take it, frees you up to go ahead and shoot and worry about fine tuning later.

    Thanks for letting us know your preferences, because your photos are always divine!

  12. Thanks so much for the tips! After Picnik was taken out of the picture (no pun intended) I was lost without an easy program to use. Thanks again!

  13. OMG Kate, these are great tips. Thank you so much. I just had fun touching up pictures of myself and my hubby. It’s great to have those blemishes gone in pictures. I also started to play around with the other features on PicMonkey and they are great. Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. Hi Kate, when this post came in I was struggling to sharpen and image of my daughter and almost gave up. can you print at home using this site as well or do you have to save and print as you normally do?
    thanks a bunch!

    • Yes Parisusan, you can save and print any image as .jpg and print the way you always do.

  15. Love this! I use wrinkle remover the same way you use the blemish remover tool. It just adds a nice smoothing to whatever, and disappears!

  16. Hi, I have been missing Picnik. I never new about Pixlr. I love it. Thanks for the great tip. This was a very helpful post.

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