How to Remove a Flash Glare From a Photograph

By Hans Fredrick

An unexpected event can ruin an otherwise great picture. You don't expect someone to develop red eye in a photograph, and you don't expect lens flare to reflect off background objects and ruin your shot, but these things happen. Luckily, modern photoediting software gives us all the tools that we need to remove lens flare from any photograph. The exact option that you use will depend on the characteristics of the object that is reflecting the light of the lens flare. As with most photoediting tasks, Photoshop is the best editing software for removing a flash glare.

Using the Healing Brush

Step 1

Create a duplicate layer of your image and lock the original image. Always work on a duplicate layer in Photoshop that will leave your original image unaltered in case you make an error.

Step 2

Select the healing brush tool. Set the brush size to a size that is smaller than any of the areas where you need to repair the lens flare. Define your source area. Choose the source from an area that matches closely to the color and texture of the area of the photograph from which you are trying to eliminate glare.

Step 3

Use the healing brush tool to brush out the glare. The healing brush creates a blending effect. Use the tool around the edges of the glare to softly blend it in with the surrounding colors.

Using Clone Stamp

Step 1

Select the clone stamp tool.

Step 2

Hold down the ALT key on the keyboard. Click on an area with your clone stamp that is close to the lens flare but that does not actually exhibiting any flare itself. You want the color to match as closely as possible.

Step 3

Use the clone stamp to paint over the area where there is lens flare showing. Taking a second clone sample from a slightly different color can be necessary if the flare is covering an area where there is more than one color present.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the lens flare is near the borders of the picture, you may find it easier to crop the flare out rather than trying to retouch it.
  • The instructions above are for the most commonly used photo-retouching program, which is Adobe Photoshop. Similar tools and processes can also be used for Photoshop Elements and Apple's Aperture.