As a photographer and image editor, you will sometimes find yourself in situations that might look tricky to get out of. For example, you might sometimes have to merge old photos with a fresh voice-over that, however, when you start doing that, you will see that the image might have a lot of dust or dirt specks that might reduce the appeal of the image in everyone else’s eyes. In this tutorial, we will talk about a guide that will help you answer your question on how to clean up a scanned image in Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful and versatile tool that will definitely help you in a lot of different scenarios. In this scenario, you will be able to get their help too. However, do keep in mind that you do need to know some basic ideas about Photoshop or else, you will just get lost in the wide options and tools.

How to Clean a Scanned Image in Photoshop

Step Number 1: Preparing and scanning the Photo

The first step will be about preparing your photo and scanning it so that you will be able to upload that in your computer. To do that, you have to first lightly brush the photo that is printed with a very soft and clean cloth so that you can remove the extra dust before you start scanning it. Please do make sure that your scanner is clean as well.

Usually, it is required that you scan the image at least from 600 dpi or more so that you can use the higher resolution of the image for any type of project that you want to cover. Now you might think that we should go for higher resolution? This is mainly done because if you scan a photo that will be at a high resolution, you will then have a lot of options when you are editing later on. You will also be able to zoom into the photo if you want to make someone stand out or see some details from the photo.

Step Number 2: Saving the Image file with a Name that you will Remember

After you are done with the scanning of the image, don’t forget to give the jpg file a meaningful name that you will be able to remember. If you don’t do that, you might forget the name of the file have a hard time later on. After that, do save it to a folder on your computer. You have to then organize your photos, audios and all the video files that are related to the project in a folder so that you will be able to fetch them when you want to later use them in your editing software.

Please do try to avoid the temptation of changing your file name after you have imported your images from the folder to the editing software. This is because if you change the file name in the middle of your edit, you will definitely mess up and the software won’t be able to recognize the folder anymore. Also, please do make sure that the photos that you chose are going to be in your final project so that you won’t waste your time cleaning up the images that are not going to make it in the final stage.

Step Number 3: Adjusting the Image in Photoshop

After you are ready setting up and making sure that the image that you selected is the final one, then you have to import it into Adobe Photoshop. In the editing software, it is better to make adjustments on a duplicate layer of the image instead of the original layer so that you can get back the original layer if you mess it up. To make the layer, you have to go to the Layers menu and then choose Duplicate Layer.

Adjusting the Image in Photoshop

You will see that the default Layer name will be called “Background copy.” Click OK on the dialogue box. After you are done with that, Crop the image so that you will be able to remove all the extra pixels from the edges of your image and you won’t have any distracting parts of the image. To do that, select the Crop Tool and then pull the edges towards the image so that you will remove the unwanted pixels.

After that, we are going to work on the contrast of the image. To do that, click on the Contrast option that will give you the relative dark and light values of the image, and then you can adjust the settings according to your preference for the project. If you aren’t sure about this option, then you can click on the Auto Contrast option that will give you a bit higher contrast of the image which a lot of photographers and editors prefer.

If you want to work on the color, then click the Vibrance option and then move the Vibrance and the Saturation sliders to the right side if you want to increase them and to the left side if you want to decrease them. You can play with these options until you get the required look you prefer.

Step Number 4: Cleaning up the Dust and Dirt Specks from your Image

A lot of times, you will see that scanning images that are old and are mostly black and white images will require additional touch-ups. In higher contrast areas, you will see speckled areas, which are like white spots over a dark background or dark spots over white background.

You will be able to clean these distracting specks using the Spot Cleaning Brush Tool that you will find inside Adobe Photoshop. To do that, you have to work at 200% visibility so that the specks that you are trying to find are a lot more visible. After you select the tool, you have to click on the specks to remove them and follow this method one after the other.

Don’t forget to return to 100% visibility or your image will look really weird. Finally, after you are done with cleaning, don’t forget to save and export the image in your computer. Do save it as a jpg file so that you will be able to find that file in your computer.


How do you remove dust from scanned photos?

You can remove dust and specks through different professional software editors like Adobe Photoshop. To do that, you should go to Photoshop, import the photo and then select the Spot Cleaning Brush Tool . You should then be able to click on the spots that you want to work on with a visibility with 200% and after you are finished, turn it down to 100%.

Why are my scanned images blurry?

A lot of time, because of time and other conditions, the images might be damaged and hence, a lot of different substances can appear on top of the image. If you scan those images later on, you will see that the scanned image will also capture the dust and other particles that are on that photo. These days, you will be able to easily fix them by just using different photo editing software.

How do I make a high-resolution scan?

You will be able to scan and get high-resolution image by just scanning it through a scanner. When you start scanning, don’t forget to scan the image with 600 dpi or more so that you will be able to get high-resolution images and also will be able to use the images for various purposes.

Using Spot Cleaning Brushing Tool


If you read the article till now, we are pretty sure that you will be able to easily get your job done and answer your question on how to clean up a scanned image in Photoshop. If you liked our article, then please do take a look at our previous images that will help you with creativity and other photography related topics. If you have any question regarding this article, then please do give your opinion in the comments section below. We hope you have a great day and see you soon!

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