Why Are There Spots On My Photos?

You were out taking some pictures of your new kitten or you took your family to watch fireworks. When you open up your images in Photoshop, things don’t look as good as they should. There are black or white dots that seem to be everywhere.

What is going on? Why do I have so many white spots all over my image? What can I do about it so my photo doesn’t turn into an eyesore instead of something pretty I want to display for everyone to see?

These are just a few questions that may come up when you find yourself with these annoying little spots all over your photos.

Join me as I take a look at why there are spots on your photos.

1.) Dirty Lens

It sounds simple, but dirt or smudges on your lens is probably what’s causing those tiny specks to appear in your shots. To solve, just make sure that you clean your lens after every use.

With a smartphone camera, there might be dirt or fingerprint marks on the lens, and this can cause spots to appear in your photos. Carefully clean the lens with a microfiber cloth every now and again.

2.) Dust On The Sensor

If you notice a spot on your photo that’s not part of your composition, it might be a dust particle on your camera’s sensor. Use a long-bristled brush to remove as much dust as possible before taking photos.

Take care to use brushes with soft edges so you don’t accidentally introduce new marks in other areas of the sensor. Alternatively, if you don’t feel comfortable with cleaning the sensor yourself, rather take it to your local camera store to have it professionally cleaned.

Also, if you’re using a DSLR or mirrorless camera, make sure that you don’t change lenses in a dusty environment. Dust can easily find its way onto your lens, so take care when changing lenses and when storing them as well.

3.) Light Reflecting Off Dust Particles

If you’re seeing those white specks in your photos, it might be because you’re not dealing with a clean environment.

Take a quick look around and see if you notice any dusty surfaces. This isn’t always a problem, but when light hits a dust particle, it can reflect back onto your lens, leaving a tiny speck on your image. To avoid these pesky particles, clean off any surface that may have been dirty or dusty before snapping away.

4.) Dead Pixels

A dead pixel or stuck pixel is a single, individual pixel in a digital image that is stuck at a single color (like a red, green, blue, or white dot). It is most commonly caused by a defect of a CMOS imaging sensor or an LCD display. In rare cases, it can be an artifact of JPEG compression.

If you suspect that your camera has dead pixels, take it to your local camera shop to get it inspected. This can usually be fixed by using pixel mapping, but in some cases, your camera would need to be repaired.

How to Avoid Getting Dust on Your Camera

Dust might seem harmless at first, but when it comes to cameras and lenses, dust is your worst enemy.

As I’ve mentioned above, dust on the lens or on the camera’s sensor can cause spots to appear in your photos. While these spots can easily be removed in applications such as Photoshop, it is still a good idea to keep your camera equipment dust-free.

Let’s have a look at a few ways that you can keep your camera and lenses dust-free.

  1. Don’t change lenses in a dusty environment
  2. Always make sure that the lens cap is on the camera when a lens is not attached
  3. Store your camera equipment in a dry and dust-free environment

Conclusion

One of the most common issues photographers face when using digital cameras is dealing with spots on photos.

Spots can happen in many forms, including white spots, black spots, and colored dots, to name just a few. Even if you’re not a photographer, but use your camera phone for taking pictures all the time, you’ve probably run into the issue of mysterious spots appearing on your photos at some point or another.

In most cases, if you see spots on your photos then it is most likely caused by a dirty lens. The way to solve this is just to keep your lens clean at all times, and to make a point of it to clean it after every use.

With DSLR and mirrorless cameras, dust can get onto the image sensor as well, and this can cause spots to appear on your photos. The trick here is not to change lenses in a dusty environment because this can easily let the dust settle onto the camera’s sensor.