Last year's dust before professional camera cleaning.
I'm not the only one having trouble with dust spots on digital photos. I've been asked to share how I "fix" the dust spots.
I use a primitive version of Adobe Photoshop. My version 7 is at least six versions back from the current CS6. But it suits me just fine, so I have no plans to upgrade in the near or not-so-near future.
I have never used Elements, but I understand it is similar to Photoshop, just not full-strength. I have never used Lightroom. I have never used any version of Creative Suite and don't personally know anyone who has it, so I have no idea if the instructions I share will translate for programs other than prehistoric Photoshop.
However, hopefully any image editing program will have the basic tools or some kind of equivalent of what I use to fix my dust spots.
Here is the "healing tool" I use.
This photo may appear perfect, but notice the dark gray hair-type spot in the gray clouds in the upper left-hand corner.
Here is a photo of my computer screen showing a photo with the obnoxious dust spot in the sky below my healing tool circle.
Select the healing tool by clicking on it. Place the healing tool/cursor over an area of the photo that matches where the dust spot is located, then push the ALT button AND right click the mouse. Let go of the mouse. This action stores data from the clean space into the healing tool, and the healing tool will now paint that clean space into whatever area of the photo you desire.
Place the healing tool/cursor over the dust spot, press the CONTROL button, right click the mouse and move the cursor across the dust spot.
There are two main modes of healing tools: Normal and Replace. These modes are located in the tool bar at the top of the screen when the healing tool is selected. Normal will blend the fix, including smearing nearby colors if you get too close. Replace will replace the pixels being fixed. Use this mode if your dust spot is close to an area with a strong difference in color or contrast, then use the Normal mode to blend edges if necessary.
Here is my fixed photo: