In this paper we address the problem of reliably fitting parametric and semi-parametric models to spots in high density spot array images obtained in gene expression experiments. The goal is to measure the amount of label bound to an array element. A lot of spots can be modelled accurately by a Gaussian shape. In order to deal with highly overlapping spots we use robust M- estimators. When the parametric method fails (which can be detected automatically) we use a novel, robust semi-parametric method which can handle spots of different shapes accurately. The introduced techniques are evaluated experimentally.