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photographer has dealt with this at some point or another. And if a photographer says to you “I’ve never had an issue with Chromatic Aberration”, chances are, they have but they aren’t aware of it! It’s a TINY little issue that photographers run into with intricate details in images. Please don’t ask me to explain what causes chromatic aberration in detail because I already sound nerdy enough just mentioning the name!! (And to be honest, I really don’t know!) What I DO know is that when you’re shooting heavily detailed things, chromatic aberration has the possibility of rearing its’ ugly head!

Sometimes you can never tell it’s there and then other times, you look at an image on your blog and you think “Ewww, there’s a weird green or purple haze in this image!!”.   Chromatic aberration is VERY common in shots that include detailed tree branches in the background, small checkered shirt patterns and heavily detailed jewelry.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not great at understanding EXACTLY how lenses work but I do know this about Chromatic Aberration! :

– It happens often in HIGH CONTRAST situations and when you’re shooting wide open.

– Higher end lenses have less trouble with Chromatic aberration than starter lens but it DOES still exist with nice glass!

– Chromatic Aberration normally happens more often on the edges of the image. Most of the time the center of the image has less of an issue with this.

– Sometimes it is easy to spot and other times is isn’t.  The lower the resolution of an image, the more noticeable it is.  That is why it becomes most noticeable on blogs or on facebook but not when the high res file is open in photoshop or lightroom.

– You can avoid it by not shooting in high contrast situations.  Also, don’t shoot a zoomed out landscape shot at 1.4!  I know shooting wide open seems so cool because of the bokeh, but your image will suffer in other ways if it isn’t properly exposed.

– The “Technical” definition of Chromatic Aberration is this: Chromatic aberration is an optical phenomenon in which the camera lens is unable to focus the different wavelengths of light on the same plane in order to produce a correct image, resulting in a halo or fringe around objects.  This is especially noticeable in high contrast situations and when shooting at wide apertures. It should be noted that color fringes may also be caused by other factors such as lens flare or the camera’s sensitivity to the different wavelengths of light.

So is there a way to FIX this?! YES!! Hooray! There is!

Lightroom has a “Lens Corrections” tab and under that tab you can select “Color”.  Chromatic aberration usually shows up in the form of a green or purple fringe. You can “Defringe” by using the colored “Defringe” sliders.  I’ve included an example below! When I have a whole series of portraits that need some help with this, I’ll sync them all in Lightroom and will fix the chromatic aberration before editing everything else.

So here is BEFORE:

And here is AFTER:

This makes a huge difference in the overall image! If you have NEVER paid attention to this in your images, I have to apologize because it’s going to drive you crazy now! But at least you have a solution!! I hope this was helpful!!

Ps. Don’t judge me, there are definitely some trees with some glowing green branches in my last wedding post so I’m only human and I missed a few edits there:)  See what I mean? Only photogs would notice that but still, it’s there!! :

xoxo, Katelyn
39 Comments Ask Anything, Education, Resources
  1. Abby reply

    I had no idea you could fix this!! I get that stupid purple haze around people’s heads occasionally when I’m shooting them against a cloudy sky. Thanks for the tip- I didn’t know!

  2. Katie Yuen reply

    The lightroom tool to fix this has been a lifesaver! I started noticing this a few years ago and ONLY selecting that area of color to correct was such a time suck!

  3. Kimber Wassenberg reply

    Wow, I totally didn’t know what this was! Now I’m going to be paranoid. :) Thanks for the tips.!

  4. Rebekah Hoyt reply

    This is an awesome tip, Katelyn!! I’m so thankful for how advanced Lightroom is with fixing these things!

  5. Ashlyn reply

    I’ve never heard the term, but I’ve had this before! Thanks for sharing, Katelyn!

  6. Allie reply

    ooo! Thanks for the tip, Katelyn!! Much appreciated:)

  7. amanda reply

    Oh my GOSH!!!!! So freaking glad I know more about this now! Thank you so much for posting this helpfulness today! :)

  8. Anna K. reply

    I had no idea about this, but I’ve noticed it in some of my images and I didn’t even know it had a name! Thank you!!!

  9. Travis reply

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve seen this tab and seen this before but I’ve always ignored it because it looked and sounded confusing and scary, but you’re right, it IS ugly and I’m glad you chopped it’s head right off today. Thanks for sharing!

  10. lANIE reply

    tHANK YOU FOR TEACHING ME SOMETHING nEW TODAY! yOU rOCK!

  11. Terri reply

    Awesome tip! I get that halo too, and now i know the proper name and how to fix it!

  12. Carrie Logan reply

    this is why you’re the best… thank you for this post!!! SO helpful!!

  13. Candice Holcomb reply

    I have noticed this so much and played in Lightroom trying to fix it! Thank you for the explanation to why this happens! I couldn’t figure out what was causing it! And didn’t know the right way to fix it when it does happen! Thanks so much! This was awesome!

  14. Sarah reply

    Ahhh Katelyn! Thanks so much for sharing your tips with everyone. :)

  15. Sharon Elizabeth reply

    oOOOhhhh i love that LR can fix this!!! thanks K!

  16. Sarah Adams reply

    This just blew my mind!!! Thank you so much for sharing, Katelyn!!

  17. Annamarie reply

    This is so helpful! I didn’t know this problem was so easy to fix!!!

  18. Mary Maier reply

    I’ve seen this in my images and never known what it was or how to fix it! Thank you!!

  19. Gail reply

    HOW have I never heard of this before? I’m SO happy to have read this post and learned about this! And now I know how to fix it! YEAH!

  20. Paulette reply

    YAY! I didn’t know this could be fixed.. Awesome! Thanks Katelyn

  21. Caroline reply

    once again, adding words to my vocabulary :)

  22. Melissa reply

    Such a helpful post!! Thank you!

  23. Victoria Gingras reply

    This is wonderful! I had no idea that you could fix that…I have had it show up in some of my recent shoots that were high contrast. Thank you SO much for sharing on this topic!

  24. Annetta reply

    Thanks for this Katelyn! I knew a bit about it but now I know how to fix it as well.

  25. Brittany Claud reply

    Thanks so much for this tip Katelyn! I had no idea!!

  26. Brannan reply

    Amazing tip!!! Thank you so much! I always wondered how to get rid of that nasty purple and green glow.

  27. Katrina reply

    Omg!!! I had no clue I can fix that ! I also didn’t know there was a name for it! Thanks for the tIp!!! :)

  28. Sabrina reply

    DId not even notice this until your blog post! And now I’m editing last weekend’s wedding and I see it a ton! THANK YOU for this tip, Katelyn!!!

  29. One Last Snow » Stacey Lynn reply

    […] chromatic aberration.  Katelyn James provides a great explanation of what chromatic aberration is here and how to remove it using some editing tricks in LightRoom.  Basically it’s a fancy word […]

  30. meghan hochgesang reply

    what version of lightroom are you using? i’m using 4 and under the lens corrections tab, i don’t see profile and manual. there is a check box for “remove chromatic abberation” and when i select that it helps, but nowhere the improvements i see in yours. thoughts?

  31. Tara reply

    Thank you ! I follow you on FB and your blog. I am trying to get myself out there and make a business for myself. I read your post on this first and thought “I dont have this” –but now I see it in my stuff—way too much–I had to go back and re-read this. So glad you shared with us how to fix.

  32. Kristin reply

    This tip has rocked my world- thank you!!

  33. Ashley reply

    I love all your processing! I’d love to see more posts about what you do to your images in post production!

  34. Kirsten Smith reply

    thank yo!! thank you! thank you! <3

  35. Christin reply

    Thank you so much for touching on this! I have seen this in some of my photos and it drives me crazy.

  36. Maria E reply

    Katelyn, this is so helpful and you’re so right, it’s going to drive me crazy now! Also, shout out to Durham in that last image! My husband and I live in the triangle area of NC and we love Durham!

  37. Alice reply

    Thank you!!!!! Extremely helpful tip!:)

  38. alice d reply

    Well, thanks, Kathryn, now I Notice this aberration everywhere lol

    Seriously, thank you! It was so annoying and i never knew what to do with it.

  39. Mathias reply

    Thank you, Kathryn…very helpful tip :-)

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