Today I want to address a problem I’ve dealt with in my own work and that I’ve seen in the work of others: Chromatic Aberration. You’ve probably noticed a purple or greenish shadow around the figures in a photo. What you don’t realize is that this coloration is caused by an error between the light, color, and camera and it shouldn’t be there! For professional, clean looking images, you’ll want to make sure this isn’t showing up in your finished product. Fixing chromatic aberration has become a key step in my own editing process and I hope you will add it to yours
To help you better understand what I’m talking about, here is a more in depth explanation of what Chromatic Aberration is and why this happens:
“Chromatic Aberration, also known as “color fringing” or “purple fringing”, is a common optical problem that occurs when a lens is either unable to bring all wavelengths of color to the same focal plane, and/or when wavelengths of color are focused at different positions in the focal plane. Chromatic aberration is caused by lens dispersion, with different colors of light travelling at different speeds while passing through a lens. As a result, the image can look blurred or noticeable colored edges (red, green, blue, yellow, purple, magenta) can appear around objects, especially in high-contrast situations.”
Now that you’re aware, you won’t be able to unsee this error in your images. So, I’ve prepared a very basic tutorial on how to fix chromatic aberration! We’ll be working within Lightroom because they’ve created a tool that quickly and easily fixes this problem (and, hands down, Lightroom is the best editor out there).
Find an image and zoom in on the problem spot. Take a look at the picture below. I chose this image of Becca & Harry’s Wedding invitation because the color of the text is supposed to be black, but the chromatic aberration causes it to look purple. EW.
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In your right-hand toolbar, find the editor called “Lens Correction.” Open it up and you will see 4 options at the top. Select the 3rd option called “Color.” Check the “Remove Chromatic Aberration” box and then pick up the Dropper tool.
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With the Dropper tool selected, move your mouse over to where the chromatic aberration exists. See how the text looks like it’s glowing purple? Hover over one of the problem spots and the colors will appear as pixels in the preview box. Now click the dropper on the color and watch what happens.
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See the difference below? The color of the text is no longer purple and a lot closer to what it should be. You will have to play around with the tool on your own to find the perfect fix, but once you understand the concept, it will be an easy edit. Since this is essentially a desaturating tool, if the same color you selected appears somewhere else within the image it will also desaturate. Do a quick check to make sure the correct colors in the image are not distorted.
Also, you may not be able to fix all of the chromatic aberration, so, I suggest using the color editor and trying to desaturate or change the luminance of the problem color.
Hope this little guide was helpful! 🙂 If y ou have any questions, let me know! Would you like to see more Lightroom tutorials on the blog in the future? Leave your feedback in the comments below.