- Last Updated: Sunday, 31 May 2020 13:08
- Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom Lens Corrections to reduce chromatic aberration
- Gaussian Blur and Color Blend Mode
- Clone Color
- Lens Corrections Filter
Image Credit: Barbulat via iStock
Chromatic aberration is a common problem in photography, yet many photographers aren't quite sure what it is, let alone how to fix it.
In this tutorial, you'll not only learn what chromatic aberration is but also the different types, how it impacts how your images look, and how to make corrections in Photoshop or Lightroom such that your final images are clear and crisp without ugly artifacts.
Let's get started!
What Chromatic Aberration is and Why You Should Care
Known as color fringing or purple fringing, chromatic aberration is an optical issue that happens when one of two things happen.
First, it occurs when a lens cannot focus all the wavelengths of color onto the same plane. Second, the problem can also occur when wavelengths of color focus on different areas of the focal plane.
YouTube Screenshot/Pixel Prophecy
In the image above, you can see how pronounced this fringing can be.
Fringing typically occurs most often in high contrast images and appears as green, blue, red, purple, magenta, or yellow artifacts around the edges of objects in the photo.
This phenomenon is caused by lens dispersion, which occurs as different colors travel at varying speeds through your camera's lens.
For a complete introduction to chromatic aberration - including a discussion of why it's important to know what it is and how it impacts your images - have a look at the video above by Pixel Prophecy.
Types of Chromatic Aberration
Image Credit: Stan Zurek [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons
There are two types of chromatic aberration: axial and transverse.
Axial aberrations, or longitudinal chromatic aberrations, occur when various wavelengths of light are focused at various distances from the lens, a process called focus shift. This type of aberration occurs most often when using longer focal lengths.
The result of axial aberrations is blurred colors both in front of and behind the focus point. It is most noticeable on the edges of very bright areas of an image.
Transverse aberrations, also known as lateral chromatic aberrations, happen when wavelengths of light are focused at varying spots along the focal plane. This is caused by the magnification of the lens as well as the distortion of the lens which both vary with wavelength. This type of aberration is more pronounced when using short focal lengths and appears as color fringing.
The image above shows an image taken with a high-quality lens with no chromatic aberration and a low-quality lens (bottom) that displays significant transverse aberrations.
How Do I Reduce Chromatic Aberration?
Fortunately, even though chromatic aberration is extremely ugly, there are things you can do to correct it in Photoshop.
In the video above, Jimmy McIntyre outlines five different ways to fix chromatic aberrations in Photoshop. These include using:
Each of these techniques is really simple to implement and takes next to no time as well!
How to Remove Chromatic Aberration in Lightroom
If you primarily use Lightroom, fixing chromatic aberration is done easily as well.
In the video above, Phillip Haumesser Photography offers a detailed overview of the process.
As you can see, it only takes a couple of minutes to clean up the image and remove the color fringing.
I think you'll agree that the final result is a vast improvement!
The fact that it's so easy to reduce chromatic aberrations is a good thing, given that most lenses - even high-dollar ones with special extra-low dispersion elements designed to reduce aberrations - still have some fringing.
Luckily, with these tips, you can clean up your images and get rid of fringing in just a matter of minutes!