How to Correct Purple Fringing in Photoshop

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A couple years after starting my business, I received a large print from my lab. Upon checking it, I noticed a problem with the print that was so blatant I couldn’t deliver it to my client. At first I thought the lab made the mistake, but nope. It was a problem created by my digital camera when I took the shot! It’s more than likely you’ve already noticed it in your images.

The problem is called purple fringing. In this article I’ll go over what it is, how to prevent it, and how to get rid of it.

What is Purple Fringing?

Purple fringing is when you get purple color in high contrast boundary areas in an image that was most likely taken in low light situations with a brighter background. It is most often attributed to a chromatic aberration that occurs commonly with digital cameras, but purple fringing can also be caused by lens flare.

How can you prevent getting it?

  • Avoid shooting with your lens wide open in high contrast situations.
  • Get a UV filter for all of your lenses.

Unfortunately, these actions don’t always resolve fringing problems, but it can prevent it from happening some of the times.

Purple fringing

Example image: You see it mostly in the branches and the edge of the roof.

Purple-Fringe-in-images-PROBLEMS-MARKED2

FYI:  I used my 14mm ultra wide lens for this shot. The lens looks like a fisheye lens with its bulging curvature, so it is not possible to put a lens filter on it.

Close-up view of purple fringing:

Purple-Fringe-in-images-PROBLEM-closeup

The image AFTER correcting it in post-processing:

Purple-Fringe-in-images-FIXED

Close-up view AFTER correcting it:

Purple-Fringe-in-images-FIXED-closeup

Steps to correct purple fringing in Photoshop:

Step One:

In Photoshop, click on “Adjustments” under the “Image” tab.

Step Two:

Select “Hue/Saturation”. (Or you can do this as an adjustment layer as well in case you need to mask off some areas later).

Photoshop-Saturation-menu

Step Three:

Where you see “Master”, click on it and select “Blues” to get to the blue channel.

Step Four:

Once you’ve selected the specific color channel, you will have the eyedropper tool. Select the left-most eye dropper.

BlueChannel

Step Five:

Then click on one of the areas in your image with purple fringing. I chose the tree branches on the right as they were one of the most prominent problem areas.

Step Six:

Next, go to the Saturation slide bar and move the slider to the left. Usually somewhere between -70 and -80 works best, but the exact number depends on the image and the amount of fringing.

Step Seven:

Lastly, check your image to see if you need to adjust anything else since reducing one color may effect the rest of your image. (If you’ve use an adjustment layer you can mask out the parts you don’t want effected)

There you have it! You’ve zapped away the purple fringe!

Read more on how to fix chromatic aberration here:

Read more from our Post Production category

Annie Tao is a Professional Lifestyle Photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area who is best known for capturing genuine smiles, emotions and stories of her subjects. You can visit Annie Tao Photography for more tips or inspiration. Stay connected with her on her Facebook page

  • Thanks, useful article. One question: if it’s sometimes caused by lens flare, then wouldn’t a lens hood also be useful in helping to avoid this problem?

  • Colin

    It’s a lot easier to use the chromatic aberration setting in PS Camera Raw or Lightroom. Go to Lens Corrections > Color, mark the Remove Chromatic Aberration checkbox and adjust with the purple slider. No side effects on the rest of the photo.

  • Peter

    Since CC 2014, you can also use the Camera Raw filter directly inside Photoshop, which can even be applied non-destructively as a smart filter and masked if needed. Capture One may beat Adobe Camera Raw in pretty much all other aspects, but chromatic aberration correction is really the one area where Adobe Camera Raw truly shines.

  • David

    Hi… there are filters that you can get for 14mm lens. I am guessing that you are either using the 14mm Samyang/Rokinon lens and Samyang have a filter set for it in conjunction with Cokin.
    http://www.samyang-lens.co.uk/samyang-cokin-filters.html

    Another is the Wonderpana system combination of circular (ND, UV and CPL) and variable (ND Grad). This can be used for Samyang, Nikon 14-24mm and others with the correct adaptor.
    http://fotodioxpro.com/freearc/Fotodiox_/WonderPana_FreeArc.html

    Lee also have a system for the Nikon 14-24mm (SW-150)

    Note that I don’t own these items or are affiliated with them but looking seriously to purchase them soon!

  • Max

    I’ve had issues with brown hair becoming purple once I got to take a closer look on the computer screen, does that come from the same phenomenom?

  • Wow thank you!

  • Lightroom now has a specific slider for purple defringing within the “Lens Corrections” tab, under “Color”. It works really well without harming the information you want to keep.

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  • Emurafu

    Great, many thanks for the sharing!

  • MPR1776

    I use this method to remove color fringing…https://youtu.be/VHjSKFB5ez8

  • Jake F

    Damn, that actually worked like a charm. Thanks!

  • Annie Tao Photography

    WAHOO! So glad to hear that, Jake!

  • Annie Tao Photography

    I guess I should check my articles once in awhile for new comments. Sorry, Laurie, for not seeing this sooner. <:) So yes, a lens hood can help prevent fringing, but it doesn't help when the sun is low in the sky (early morning, late in the day) and you're shooting into the light.

  • Annie Tao Photography

    I’ll have to check out Adobe Camera Raw. Thanks, Peter.

  • Annie Tao Photography

    I wrote this article many years ago when there wasn’t a slider for this very problem, so I’m so glad to see photography editing software companies have identified this as a common problem and thus, found an easier and better solution! Yay!

  • Annie Tao Photography

    You’re very welcome! 🙂

  • Annie Tao Photography

    Yessss! So glad it helped you. 🙂

  • Annie Tao Photography

    Yes, sounds like it is.

  • Annie Tao Photography

    For that image, I used a Nikon 14mm lens. I can’t speak for the other lenses because I don’t have those, but mine is curved glass, so you can’t put a lens on that. Unless Nikon has figured out how to put a filter on it since I bought this lens, I don’t think there is one. It’s really a specialty lens because you don’t often need an “ultra wide lens”. Oh, the lens hood is also a “flower” shape, which allows for more light to hit the glass. It’s still a marvelous lens, but you may get some fringing from time to time.

  • Annie Tao Photography
  • Greg

    worked great-thanks Annie!!

    Greg

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