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How to Fix Chromatic Aberration in Lightroom


Chromatic aberration is a phenomenon caused by distortion of the lens. Basically, it is a failure of the lens to focus all the colors to the same convergence point.

The effect can be generally seen in dark edges adjacent to bright areas of an image; it looks like an out-of-focus ghost of magenta or purple color. In photography this is also called “purple fringing”.

100 Crop Before

The quality of the optic plays an important role here, as not all lenses will produce the same effect. This problem tends to manifest much more in zoom lenses with variable aperture. However, no lens is exempt from having some distortion of this type, but we are not going to enter into that right now. I just want to share with you an easy solution with Lightroom. Your photos will look much better on the screen and, of course, in print once you easily correct this.

First off, let me share the example above, where you can see a 100 percent crop of a photo where you can see the distortion. If you look around the edges of the building against the sky, you can clearly see the magenta lines and out-of-focus effect.

Now, depending on the type of camera you are shooting with, if you shoot in JPG, chances are you’ll probably notice it less. The camera will apply some automatic correction when converting or processing the JPG in-camera. So please note that this will work much better when you are shooting in Raw.

We are going to be working in the Lens Corrections panel in Lightroom. Correcting chromatic aberration is fairly easy and can be done really quickly in Lightroom. All you need is a few clicks in the appropriate boxes and Lightroom will work its magic. Please note that this panel is also used to correct other type of lens distortions as well, including barrel distortion, vignetting, etc.

Step 1 Go to the Lens Correction Panel

Locate the Lens Corrections panel in the Develop Module. You’ll probably have to scroll down. The Lens Corrections panel is located between the Detail and Effects panels.

Step 2 Do the Basic tab options first

The Lens Corrections panel is divided into four sections: Basic, Profile, Color, and Manual. Be sure to start from left to right and select the Basic section. Select the options Enable Profile Corrections and Remove Chromatic Aberration. The software comes preloaded with profiles from all major camera manufacturers and lenses. So as soon as you enable these options, you’ll notice that the image will change and any distortion will be automatically corrected. It will also correct and reduce the chromatic aberration or purple fringing.

Lens Correction Panel 1

Step 3 Go to the Profile tab next

Now, go to the second section of the panel, Profile. Be sure that the checkbox Enable Profile Corrections is selected. Right below you’ll notice that Lightroom already recognized your lens make and model. If for any reason it is not, you can browse and select it manually. If your lens is not available you can switch the Setup option to Custom and correct distortion yourself by moving the sliders Distortion and Vignetting manually.

Step 4 The Color tab

Move to the Color section. Again, be sure that the Remove Chromatic Aberration checkbox is selected. In the majority of situations this is all you need to do. But for some particular images, you may need to do some extra work to completely remove the distortion. For that you can move the sliders until underneath until you notice the fringes disappear. A more precise method is to use the eyedropper to select the purple or green fringes for correction in a more accurate way.

Lens Corrections Panel 2

As you can see, this is a very simple process. Like stated before, in most cases you’ll be just clicking a few checkboxes and the program will do the rest. There are really very few occasions where you need to do any manual work – especially if the lens is already profiled in Lightroom, which applies to a very wide selection.

Here are the final results. In both, the same 100 percent crop as before and the entire image. As you can observe, the chromatic aberration no longer exists and the photo looks much better.

100 Crop After

Miami River Condos

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Daniel Korzeniewski is a Miami based, travel photographer. His work appeared in several publications and contributes to various stock photography outlets. He often leads photography travel tours, find more about his work, travel adventures, and upcoming tours at his website by clicking here. You can also follow his Instagram account.

  • Michael Owens

    Is there a similar outcome for Photoshop or Camera RAW?

  • Guest

    Camera RAW and Lightroom share the same engine so the outcome should be the same.

  • Camera RAW and Lightroom share the same engine so the outcome should be the same. Photoshop uses Camera Raw.

  • Yes, In Adobe Camera Raw you want to look for the “Lens Correction” panel and you’ll have the same tools.

  • Some Guy

    I wish I could see the difference between the two pictures. It must have to do with my red-green color blindness.

  • vilim

    Picture with chromatic aberration is just a bit more blurry, so you can maybe notice it that way 🙂

  • Michael Owens

    Thank you Daniel. Appreciate it.

  • Michael Owens

    Likewise Pierre, thank you.

  • I have been struggling with this in a lot of my photos lately, especially in direct sunlight. Thank you for this!

  • My camera has a “Lens Aberration Correction” option for Peripheral
    Illumination and Chromatic Aberration. I’ve enabled both and was also
    using the 2 options under the Basic panel in Lightroom until I started
    wondering if maybe using both was too much. My question is, if the
    camera already corrects for distortions and chromatic aberration, does
    Lightroom take that into consideration when it works its magic or not?
    And if not, then by applying both, am I overcompensating and actually
    undoing the camera fixes when applying Lightroom’s? And if so, which
    one would be best to use? Thanks!

  • @lewells:disqus I am glad the article helped you out. Thanks for commenting.

  • @massimon71:disqus Generally speaking, the correction your camera is being only applied to the JPG photos. However if you shoot RAW there are not corrections being done by the camera and you should apply it Lightroom. In the case of a JPG, no, Lightroom doesn’t have any way to differentiate what your camera adjusted for. Basically your in camera correction will only affect your photos if you are shooting JPG.

  • Thank you Daniel, that thoroughly answered my question!

  • aaa bbb

    can i get images with CA

  • aaa bbb

    can i get the photos with CA and which lens and settings r giving CA

  • Fantastic article. Wish I’d known this months ago! Tried this out last night and it fixed some issues I was having with vignetting and chromatic aberration. Thank you!

  • Carey Lee

    It doesn’t work all the time. Also using the brush with the Defringe does not work either.

  • Thanks Daniel for the information..I learned something new today but allow me to share with you what I found in LR though…

  • Once this is in Ps. I just want to follow this procedures! Copy the image > apply Gaussian blur>Change Blending mode to color…