How to Fix Chromatic Aberration in Lightroom (Step-By-Step Guide)

Chromatic aberration, or CA, can create muddy, amateurish-looking images – if you let it run unchecked, that is. Fortunately, Lightroom offers a way to get rid of CA, and it’s so easy that virtually anyone can do it.

In this article, I share an easy step-by-step method to correct chromatic aberration in Lightroom. And although he does not manage all CA instance, it will certainly do a great job in the majority of cases.

Ready to get rid of chromatic aberration like a pro? Let’s do this!

What is chromatic aberration?

Chromatic aberration is an optical phenomenon caused by lens imperfections; more specifically, it is a failure of the lens to focus all colors to the same point.

CA appears as purple or green fringing along high contrast edges. See the ghostly colors on the edges of the building below? Fringes are clearly visible when the image is cropped to 100%:

example of chromatic aberration

All images do not suffer from chromatic aberration. Low-contrast scenes tend to give little or no obvious CA, while high-contrast shots – of a bird against a cloudy sky, for example – often have lots of visible fringing.

The quality of the lens also plays an important role. Expensive professional lenses are carefully designed to suppress chromatic aberration. On the other hand, cheaper lenses, such as those you find in a beginner’s kit, often fall prey to major CAs, especially at their widest apertures.

But even the best gear can sometimes produce chromatic aberration, which is why it’s a good idea for every photographer to learn how to remove fringing in Lightroom. This will make your photos look better on screen and will also improve your prints.

One more thing :

Chromatic aberration may be apparent when zoomed in to 100% or 200%, but may not appear when viewing an image at lower magnifications. In such cases, you don’t need to remove the CA if you just plan to share the image online. But if you’re hoping to crop or print the image, you’ll probably want to perform CA correction.

How to Fix Chromatic Aberration in Lightroom

In this section, I explain the exact steps to remove CA in Lightroom.

The process I’m about to share may work on JPEGs, but the result is much better on RAWs. (This is one of the many reasons why you should shoot in RAW as much as possible!)

Step 1: Find the Lightroom Lens Corrections panel

The Lens Corrections panel is located in the Develop module, towards the bottom of the panel matrix:

The Lightroom Lens Corrections panel

Make sure the panel is open; you should see a Profile and a Manual section at the top.

Step 2: Enable Chromatic Aberration Removal

Next, you’ll apply Lightroom’s basic chromatic aberration removal option.

Just find the Remove chromatic aberration checkbox under the Profile section, then make sure it’s checked:

Remove chromatic aberration

(While you’re at it, go ahead and check the Enable profile corrections box. This way, Lightroom will attempt to recognize your lens model and then compensate for any standard distortion or vignetting issues.)

After enabling the Remove chromatic aberration option, zoom in to 100% and evaluate the high contrast edges of the image. Is chromatic aberration visible? If not, you’re done – but if you can still see a CA, continue to the next step:

Step 3: Correct chromatic aberration manually

If you continued with this step, some of the chromatic aberration has probably been removed, but there are still some stubborn fringing that needs to be addressed.

Click on the Manual option within the Lens fixes sign. Then grab the eyedropper tool:

Manual correction of chromatic aberrations

And select the offending chromatic aberration:

use the eye dropper to identify chromatic aberration

You’ll see the Amount and Purple/Green Hue sliders move as Lightroom identifies and fixes the remaining chromatic aberration.

Manual removal of chromatic aberration

Finally, if you verify your image at 100% and still see CA, go ahead and move the Defringe sliders manually. Purple Hue and Green Hue sliders let you target precise fringe colors; then, as you increase the Amount sliders, Lightroom will remove the remaining bangs.

Do you remember that building image I shared at the beginning of the article? Here is the end result:

how to fix chromatic aberration in lightroom example

As you can see, the chromatic aberration is almost gone and the image seems far better.

And here is the final photo without the 100% crop:

how to correct chromatic aberration in Miami River Condos Lightroom example

What if Lightroom can’t remove all chromatic aberrations?

Lightroom’s CA removal tools are great, but sometimes you’ll run into situations where the program fails.

So what do you do then? Did you just give up?

Although Lightroom doesn’t offer much for additional chromatic aberration removal, you can still right-click the image and select Edit in Photoshop. There you can do smart blending, masking and even cloning to get rid of the remaining AC.

Edit image in Photoshop

Is chromatic aberration still a problem?

Cheaper lenses tend to produce more chromatic aberration, so the effect is associated with lower quality optics. And CA can affect edge sharpness. But is it always bad? Do you always have to remove it?

In my opinion, you can forget about deleting the CA in a few specific cases.

First of all, if you plan to convert the final image to black and white, sepia, or another monochrome look, removing chromatic aberration is totally unnecessary. The monochrome conversion will take care of the CA, and you’ll end up with a blank image. (In fact, if you can’t get rid of your CA, you should try converting the photo to black and white!)

Second, in some situations chromatic aberration can be used for creative effect. If you like freelens, for example, CA can add to that vintage-style distorted look. Sometimes bangs aren’t so bad – so if you’re ever unsure if removing CA is the right decision, try toggling Lightroom on and off Remove chromatic aberration option. And see what you prefer!

How to Fix Chromatic Aberration in Lightroom: Final Words

Now that you have completed this article, you know how to remove CA using Lightroom tools.

Go and test the process step by step on your photos. I guarantee you will be satisfied with the results!

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