How To

How to Skillfully Remove Chromatic Aberration in Lightroom: A Defringe Tutorial

intensity landscape photography

Chromatic aberration, often seen as a colorful halo around objects in photographs, compromises image quality by making edges appear out of focus due to the lens’s failure to converge different color wavelengths at the same point. This optical phenomenon, commonly referred to as chromatic aberration lightroom within editing circles, can mar even the most meticulously composed shots, signaling the need for post-production correction. Interestingly, shooting in RAW format and understanding what chromatic aberration is lays the groundwork for easier removal or correction in software like Lightroom, where tools such as defringe Lightroom play a crucial role.

This tutorial aims to guide photographers on how to skillfully remove chromatic aberration in Lightroom, focusing on utilizing the defringe tool among other features for an optimized editing process. It covers a step-by-step approach, from preparing your image and navigating to the Lens Correction Panel to engaging manual corrections and using the defringe eyedropper tool. This comprehensive walkthrough not only details how to remove chromatic aberration in Lightroom but also dives into what does defringe do in Lightroom, providing a clear pathway to refurbishing images to their pristine, intended quality.

Understanding Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration, commonly known as color fringing, manifests as an unwanted outline of color along the edges of objects within a photograph. This optical issue arises from the camera lens’s inability to bring all wavelengths of color to the same focal convergence point.

Types of Chromatic Aberration

There are primarily two types of chromatic aberration:

  1. Longitudinal (Axial) Chromatic Aberration: This occurs when different colors of light focus at different distances from the lens, leading to a color spread that affects the entire image.
  2. Lateral (Transverse) Chromatic Aberration: This type appears as different colors focusing at different points along the same plane, visible as distinct color edges along high-contrast boundaries.

Causes of Chromatic Aberration

  • Lens Dispersion: Different wavelengths of light travel at different speeds through the lens due to the varying refractive indices of glass, making it challenging for some lenses to focus every hue accurately onto the same focal plane.
  • Lens Design Flaws: Defects or imperfections in the lens design can exacerbate chromatic aberration, particularly noticeable at extreme focal lengths or wide apertures.
  • High Contrast Scenes: Scenes with high contrast, especially where bright and dark regions intersect, are more susceptible to chromatic aberration.

Impact on Image Quality

Chromatic aberration can significantly detract from the sharpness and clarity of images, rendering them less professional and polished. It is particularly evident along metallic surfaces and in areas with sharp contrast transitions, such as a dark object against a bright sky.

Minimizing Chromatic Aberration

Several strategies can help minimize the occurrence of chromatic aberration:

  • Avoid High-Contrast Settings: Where possible, avoid shooting in environments with high contrast between colors and brightness.
  • Adjust Camera Settings: Modifying aperture settings or changing focal lengths can reduce the visibility of chromatic aberrations.
  • Post-Processing: Software like Lightroom offers tools to correct or reduce chromatic aberration, including the ‘Defringe’ tool which allows for manual adjustments of purple and green hues.

Chromatic Aberration as an Artistic Tool

Interestingly, while often unwanted, chromatic aberration can be utilized creatively to add a unique effect to photographs or videos, giving them an intentional artistic flair.

By understanding these aspects of chromatic aberration, photographers can better manage and correct this common lens issue, enhancing the overall quality of their photos. This knowledge also serves as a foundation for effectively using tools like defringe in Lightroom to make precise corrections.

use dropper tool to correct chro

Preparing Your Image in Lightroom

To begin editing your photo in Lightroom, start by selecting your image from the Library module. Once selected, click on “Develop” located at the top of the screen to switch to the Develop module. This module provides a comprehensive set of tools for enhancing your photo.

Step-by-Step Image Preparation

  1. Adjust Brightness and Color:
    • For automatic adjustments, click “Auto” in the Basic panel.
    • Manually adjust the Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Clarity, Contrast, Vibrance, Temp, and Tint sliders to fine-tune your image.
  2. Undo Adjustments:
    • If you need to revert an adjustment, select “Edit > Undo” or use shortcut keys: Control+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (MacOS).
  3. Review Adjustment History:
    • The History panel records every adjustment, allowing you to revert the image to any previous state if needed.
  4. Lens Corrections:
    • Apply lens corrections to automatically remove chromatic aberration and correct lens distortions.
  5. Transform and Crop:
    • Use the Transform tab to correct vertical lines and adjust the image framing by cropping as necessary.
  6. Exposure and Color Adjustments:
    • Fine-tune exposure settings including white balance and image profile.
    • Adjust Hue, Saturation, and Luminance in the Color Mixer to achieve the desired color tones.
    • Use the Calibration tab to fine-tune color balance, adjusting the hues and saturation of blue, green, and red.
  7. Targeted Adjustments with Masking:
    • Employ masking to make adjustments to specific areas of the image without affecting others.
    • Apply linear and radial gradients to modify clarity, blacks, temperature, and tint in targeted areas.
    • Intersect masks with color ranges to focus adjustments on specific colors.
  8. Advanced Color and Tone Adjustments:
    • Utilize split toning to enhance color balance across highlights, midtones, and shadows.
    • Ensure skin tones are natural by keeping brightness within the 70 to 80 percent range when adjusting exposure.
  9. Detail Enhancement:
    • In the Details tab, apply sharpening by adjusting the radius, detail, masking, and amount to optimize image sharpness.
  10. Final Tweaks with Curves:
    • Perform curves adjustments at the end of your editing process to ensure that all fine-tune tweaks are cohesive.

Practical Tips

  • Avoid Over-Adjustment: Be cautious with saturation settings; typically, a setting between +10 and +15 is sufficient.
  • Before and After Comparison: To compare the edited image with the original, hold the backslash key during the editing process.
  • Prevent Chromatic Aberration: Shoot in RAW and use high-quality lenses to minimize chromatic aberration. Avoid high-contrast areas and optimize your camera settings to reduce the need for extensive post-processing.

By following these steps and tips, you can prepare your image in Lightroom effectively, setting a solid foundation for further detailed editing and ensuring the highest quality outcome for your photography projects.


Navigating to Lens Correction Panel

To access the Lens Correction Panel in Lightroom, which is essential for correcting lens distortions and chromatic aberration, follow these steps:

Accessing the Lens Correction Panel

  1. Open the Develop Module: Start by selecting the image you wish to edit from the Library module and switch to the Develop module by clicking on ‘Develop’ at the top of the screen.
  2. Locate the Panel: In the Develop module, scroll down until you find the Lens Corrections panel. Ensure that the panel is fully expanded to reveal all available settings.

Understanding the Panel Sections

The Lens Correction Panel is divided into two main tabs: Profile and Manual. Each serves a specific purpose in the lens correction process:

  • Profile Tab:
    • Remove Chromatic Aberration: Automatically removes color fringing in the photo.
    • Enable Profile Corrections: Corrects lens distortions such as barrel or pincushion distortion, and vignetting, which are dark corners surrounding the photo.
  • Manual Tab:
    • Offers more precise control over distortion, defringing, and vignetting adjustments.
    • Defringing Section: Includes an eyedropper tool for selecting specific colors affected by chromatic aberration.
    • Vignetting Section: Adjusts the brightness around the edges of the photo.

Applying Corrections

  • Automatic Corrections: For quick adjustments, use the Profile tab. Simply check the boxes for ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’ and ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ to apply automatic fixes based on the lens profile.
  • Manual Adjustments: If the automatic corrections are not sufficient or if you are using an older or less common lens, switch to the Manual tab. Here, you can manually adjust the distortion, defringe specific colors using the eyedropper tool, and modify the vignette settings.

Saving Settings as a Preset

For efficiency, especially when working with multiple images from the same lens, you can save your correction settings as a preset:

  • Create a Preset: After adjusting one image, click on the ‘Presets’ panel on the left side, then select ‘Create Preset’. Name your preset and ensure that Lens Corrections are checked.
  • Apply During Import: You can also apply this preset to future imports by selecting it under ‘Develop Settings’ in the Apply During Import section of the import dialog.

By familiarizing yourself with both the Profile and Manual sections of the Lens Correction Panel, you can effectively manage and correct lens distortions and chromatic aberrations, enhancing the overall quality of your images.

How to spot and fix chromatic ab

Automatic Chromatic Aberration Removal

Removing Chromatic Aberration Automatically in Lightroom

Lightroom offers a straightforward solution for removing chromatic aberration automatically. This feature is accessible in both Lightroom Classic and Lightroom Cloud versions, ensuring that users across different platforms can benefit from it. Below are detailed steps to activate this feature and ensure your images are free from unwanted color fringing.

Step-by-Step Guide to Automatic Removal

  1. Open the Develop Module:
    • Begin by selecting your image in the Library module.
    • Switch to the Develop module by clicking on ‘Develop’ at the top of the screen.
  2. Navigate to the Lens Corrections Panel:
    • Scroll down to find the Lens Corrections panel.
    • Expand the panel to view all available settings.
  3. Enable Chromatic Aberration Removal:
    • Click on the ‘Profile’ tab within the Lens Corrections panel.
    • Locate and check the ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’ checkbox. This action enables Lightroom to automatically adjust and remove obvious chromatic aberrations.

Points to Remember

  • Effectiveness: While this feature quickly fixes some fringing, it may not remove all chromatic aberrations, especially in complex images or those with severe aberrations.
  • Additional Adjustments: For residual aberrations, manual corrections may be necessary, which can be done in the ‘Manual’ tab of the Lens Corrections panel.

Applying Automatic Corrections Upon Import

Lightroom also allows for chromatic aberration to be removed automatically upon importing images:

  • During Import: In the import dialog, under the ‘Apply During Import’ section, select a develop setting preset that includes ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’.
  • Create and Apply Presets: If frequently importing images from the same lens, consider creating and applying a custom preset that includes chromatic aberration removal for efficiency.

By setting up your Lightroom environment to automatically handle chromatic aberration, you can streamline your post-processing workflow and ensure consistently higher quality outputs without the need for extensive manual corrections.

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Engaging Manual Lens Correction

Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom

Lightroom’s Manual Lens Correction panel offers comprehensive tools to correct lens distortions, defringe, and adjust vignetting, giving photographers complete control over the final image quality. Here’s how to effectively use these manual correction features:

Step 1: Access the Manual Lens Correction Panel

  1. Open the Develop module by selecting your image in the Library and clicking on ‘Develop’ at the top of the screen.
  2. Scroll down to locate the Lens Corrections panel and switch to the ‘Manual’ tab.

Step 2: Correcting Lens Distortion

  • Adjust Distortion: Manually adjust the distortion slider to correct any barrel or pincushion distortion that wasn’t fixed by the lens profile. This is particularly useful for images where automatic corrections do not suffice.

Step 3: Manual Defringe Adjustments

  • Adjust Purple/Green Fringes: Use the amount sliders for purple and green in the Defringe section. Slide them until the fringing is no longer visible.
  • Fine-Tune Hue Range: If fringes persist, fine-tune by adjusting the Hue range sliders to better match the fringe color, expanding the color range if necessary.

Step 4: Using the Eyedropper Tool

  • Select Chromatic Aberration: Zoom in to 100% and use the eyedropper tool to select areas with noticeable purple or green chromatic aberration.
  • Adjust Sliders: Modify the Amount and Hue sliders for purple and green to reduce the chromatic aberration effectively.

Step 5: Address Vignetting

  • Adjust Vignetting: If your image shows dark corners, use the vignetting sliders to adjust the brightness and midpoint, which can help in achieving a more evenly lit image.

Practical Tips for Manual Corrections

  • Check Entire Image: After making adjustments, review the entire image to ensure that no new issues have been introduced.
  • Avoid Overcorrection: Be cautious with slider adjustments to prevent creating unnatural image effects, such as grey fringing.
  • Create Presets for Reuse: If you find a set of adjustments that work well, consider saving these settings as a preset for future use, though be mindful that presets might not be universally applicable across all images.

By mastering these manual controls in Lightroom’s Lens Correction panel, photographers can achieve a higher level of precision in their post-processing, ensuring that their images are free from common optical issues and are presented at their best.

Using the Defringe Eyedropper Tool

The Defringe Eyedropper Tool in Lightroom is a precise instrument designed to target and eliminate specific chromatic aberrations, such as purple and green fringes, that occur in areas of high contrast. This tool is particularly useful when dealing with backlighting situations where these color distortions are most apparent. Here’s how to effectively use the Defringe Eyedropper Tool to enhance the quality of your images:

Step-by-Step Guide to Using the Defringe Eyedropper Tool

  1. Activate the Eyedropper Tool:
    • In the Develop module, locate the Lens Corrections panel and switch to the ‘Manual’ tab.
    • Find the Defringe section and click on the Eyedropper tool icon.
  2. Selecting the Fringe for Correction:
    • Move your cursor over the image to the area where the chromatic aberration is visible.
    • Click on the specific purple or green fringe that you wish to remove. This action allows Lightroom to sample the color and initiate the correction process.
  3. Repeat for Different Fringes:
    • If there are multiple areas with chromatic aberrations, or if both purple and green fringes are present, repeat the selection process for each color fringe.
    • Adjust the Amount sliders if necessary to fine-tune the removal of the fringes.

Effective Tips for Using the Eyedropper Tool

  • Zoom In for Precision: Before selecting the fringe, zoom into the image to ensure precise selection of the aberration.
  • Adjust Hue and Amount: After selecting the fringe with the Eyedropper, you might need to manually adjust the Hue and Amount sliders to fully neutralize the fringe.
  • Check for Overcorrection: Be cautious of overcorrection which might lead to desaturation of nearby colors. Always review the corrected areas at different zoom levels.

By following these steps, photographers can utilize the Defringe Eyedropper Tool in Lightroom to specifically target and eliminate unwanted color fringes, thereby enhancing the overall visual quality of their images. This tool provides a focused approach to correcting chromatic aberrations, complementing the broader adjustments available in the Lens Corrections panel.

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Adjusting Defringe Sliders

Step-by-Step Adjustment of Defringe Sliders

When using the Defringe tool in Lightroom to remove chromatic aberration, precise adjustments are crucial to ensure the best results without affecting the overall color integrity of the image. Follow these steps to manually adjust the Defringe sliders effectively:

  1. Zoom In for Detailed Viewing:
    • Ensure that you are viewing your image at a 1:1 ratio. This zoom level allows for accurate assessment and adjustment, as recommended by experts in the field.
  2. Access the Manual Tab:
    • Navigate to the Lens Corrections panel in the Develop module and select the ‘Manual’ tab to find the Defringe controls.
  3. Adjusting Purple and Green Hue Sliders:
    • Begin with the Purple Hue slider if the chromatic aberration appears purple. Adjust the slider until the purple fringe is minimized.
    • Similarly, adjust the Green Hue slider if there is a green fringe. Move the slider until the green aberration is effectively reduced.
  4. Fine-Tune Hue Range:
    • If the initial adjustments do not completely remove the fringing, fine-tune the settings by adjusting the Hue range sliders. This helps to target the specific color causing the issue more precisely.
  5. Check for Overcorrection:
    • Be vigilant about overcorrecting, which can lead to desaturation of colors near the corrected area. Adjust the Amount sliders carefully to avoid this issue.
  6. Reassess the Entire Image:
    • After adjustments, review other parts of the image to ensure no new issues have been introduced by the changes in Defringe settings.

Practical Tips for Using Defringe Sliders

  • Avoid Excessive Adjustments: It’s crucial to make subtle changes to avoid affecting the overall color balance of the image.
  • Regularly Toggle Views: Switch between different zoom levels to see how the adjustments affect the image both up close and in the overall view.
  • Use the Eyedropper Tool for Precision: If available, use the Eyedropper tool to select exact colors that need defringing for more targeted adjustments.

By following these guidelines, photographers can effectively use the Defringe sliders in Lightroom to enhance image quality by removing unwanted chromatic aberrations without compromising the integrity of the original colors.

Selecting More Colors for Correction

To further refine the color correction in your images using Lightroom, the Defringe slider provides additional flexibility beyond the basic HSL adjustments. This tool is especially useful when working with the local adjustment brush, linear gradient, or radial gradient panels, allowing for targeted corrections on more specific color ranges. Here’s how to effectively utilize this feature:

Step-by-Step Guide to Using the Defringe Slider for Color Correction

  1. Choose Your Correction Tool:
    • Decide whether to use the local adjustment brush, linear gradient, or radial gradient based on the area and nature of the color correction needed.
  2. Activate the Defringe Slider:
    • Within your chosen tool, locate the Defringe slider. This may be under a different tab or dropdown depending on your version of Lightroom.
  3. Select the Color to Correct:
    • Adjust the Defringe slider to target the specific color you wish to correct. You might need to experiment with slight movements to see which setting best eliminates the unwanted color.
  4. Fine-Tune the Adjustment:
    • After selecting the initial color, refine your adjustments to ensure that the correction blends seamlessly with the rest of the image without affecting other colors.

Practical Tips for Enhanced Color Correction

  • Preview Adjustments: Always toggle the preview on and off to compare the corrected image with the original. This helps in assessing the effectiveness of the color corrections.
  • Adjust Gradually: Move the Defringe slider gradually to avoid overcorrection, which can lead to unnatural-looking images.
  • Use the Zoom Feature: Zoom into the area you are correcting to ensure precise adjustments, especially when working with small or detailed areas.

By incorporating the use of the Defringe slider in various local adjustment tools, photographers can achieve a higher degree of control over color correction, enhancing the overall quality and appearance of their images in Lightroom.

Finalizing and Exporting Your Edited Image

Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting Your Edited Image

After meticulous adjustments and corrections, including chromatic aberration removal, the final step in your Lightroom workflow is exporting the edited images. Here’s a detailed process to ensure your images are exported correctly and efficiently:

  1. Selecting Images for Export:
    • In Lightroom Classic, navigate to the Grid view in the Library module.
    • Select the images you wish to export.
  2. Opening the Export Dialog Box:
    • Choose ‘File’ > ‘Export’ from the top menu.
    • This action opens the Export dialog box where you can specify various export settings.
  3. Setting Export Preferences:
    • Export Location: Choose where to save the exported files, such as a computer, external hard drive, or directly to a cloud storage.
    • File Naming: Rename the files if necessary to maintain organization or meet specific naming conventions.
    • File Settings: Select the image format (e.g., JPEG, TIFF), set the quality, and choose the color space.
    • Image Sizing: Specify dimensions and resolution, particularly important if the images are intended for print or specific digital platforms.
    • Output Sharpening: Apply sharpening suited for the image’s intended use, such as screen or print.
  4. Additional Settings:
    • Metadata: Choose how much metadata to include with your exported files.
    • Watermarking: Add a watermark if needed to protect your images.
    • Post-Processing: Set any actions to be performed after export, like opening in another program.
  5. Using Export Presets:
    • For recurring export settings, save your preferences as a preset for future use.
    • Select an existing preset to apply previously used settings quickly.
  6. Executing Multiple Export Jobs:
    • From Lightroom Classic version 9.0 onwards, execute multiple export jobs simultaneously for the same set of images, enhancing workflow efficiency.

Checking Final Image Quality

  • Review Exported Images: After exporting, open and review a few of the exported images to ensure all corrections including chromatic aberration removal have been applied correctly.
  • Ensure No Overcorrection: Double-check that the chromatic aberration corrections have not been overdone, which might affect the image’s natural look.

By following these steps and settings, you can streamline the final phase of your photography project, ensuring your images are exported with the correct adjustments and ready for any intended use, be it online publication, printing, or archiving.


Through this comprehensive guide, we’ve traversed the essential journey of recognizing, correcting, and ultimately mastering the nuances of chromatic aberration in Lightroom. The outlined steps, from initial preparation to the intricate use of the Defringe Eyedropper Tool and adjusting Defringe sliders, serve not only as a method to enhance image quality but also to elevate the photographic work to professional standards. It’s evident that understanding and applying these techniques can significantly mitigate the common lens issue of chromatic aberration, transforming potentially flawed images into polished, visually stunning pieces.

As we conclude, it becomes clear that the key to exceptional photography lies not just in the shooting technique but equally in post-production skills. The ability to skillfully navigate Lightroom’s features, particularly for chromatic aberration correction, empowers photographers to present their vision unmarred by optical distortions. Moreover, this knowledge equips photographers with the tools to refine their aesthetic, ensuring that every image they produce resonates with clarity, quality, and the intended artistic expression. Ultimately, the journey through Lightroom’s defringing capabilities underscores the importance of post-processing in achieving photographic excellence.


How can I eliminate chromatic aberration using Lightroom?

To remove chromatic aberration in Lightroom, navigate to the “Profile” tab and check the “Remove Chromatic Aberration” option. Lightroom will automatically correct any evident chromatic aberration (CA). If further adjustments are needed, switch to the “Manual” tab for more detailed control.

What are the steps to remove Defringe in Lightroom?

To remove Defringe in Lightroom, first go to the Lens Correction section and tick the “Remove Chromatic Aberration” checkbox located under the Color section of the Lens Corrections panel. Then, use the Defringe controls and sliders to identify and eliminate any remaining color distortions along edges with high contrast. You can find the Defringe icon in the Optics panel.

How do I manually eliminate chromatic aberration?

To manually eliminate chromatic aberration, click on the Defringe icon in the Optics panel. Use the Fringe Selector tool to pick out the green or purple distortions and adjust the slider to remove the fringing effect. Additionally, you can target and remove purple or green hues using the Defringe slider within the local adjustment tools such as the Brush, Linear Gradient, or Radial Gradient panels.

Is there a way to deactivate chromatic aberration?

The provided information does not include a method for turning off chromatic aberration. However, chromatic aberration is typically an unwanted effect in images that most photographers aim to correct or minimize, rather than deactivate.

Daniel Long

Daniel Long

About Author

Daniel Long, as a writer, delves into the realm of emerging technologies and business solutions, with a particular emphasis on optimizing efficiency and fostering growth. He educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and he furthered his knowledge by attaining an MBA from Chapman University. This combination of expertise allows him to offer valuable insights into the ever-evolving business landscape.

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