Understanding Purple Fringing in Photography

In the larger category of the chromatic aberrations within photography, the purple fringing could be a particular problem. It is typically seen as undesirable purple outlines on the high contrast objects in your photos like leaves against a sky that has been blown out. This article will go over an in-depth look at what causes purple flecks and how to minimize its effects on your photographs.

Where Do You See Purple Fringing?

The purple fringing is evident when you look at high-contrast areas of photos. In my landscapes it’s always noticeable in the most detailed areas, such as the branches of trees versus a bright blue sky.

NIKON D810 + 16-35mm f/4 @ 19mm, ISO 500, 1/20, f/4.0

The purple fringing doesn’t just appear unnatural, but it also causes a variety issues when editing. It makes selecting subject more difficult and may hinder placing HDR brackets. It also makes sharpening processes more difficult because this halo of purple may easily be over-exaggerated without sharpening.

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 14mm, ISO 64, 1/100, f/7.1

What Causes Purple Fringing?

In fact, there’s many possible causes of purple fringing. Moreover, sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly is creating the fringing in an image. I’ll discuss some of the most important explanations below for purple fringing.

1. Common (Not Fully Satisfactory) Explanations

The most common explanation is that purple-colored fringing is result of “blooming,” where overexposed pixels tend to overflow onto nearby pixels, and unexpected colors resultant. While this may be a real issue but it’s more apparent on older CCD sensors as compared to modern CMO sensors. Therefore, it’s not the sole reason behind the purple fringing that appears in your images.

The explanations I’ve heard are all over the place and sometimes differ from one another. Some photographers believe that the purple fringing is caused by UV light, infrared lights reflections from the microlenses of the sensor or a miss-take when showing edges that are overexposed in photos. The majority of these causes are not the cause of the purple fringing and none is the primary reason in the majority of photos.

2. Lateral Chromatic Aberrations

The majority of the purple fringe that you notice today is due to an lateral chromatic aberration caused by your lens. These are similar to the optical aberrations can cause red, yellow or blue lines at the corner of the picture.

As illustrated In our guide on chromatic aberration as we have seen, different wavelengths of light may pass through a lens before refocusing on the image sensor in slightly different angles. Lateral chromatic aberration occurs when the light’s wavelengths do not align exactly on the image sensor, leading to sharp, high-contrast portions of the photograph, particularly in the corners. This causes the photo to give the classic blue/red color fringe look.


Similar effects could cause purple fringing even on an lens that has excellent optical aberration corrections. It’s because the conditions that cause purple fringing that is, for example, the contrast of a dark object (like an acorn) against a bright object (like a sky that has been blown out) can massively magnify the lens’s aberrations. Even a properly corrected lens can display some purple halos in these instances, usually throughout the entire image, not just around the corners.

3. Longitudinal Chromatic Aberrations

Another method of obtaining purple fringing is by using a lens that has powerful chromatic aberrations along the longitudinal line (AKA purple and green color fringes in areas that are not focus). The objects directly in direct view of subjects are able to pick the purple fringes while the background is able to pick up green.


Therefore, if something within your photograph is bright in addition to being somewhat in front of the focal point the purple fringes are likely appear on most lenses. For instance, in astrophotography it’s typical to see purple fringes around stars if you’ve aimed on the subject too much.

The image is aimed slightly beyond infinity, which is why there is a purple halo that surrounds the stars

4. Digital Processing

In addition, purple fringing may be enhanced through digital processing. Although many lenses – especially quick and poorly corrected models can produce a tiny portion of the purple as a default but post-processing may make it more evident.

It’s a lot of reliant on the image, however I’ve observed that highlight recovery to be one of the more popular adjustments that can increase the purple fringing, and also make it more saturated. Additionally vibrance and saturation also play an important role, particularly when you’re making specific changes to saturation that are specific to the blue/purple hues in the image (such for instance, making use of the Lightroom HSL Panel).

As you can see, the reason of purple fringing can differ between photos. However, it usually appears in the same circumstances as dark foliage against a blow-out sky. Most important is to learn how to eliminate the purple fringing whenever you notice it, or even prevent it from happening in the first place. That is the subject I’ll be discussing next.

What Can Be Done About Purple Fringing?

1. Lens Design

Since the chromatic aberrations cause optical problem, naturally, an alternative optical design can solve the issue. In lens design, the use of low dispersion glass components can result in lesser fringing.

Lenses that correct for two wavelengths are referred to as achromatic. While lenses for photography that are designed to be highly corrected for green, red, or blue light wavelengths is described as apochromatic. These lenses are able to block the chromatic aberrations that cause purple fringing.

But, even with the best lens, it’s not guaranteed to be perfect. For one thing it’s true that the “apochromatic” (or “APO” label isn’t managed by an official agency however, there are low-level chromatic aberrations that are present on nearly all lenses. (Unfortunately like we’ve mentioned earlier the low-level chromatic aberrations which are usually invisible could be the reason behind the purple-colored fringing.)

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 14mm, ISO 64, 1/125, f/8.0

Certain types of lens are much more susceptible to issues with optics than other. In general, low-cost zoom lenses and primes with fast aperture lenses have a tendency to exhibit more chromatic aberrations and could be more susceptible to problems with purple fringing. I’ve also seen extreme purple fringing when using inferior UV filters in dim lighting.

In short, by choosing the highest quality lens you can use – and on certain lenses, adjusting to apertures that have less chromatic aberration you’ll lessen the impact of purple streaks in your photographs. What if you’ve snapped a picture that shows purple fringing? In this scenario, the best option is to fix it post-processing.

2. Editing

If you came to this post via Google most likely due to a picture with a purple-colored fringing and you’re looking to remove the. The solution is right here! The latest photo editing software available of almost all companies includes chromatic aberration corrections and even specifically designed purple fringing corrections that will eliminate the problem quite quickly.

For the remainder of this piece I’ll go over the procedure to eliminate purple fringing from Lightroom and Photoshop both of which are the two most used post-processing software. If you’re using other editing program it is likely that you will find similar tools for removing the purple fringing. The procedure is typically similar.

Removing Fringing in Lightroom

In Lightroom the entire set of options to address purple fringing can be found within the Lens Corrections panel. In the beginning you can try the single-click checkbox “Remove Chromatic Aberrations,” under the “Profile” subheading. Based on the lens you are using and the support offered by Lightroom’s profile feature in this regard, it could dramatically minimize or even eliminate the problem.


Particularly problematic cases but they aren’t able to be handled by automatic corrections. You’ll have to intervene manually.

In Lightroom the most efficient method of making adjustments to the purple fringing manually is to click on”Manual” as the “Manual” subheading and select the eye dropper. All you have to do is click on the purple fringing in the photo, and Lightroom will then automatically reduce edges of that hue.


You can further fine-tune Lightroom’s corrections using the sliders located in the “Defringe” section that you can view above. The tools within Lightroom are designed to correct both green and purple fringes, but it is generally the most noticeable in the majority of photographs. Be careful not to overload your “Amount” slider since it can result in an extreme correction.

To summarize, Lightroom makes it easy to target purple fringing using automated profiles and single-click targeting manual. Both choices will be able to do the job almost all the times. If you’re working with a complex photo, or are having issues with these tools Don’t be afraid to switch to Photoshop.


Removing Fringing in Photoshop

In Photoshop In Photoshop – particularly Adobe Camera Raw, or the associated Filter the fundamentals for the process are identical. When you are looking through the Camera Raw filter options, look for Defringe under the heading “Optics. You’ll also can use an eyedropper available; just make sure you focus on the image to make sure you get a clear view of the fringe in purple. Photoshop might warn you that you’ve made an incorrect choice by stating that it’s too neutral. If you’re in that situation, test a different location or zoom further to ensure you’re picking the fringe.


The advantage of applying this adjustment using Photoshop is that you are able to apply it to particular areas of the image because of the layer masking. To make more complicated adjustment to the color of fringing the procedure I use is to start the picture in Photoshop and then duplicate the layer applying the Camera Raw Filter on the layer above, then apply radical purple fringing corrections, remove the filter and apply the black layer mask, making the corrections invisibly. After that, you can selectively paint the mask of the layer with white (with an easy brush) to apply the correction to the problematic regions within the picture.


NIKON D810 + 16-35mm f/4 @ 16mm, ISO 64, 1/60, f/8.0500

Purple fringing could be one of the most difficult optical issues. In contrast to vignetting it’s not typically solved by altering the aperture. Unlike other chromatic aberrations, this one is more specific, making the automatic adjustments more challenging. This isn’t a problem that’s difficult to solve however. With high-quality lenses, avoiding low-quality UV filters, and acquiring the tools for post-processing, you can drastically minimize the effect of purple fringing appearing on your photos.