What is Purple Fringing in Photography?

In photography, chromatic aberration, also known as purple fringing, is a phenomenon that takes place when there is a presence of purple or magenta-colored fringes around the edges of things, particularly in high-contrast regions.

Purple fringing may also take place when there is a presence of purple or magenta-colored fringes around the margins of objects. It is possible for it to be more evident in photographs that have bright backgrounds or those in which subjects are captured against the light.

Understanding Purple Fringing

The dispersion of light that occurs when light travels through the lens of a camera is what causes purple fringing to appear around an object. When light enters the lens, it is composed of rays of various wavelengths, and the lens elements cause the light of each wavelength to bend in a unique manner as it travels through the lens.

Because of these differences in refraction, the hues are able to be distinguished from one another, with purple and magenta fringes appearing at the margins of areas with strong contrast.

Causes of Purple Fringing

The appearance of purple fringing in images can be attributed to a number of different variables, including the following:

Lens Aberration

Chromatic aberration is more likely to occur with some lenses, such as those that are of lesser quality or cost less. Because these lenses might not have the appropriate components or coatings to compensate for color dispersion successfully, there is a greater chance that they will exhibit purple fringing.

Wide Aperture

It’s possible that using a large aperture (low f-number) will make the purple fringing worse. When the aperture is completely open, the lens exhibits the most amount of chromatic aberration that it is capable of producing.

High-Contrast Scenes

When taking photographs of settings with high contrast, such as a bright subject against a dark backdrop, the phenomenon known as “purple fringing” may become more noticeable. The impact of chromatic aberration is accentuated by the sharp contrast that exists between the bright and dark parts.

Strong Light Sources

Strong reflections and flares in the lens can be caused by bright or direct light sources like the sun or artificial lights, both of which can contribute to the appearance of purple fringing.

Impact on Image Quality

The quality of the image as a whole may suffer as a result of the presence of purple fringing. The existence of these color fringes might divert viewers’ attention and take away from the primary focal point that was intended for the shot. It is possible for the image’s sharpness and clarity to be diminished, which will result in the image being less professionally done and less aesthetically acceptable.

Minimizing Purple Fringing

Even while it might not be totally feasible to get rid of purple fringing, there are a number of strategies and procedures that might assist in reducing the likelihood of it happening:

Lens Selection

A considerable reduction in chromatic aberration and purple fringing may be achieved by making an investment in high-quality lenses that have innovative optical designs and coatings.

These lenses have been purposely designed to reduce the amount of color dispersion while preserving an exceptional level of image quality.

Shooting at Optimal Aperture

Selecting the correct aperture may make a difference in the amount of purple fringing shown in a photograph. To lessen the impact of chromatic aberration on your photos, choose a lens with a smaller aperture (a higher f-number).

However, you should be aware of diffraction, which can take place at extremely tiny apertures and has an effect on the overall sharpness of the image.

Pay Attention to Lighting Conditions

When taking images, it is essential to be conscious of the lighting conditions. When shooting, you should avoid pointing your camera straight toward bright light sources because this might generate intense reflections and increase the risk of purple fringing. You may reduce undesired light flares by adjusting the angles at which you photograph or by using a lens hood.

Use Post-Processing Software

The appearance of purple fringing in your photographs can be improved with the use of post-processing procedures. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom are both examples of software programs that include functions that are purposefully designed to correct chromatic aberration. You may improve the quality of the image as a whole as well as adjust color fringes using these tools.

Shoot in RAW Format

When you shoot in RAW format, more information about the acquired image is saved on the camera’s memory card. This gives you more freedom when it comes to post-processing the image. RAW files have the ability to better fix purple fringing and other optical flaws, in addition to having more data to work with.

Post-Processing Techniques

There are a few different approaches that may be used during post-processing to reduce the appearance of purple fringing:

Lens Profile Corrections

Numerous apps for post-processing software contain built-in lens profiles that automatically correct chromatic aberration, such as purple fringing. Make sure that the lens profile corrections are turned on so that you may lessen or get rid of these color fringes.

Manual Color Correction

You may manually repair purple fringing if the software that you are using does not have a particular lens profile for your equipment. To accomplish this, modify the hue, saturation, and brightness values of the regions that are being impacted. It is important to prevent oversaturating or undersaturating the colors while taking care to preserve a natural appearance.

Selective Edits

It’s possible that the purple fringing will only appear in particular parts of the image in some instances. Make use of the tools available for selective editing to zero in on the problem areas and make the necessary adjustments without impacting the remainder of the photograph.

Camera Settings for Reducing Purple Fringing

Consider modifying your camera to the following settings to reduce the appearance of purple fringing:

Stop Down the Aperture

As was discussed before, employing a smaller aperture (a higher f-number) is one way to assist in mitigating chromatic aberration. Try out a few different aperture settings to discover the one that achieves the best compromise between a shallow depth of focus and a reduced amount of purple fringing.

Enable Lens Corrections

Some cameras come equipped with their own built-in lens-correcting functions. If you want chromatic aberration and other lens-related faults to be automatically corrected, you need to enable these options.

Shoot in Burst Mode

It’s possible to reduce the appearance of purple fringing by taking numerous frames in rapid succession like you would when using the burst mode on your camera. You can improve your chances of getting an image with less fringing if you take a number of images in quick succession.

Lens Selection and Quality

To reduce the appearance of purple fringing, it is essential to choose lenses of good quality. Premium lenses are manufactured with technologically superior optics and coatings, which work together to cut down on chromatic aberration significantly. To obtain the highest possible image quality, it is necessary to conduct research and choose lenses that are well-known for their exceptional optical performance.

The Role of Aperture

The aperture setting is one of the most important factors to consider when attempting to control purple fringing. Chromatic aberration is more likely to occur with wider apertures, which have lower f-numbers, but the effect of chromatic aberration can be mitigated by using narrower apertures, which have higher f-numbers.

It is crucial, however, to strike a balance between achieving the correct depth of field and reducing the appearance of purple fringing.

Lighting Conditions and Purple Fringing

There is a clear correlation between the lighting conditions and the appearance of purple fringing. Amplification of chromatic aberration can occur when photographing situations with great contrast or while shooting against bright light sources.

You may lessen the effect of purple fringing by adjusting the angles at which you photograph, employing diffusers, or waiting for lighting circumstances that are more favorable.

Filters and Purple Fringing

When using filters, such as UV filters or polarizers, extra optical components can be introduced into the image, which may lead to the appearance of purple fringing.

The likelihood of chromatic aberration being produced is increased when using filters of a lower grade or when stacking numerous filters. If you are going to use filters, you should choose ones of high quality that have been mainly intended to reduce the amount of color fringing.

Purple Fringing in Different Photography Genres

Purple fringing is a phenomenon that can appear in a variety of photographic subgenres, including portraiture, landscape, and macro photography. Suppose you are able to predict it and deal with it successfully, thanks to your understanding of how it emerges in different settings.

Be aware of regions with solid contrast, backlighting, and the general lighting conditions that are particular to the genre that you have chosen to photograph.

Real-World Examples

In order to better understand the significance of purple fringing, let’s have a look at a few samples taken from the actual world:

Example 1:

As a result of the strong contrast between the black subject and the light backdrop in a landscape shot, you may see purple fringing along the branches of the tree. This is because the dark subject stands out against the brilliant sky.

Example 2:

When a portrait is taken using a lens that is prone to chromatic aberration, it is possible to see purple fringing at the margins of the person’s hair or clothes when the subject is positioned against a bright background. This occurs most often when the subject is close to the camera.

Common Myths About Purple Fringing

Myth 1: Purple fringing is only caused by low-quality lenses.

The reality is that although lenses of poorer quality may be more prone to chromatic aberration, even lenses of higher grade are capable of displaying purple fringing under certain situations. Aperture, lighting, and shooting angles are some of the other factors that come into play.

Myth 2: Purple fringing cannot be fixed in post-processing.

The phenomenon known as “purple fringing” may frequently be reduced or eliminated in post-processing by making use of specific specialist software tools. Correcting the lens profile, making manual changes, and using selective editing methods are some of the ways that purple fringing may be reduced or eliminated.

Myth 3: Purple fringing is always undesirable.

In spite of the fact that purple fringing is often seen as a visual defect, there are some photographers who will purposefully include it in their photos in order to give them a surreal or artistic look. In the end, everything boils down to the perspective and goals of the photographer.


In photography, the phenomenon known as “purple fringing,” sometimes known as “chromatic aberration,” can be an unpleasant occurrence that degrades image quality and distracts viewers. The overall quality of your images may be considerably improved by gaining an understanding of the factors that contribute to it and implementing strategies to mitigate its effects.

Some of these strategies include utilizing lenses of high quality, altering the settings on your camera, and making repairs in post-processing.


Q. Does purple fringing only occur with purple color?
A. No, purple fringing can manifest as purple or magenta-colored fringes, but it can also appear as other colors, such as green or blue, depending on the specific optical properties of the lens and the wavelengths of light involved.
Q. Are all lenses prone to purple fringing?
A. No, the susceptibility to purple fringing varies among lenses. Higher-quality lenses with advanced optical designs and coatings are specifically engineered to minimize chromatic aberration and reduce the occurrence of purple fringing.
Q. Can I completely eliminate purple fringing from my photos?
A. While it may not be entirely possible to eliminate purple fringing, following best practices, such as using high-quality lenses, shooting at optimal apertures, and employing post-processing techniques, can significantly reduce its visibility and impact on image quality.
Q. Are there any camera settings that can help prevent purple fringing?
A. Adjusting the aperture, enabling lens corrections, and shooting in burst mode can all contribute to minimizing purple fringing.

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