This is a photograph that I have shot outdoors. As you can notice there is a blue glow around the borders of the photo.

I want to know why this happens and how I can remove it. I use a Nikon d7200.
This photo is ISO 400, shutter speed 1/1250, and f 4.0.

enter image description here


No, this is not chromatic abberation, as others seem to think. Chromatic aberration is a real phenomenon, but not the dominant one here.

The background is grossly overexposed. Lenses aren't perfect, and some small fraction of light that is supposed to be focused on a point ends up in other places. Even if the lens by itself were perfect, a little bit of dust on the lens, and light bouncing around inside the camera will cause some bleeding of the focused image.

Normally this is invisible since the fraction of light that bleeds to elsewhere is very small. The tiny bit of additional light that gets to a pixel by bleeding from elsewhere is swamped by the light that is focused there as intended.

The difference in this case is that the background was so overexposed that the small fraction of background bleeding to nearby pixels is now significant relative to the light from the intended subject for those pixels. The background light was probably blueish purple (sky, perhaps?) relative to whatever was illuminating the much darker forground subject.

To convince yourself this is not chromatic aberration, look closely at the highlights in the jewelry. You do see some haze around each highlight, but that haze doesn't seem to have a particular color. It seems to be the same color as the highlight, just spread out a little. This points to a "soft" lens, or perhaps dust or a thin greasy layer on the front of the lens.

I got a similar effect once by accident by wiping the front of the lens with a cloth that had previously picked up sunscreen off my skin. Unfortunately, this was back in the film days, and I didn't realize what had happened until much later. Inspecting the lens uncovered the thin grease layer on the front, and cleaning it carefully fixed the problem.

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    This. One of the diagnostic properties of chromatic abberation is that if it shows a blue fringe on a high contrast edge where the bright side is toward the outside of the lens it will show a red fringe on high contrast edges where the bright side is toward the center of the lens. And this image shows no such corresponding structures. – dmckee Dec 9 '17 at 21:18
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    +1 This. As someone who suffers badly from chromatic aberration with glasses, I can tell you immediately this is not (and nothing like) chromatic aberration. – R.. Dec 9 '17 at 22:18
  • Is bleeding guaranteed to be equal for all colours? Could it be the background actually is white and the blue colour just happened to bleed more? – kasperd Dec 10 '17 at 15:56
  • @Kas: Bleeding is usually pretty color-neutral. Light bouncing around between elements of a lens can have a color cast due to lens coatings, although interior elements are often not coated. Color fringes due to the lens not focusing each color the same is color aberration, not bleeding. Basically, the lens then acts like a prism. You will see different colors in different directions or in different rings around bright points. – Olin Lathrop Dec 10 '17 at 16:34
  • Background looks a lot like the sky. Could this be UV? – transistor09 Dec 10 '17 at 20:28

One of the problems is blooming, and it depends much more on your light and lens than on your camera model.

enter image description here

If you want a white background, it should be overexposed just enough to not have any detail. If you overexpose more, it will "bleed" onto your model reduce constrast and add unwanted colors.

The crop also shows purple fringing. It would be interesting to look at other parts of the picture with a different focus in order to be sure.

You already lost some information in the picture but you can try to increase contrast and reduce saturation around the model to get a somewhat cleaner picture.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • It's chromatic aberration, which is why it depends on the lens. Blooming is a sensor effect that causes washed-out colours near high-contrast borders, giving almost the opposite of the vivid colour bands seen in the question image. – David Richerby Dec 10 '17 at 13:47
  • @DavidRicherby: Sensor blooming is a different problem. In OP's case, the effect would also appear with a perfect lens (see the explanation in the wiki link). The severe lack of contrast is consistent with the description of blooming. The colour bands might be from a blueish backlight. You cannot see any color in the background because the 3 RGB channels are clipping, you can clearly see the blue colour over her black hair, though. – Eric Duminil Dec 10 '17 at 14:02
  • @DavidRicherby: I edited the answer to mention that it's not the only cause. – Eric Duminil Dec 10 '17 at 14:10
  • "The colour bands might be from a blueish backlight." The photo was taken outdoors so this seems unlikely. And the colour bands look exactly like chromatic aberration. Sure, we can't rule out some more exotic cause but I really wouldn't look beyond CA. – David Richerby Dec 10 '17 at 16:21
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    @DavidRicherby: What colour is the sky? ;) – Eric Duminil Dec 10 '17 at 17:00

This is chromatic aberration. You can use many methods to remove them. For example, in Photoshop:

  1. Photoshop raw conversion (if you have RAW, of course): after opening file, choose "Lens Corrections" tab, find "Chromatic Aberration", then use sliders "Fix Red / Cyan Fringe" and "Fix Blue / Yellow Fringe".

  2. You have not RAW or other reasons. Photoshop has filter "Lens Correction". The basis is the same as in point 1: the same sliders and the same approach.

  3. Create in Photoshop a new copy of your current layer. Then apply Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian blur with the strenght of 4-6px. Then press right button of your mouse on your layer copy, choose Blending Options and then Colour.

Other photo applications have similar approaches and filters.

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    Even though it's not actually chromatic aberration, fixing it with filters designed to remove coloured fringing probably still works well, so upvoted. – Peter Cordes Dec 10 '17 at 14:08

The camera lens works by projecting an image of the outside world on the surface of film or digital image sensor. The image is formed by the fact that the lens causes light rays from the subject to change their path. The revised path traces out the shape of a cone of light. We call this action refraction, Latin for to turn inward.

All lenses are plagued by the fact that each color is refracted differently. This is due to the fact that each color has a different wavelength. Violet, with the shortest wave length focuses closer to the lens followed by green, yellow, orange and lastly red. Now image size is a function of the distance from the lens. What happens is, each color forms an image that is slightly different in size. The red image is minutely larger and the violet image is a tiny bit smaller. This results in rainbow-like fringe seen to surround the borders of objects. Technically, this is called longitudinal chromatic aberration.

The English amateur optician Chester Hall, in 1729 made an optical system that mitigated chromatic aberration. He combined a strong positive (convex) lens with a weak negative (concave) lens. Since both display opposite chromatic aberrations, the result is near cancellation. This configuration is called an achromatic (Latin: without color). Today’s cameras and telescopes are spinoffs of his design.

The goal of the lens maker is a “faithful image”. This is yet to be achieved.

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