How many times have you taken a photo with the flash and come back with something like this?
Red eyes might be fashionable for Halloween, but I don’t know of anyone who wants to be remembered with blood-red eyes. So we’ve either got to avoid red eyes or correct them. Just the other night, after taking pictures at a night time wedding, CandyMan asked why a few of his dancing pictures had such hideous red eyes. He was curious why the red-eye effect happened, and I figured a few of you might be wondering as well.
It’s relatively easy to correct the red-eye effect in your post-processing routine, but it’s always better to start with something good. I typically only have problems with red eye when using my little point and shoot. Most photo processing programs have a handy red eye tool. If the red eye tool doesn’t do the job, another quick trick is to convert the photo to black and white.
Why do eyes turn red in pictures?
The red-eye effect occurs in photographs in low light when the flash is very close to the lens. Because the flash of light occurs too fast for the pupil to close, a lot of that light from the flash passes through the pupil and reflects off the fundus (at the back of the eye) and out again through the pupil. The main reason that the camera records this as red is because there is so much blood located behind the retina.
Kind of gross, isn’t it?
How can I avoid red-eye?
- Use a bounce flash, ie: point your flash away from the subject so that it is bouncing off the ceiling or a wall. This ensures that only diffused flash light enters the eye.
- The closer your flash is to the lens, the more likely you will be to catch some red eyes. That’s why point and shoot cameras are more likely to have the problem than SLRs, whose lenses pop up further away from the lens.
- Shoot flash pictures from an angle, rather than looking straight into the subject’s eyes (have the subject look away from the camera lens).
- Take your pictures without flash. You can increase the lighting in the room, open the lens aperture, increase your ISO, or reduce the shutter speed to accomodate.
- You can still use the flash indoors by increasing the lighting in the room so that the subject’s pupils are more constricted.
- Use the red-eye reduction function in your camera. Red-eye reduction lets off a series of short, low-power flashes, or a continuous piercing bright light triggering the iris to contract before the actual flash goes off and the picture is taken.
- Having the subject look away from the camera lens.
What photo trick or technique would you like to learn about next?
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