The family photographer's worst enemy.
How many of your favorite family holiday pictures have been ruined by the red eyed monster? Red eye is a common problem for almost any photographer who uses a flash.
Luckily, red-eye is caused by very predictable circumstances and can be easily avoided with a little bit of careful preparation.
What Causes Red-Eye? Essentially red eye is caused by the light reflecting off the inside of the person's pupil and back to the camera.
To better understand how this works, you have to first understand how the pupil of a person's eye works.
The pupil is the part of the eye that expands and contracts to let in different amounts of light to enter the eye.
This helps your eyes to adjust to bright days or low light situations such as taking a walk by moonlight.
So, when a picture is taken with a flash in low light, the pupil can't close fast enough to block the light, so the flash reflects all the way on the back of the eye and shoots back at the camera.
This is also why you see spots when someone flashes a camera at you.
How to Avoid Red-Eye The easiest way to avoid red eye in the first place is to avoid situations where you have to use a flash in low light.
However if you can't avoid it, you can use photo editing software to remove the red eye- it just takes time to remove it especially if you have a lot of pictures to do.
So, if you want to save yourself some time by using photo editing software, here are some things you can do in order to avoid the dreaded red eye.
First, use an external flash unit that isn't situated directly on the front of your camera.
Changing the angle of the flash will change the angle of its reflection, and will often help to reduce or eliminate the effects of red-eye.
One way to do this is to hold your external flash off to the side or, even better, use a standalone flash unit that is hooked to your camera.
The next thing you want to do is turn the lights on.
If your subjects are in a well lit area, their pupils will decrease in size to adjust for the light.
This will significantly reduce the chance of having red eye in your picture.
Just turning the lights on, will also likely eliminate the need for using a flash and will get rid of your chances of having a stack of red-eyed pictures.
Whenever possible, just skip using the flash.
Natural light is more flattering for your subjects in most cases, and not every photograph needs a flash.
By learning to work with the light you have, you'll not only avoid red eye more often, you'll also make your photographs look even better.
Flash is a tool to be used when you need it, but is by no means a requirement in good photographs.
Finally, if you absolutely must use the flash, try picking up a digital camera with "red-eye reduction.
" These cameras are designed to have the flash go off multiple times when you hit the shutter button to help minimize the chance of red eye.
These preliminary flashes allow the pupils of your subjects to close and will help prevent or minimize red-eye in your photographs.
It's worth noting, however, that this feature is in no way foolproof.
Red-eye is seen by many as a necessary evil of flash photography, when in fact it can be avoided in almost any lighting situation.
With just a little preparation and an understanding of the causes of red eye, you can easily avoid this "red eyed monster" and end up with great looking pictures.
Just stop and think before you shoot and you'll forever get rid red-eye out of your pictures.