How to avoid or reduce red-eye

By Jakob Jelling

Photography with the aid of a digital camera is beyond doubt very fascinating. However, it also has many a nooks that the users of the digital camera must be aware of and also must be well educated to deal with in order to produce good photographs worth the most prized digital camera. Such a concept is that of the red eye! In order to understand what this red eye actually is, a little detailed introspection is necessary. Basically speaking red-eye is a function of at least three things, they are firstly, ambient level of light because stumpy light level causes the retina of the person to be photographed to open wider to admit more light thereby divulging open the iris, which is the primary part that reflects the red light hence giving the appearance of red eyes for the subjects. Also secondly the younger the person being photographed the wider remains the retina and hence the greater the effect of red eye in the picture. Thirdly, the reflection angle of the flash plays a vital role, as the light is recoiled back to the digital camera and the closer the incident light beam is to this reflected light beam, the greater becomes the red eye effect. To prevent this instruments such as flash brackets are useful to make the flash a bit removed from the propinquity of the lens. Thus the red eye effect is somewhat revealed till this part of this discussion. Now is the time to look into a greater detail in order to analyze the various aspects of the red eye effect and also find out ways of reducing the problem as far as possible.

It can be noted here that the only important thing is that the users must ensure that the proper fixing of the angle between the flash beam and the lens axis. The general rule here is that the photographer must keep the angle wide enough that the light beam from the flash does not reflect off the retina of the person being photographed and comes right back into the digital camera lens. A good idea is to make the red-eye reduction work by making the flash shine a light into the eyes of the person being photographed just before the flash is incident and the shutter is pressed. This causes the irises in the eyes of the person being photographed to narrow down or shrink. As a result of this the eye develops a smaller opening for the eye view of the digital camera and does not show off the blood filled retina. This light is called pre light! And very importantly this process works only if the person to be photographed is in point of fact looking directly at the flash for the pre-light to come.

Other factors influencing the red eye are the level of ambient light during the time when the photograph is being taken and how near the flash light is to the lens. The rule of thumb comes out that the brighter the ambient light; the lesser is the effect of red eyes, everything else being one and the same. As the flashlight goes farther from the lens, the fewer becomes the effect of red eyes, everything else being one and the same again. Thus the key idea is that red eye is not caused if the ambient light is comparatively high. And it does have a significant effect if the shooting area is dark. Many digital cameras have built in features for anti red eye that is used to reduce red eye when taking a picture of a person looking straight at the camera also. But manually, the best red eye reduction can be obtained with the help of an external flash as described.

The above discussion has dealt with the most important ideas regarding the red eye effect. The discussion has analyzed the inherent facts about the digital camera red eye effect, their causes as well as remedies. The only thing that remains is that the users must implement these ideas while shooting under circumstances discussed here so that the red eye effect cannot harm the beauties of art created with the aid of the fantastic device, the digital camera!

Jakob Jelling is the founder of Visit his digital camera guide and learn how to take better pictures with your digicam.


Back to FAQS.ORG