How To Get Rid of Red Eye In Photographs

A photograph captures intimate events precisely — so that when you look back on what happened, no one can take away the pure fact of what has been recorded. So when taking a picture, why not make everything as close to perfection as can be?

Everyone knows that not every picture is a masterpiece. Bad lighting can make even the prettiest face look gaunt and horrid. Timing is also essential. Remember the times when almost everyone in the frame had the right smile, but then one person had to break it all off because of closed eyelids? There is also the case of the blurred subject and the overexposed image. And what about red eye? It’s when the subject in the photo looks as though they came straight from hell.

When someone in the frame is giving you the red eye (unintentional, of course), it means that their eyes are reflecting the overzealous flash of your camera. This light bounces back to the lens of your gadget, creating the eerie effect of pupils that are colored red.

More often than not, taking pictures of animals can also lead to this undesired effect. Don’t worry though, it is easy to prevent red eye in both humans and your pets.

Removing the Red Eye

Sad to say not all people can be professional photographers, nor do they intend to be such. The good news is amateur photos with red eye effect can easily be dealt with.

Using your computer, you can get rid of the red color simply by editing the digital copy of your photograph. How do you do this? Of course you must upload your pictures from a digital camera. However, if you are still using the good old’ film roll, you can expose your film and scan the image to your computer with the help of a scanner. Don’t forget to choose the resolution with the greatest amount of pixels so that you’ll get high-quality prints after editing.

After transferring your image files to your computer, you can use image editing software to enhance your shots and remove the unsightly red eye. Known camera brands usually have an easy-share option with photo editing software attached. These programs are ripe with basic tools you need to cover up blemishes, as well as alter the colored areas in the eyes. If your digital does not come with this software, you can always download it from the worldwide web.

Freeware such as GiMP and Irfanview don’t cost you a cent when you go online. Usually basic operating systems of desktops and laptops have picture editing tools as well.

How to Edit the Red Eye

Different photograph-editing software has different settings for taking care of the red eye effect, but there are guidelines you should know before embarking on your task.

  1. Always save a copy of your original picture. Make multiple copies of the picture with the disastrous effect, and then choose one that you will begin your editing with. This is to allow for any mistakes in the process of removing the red eye, so that you won’t have to start all over again and scan/upload the photo you took. You can always press the x button when you don’t like what you’ve done. Or better yet, press the undo button in the program you are using.
  2. Don’t jump into highlighting the red color of the eyes just yet. It’s safer for you to zoom in first before doing anything else. This makes sure that you don’t accidentally darken the eyelids or the rest of the eye area, and blotch the entire subject.
  3. If you find the default settings unsatisfactory, you can always change the composition of your picture with the tools provided by the software. Adjust the qualities of your shot by tweaking the brightness and contrast settings. Just look around, or click the ‘Help’ option if you’re unsure of what to do.
  4. Since you are already involved in enhancing your subject’s attributes, why not complete the job and remove scars and pimples while you’re at it? Take out blemishes and even out skin tone. Crop out the portions you don’t want to include in the final work.

Preventing the Red Eye Effect

  • You can spare yourself the minutes of editing simply by taking extra precautions of avoiding red eye. For that you must follow certain rules.
  • Don’t point the flash directly at your human and animal subjects. Create a diversion by reflecting it off a surface such as the wall or the floor.
  • Be prepared to make do with ambient lighting. Flash isn’t always the best option — not only does it give a “red eye” effect. It tends to make people look like ghosts in their whiteness.
  • Use the “red eye” button of your digital camera, if it has one. The irises of the eyes are the culprits when it comes to reflecting light. What the “red eye” feature does flash your camera’s light numerous times prior to the actual shot, minimizing the irises’ effect.
  • Try a different angle other than a head-on shot. This reduces the chances of the light from your flash bouncing back.
  • Flash filters do a good job of diffusing the light from a flash camera, avoiding red eye. A DIY way of filtering the flash is by covering this light source with a white handkerchief.
  • Look out for places where you won’t need to use a flash. This makes preventing red eye simpler with just using normal settings for your camera.