Avoiding Red Eye and Other Camera Flash Problems

Flash is a necessary aspect of photography. As soon as natural light begins to dim, your flash can be a lifesaver. But there are a lot of drawbacks and problems that can occur when using a camera flash.

From red-eye and glare to obtrusive shadows, there a lot of camera flash problems that can ruin your favourite photos.

These are the best ways to avoid and fix red eye in photos and other common camera flash problems.

Overexposed woman

What is Red Eye?

Throw down your pitchforks, the kids are not possessed by demons! The red eye effect is when people’s eyes appear to glow red in flash photography.

This is actually a pretty common problem experienced by amateur and professional photographers alike.

Red Eye example

What Causes Red Eye in Photos?

In a low-light environment, our pupils dilate to allow more light in, much like the aperture on a camera. When your pupils are dilated, and a flash of light hits your eyes, your pupils don’t have time to constrict.

This means the flash continues through your eye and is reflected back out. The light reflected out is red because of the blood and tissue at the back of your eye. Somehow, even after it’s explained, it’s still very spooky.

Red eye isn’t all bad, while red reflexes are a sign of healthy eyes, anything different, like gold or white reflexes on a human, could mean the presence of an eye condition.

How to Avoid & Fix Red Eye

The best way to fix red eye is to avoid it in the first place. Red eye is much rarer these days even though we take more photos. This is because of the innovations in camera flashes.

Many cameras these days come with red-eye reduction technology. This technology works by sending out a couple of flashes before your camera actually takes the photo. The early flashes help to constrict the pupils of your subjects’ eyes before the main event.

Camera flash gun

You can try switching on more lights for a similar effect or try an external flash that isn’t right next to the lens.

Because red eye only happens when people are looking directly into the camera, you can also avoid red eye by asking everyone to look off to the side.

Once it has happened there are ways to fix red eye in post-production. Using a photo-editing program you can drain the colour from red eyes, returning them to black.

Programs like Adobe Photoshop have dedicated red eye tools that can identify problem killer-robot eyes and fix them for you.

Other Camera Flash Problems

Glare Caused by Flash

Glare is pretty common in photography, whether or not you are using flash. If you are having trouble with glare from a reflective surface, like a wall, window or even your subject’s glasses, there are ways to prevent it from overwhelming the photo.

You can try moving your subject or the shiny disturbance, but if this isn’t possible, try taking the photo at a different angle. You can also reduce glare with flash diffusion using a bounce flash or a diffusion cap.

Subject Out of Range of Flash

Your flash has a range on it, usually less than four and a half metres. Anyone who is further away is likely to disappear into the darkness, while people too close to the camera will be overexposed.

It’s important to plot out distances before you start snapping. Taking a few test shots at different distances will give you a good idea of what to expect from your flash.

Obtrusive Shadows

Those pesky shadows can really detract from your photo. You can fix those unwanted shadows by moving your subject away from the wall or furniture so that the shadow no longer appears in the frame.

You can also try bouncing the flash, or diffusing it. If you are planning to do a lot of portrait photography, you should invest in a studio lighting kit.

If you are looking for more helpful photography advice, you can check out the Camera House blog today. Ready to get snapping? Look no further than Camera House online store for the best deal in cameras and photography accessories.

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