Basic Techniques

Reducing red-eye using a built-in flash

Written by Gail Bjork

Red-eye is problematic when using a tiny built-in digital camera flash because of it’s proximity to the lens. Here are some techniques to minimize, hopefully eliminate, red-eye in photos.

Unsightly red-eyeRed-eye has ruined more good shots than probably any other quirk produced by light when taking a photo. It is caused by light from a flash hitting the eyes and the light is reflected back into the lens.

Red-eye is particularly problematic when using a tiny built-in digital camera flash because of it’s proximity to the lens.

Digital cameras have a red-eye flash mode that fires a series of pre-flashes prior to the final flash. The rapid flashes cause pupils to contract and may help reduce the reflection.

Though not perfect, red-eye flash mode can help minimize the red-eye effect. When using this mode, inform your subjects since the pre-flashes may startle them and cause weird expressions on their faces.

Look towards to camera, not the flash

When using a built-in flash, have the subject look toward the camera but not directly at the lens. Don’t rely solely on the flash for illumination. Use other sources to illuminate a room such as light coming through a window or door. If you must turn on additional room lights, make sure to adjust the white balance setting.

Some digital cameras remove red-eye in the camera. However it is not always as effective so you’ll have to use an image editing program to remove it.

The most effective way to prevent red-eye is to use an external flash.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.