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Reducing Red Eye in Your Digital Photos by Using the Flash

6 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Using Your Digital Camera’s Built-In Features to Improve Your Pictures

The so-called camera red-eye problem happens when the flash reflects in the subject’s eyes, giving them a red glint. Your digital camera’s red-eye reduction mode aims to thwart this phenomenon by firing a low-power flash before the “real” flash goes off or by lighting a little lamp for a second or two prior to capturing the image.

Your digital photo’s subject can get a nasty case of red eye.
Your digital photo’s subject can get a nasty case of red eye.

The idea is that the pre-light causes the iris of the eye to shut down a little, thereby lessening the chances of a reflection when the final flash goes off.

Unfortunately, red-eye reduction on digital cameras doesn’t work very well. Often, you still wind up with fire in the eyes. Worse, your subjects sometimes think the pre-flash or -light is the real flash and start walking away just when the picture is actually being captured. So, if you shoot with red-eye mode turned on, be sure to explain to your subjects what’s going to happen.

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