We’ve all seen the result of using on-camera flashes when shooting people: the dreaded red-eye! This demonic effect is the result of the light from the flash entering the pupil and then reflecting back as an eerie red glow. The closer the flash is to the lens, the greater the chance that you get red-eye. This is especially true when it is dark and the subject’s eyes are dilated. There are two ways to combat this problem. The first is to get the flash away from the lens. That’s not really an option if you’re using the built-in flash.
Turn to the Red-Eye Lamp. This is a simple feature that shines a light from the camera at the subject, causing their pupils to shrink, thus eliminating or reducing the effects of red-eye. The feature is set to Off by default and needs to be turned on in the shooting menu.
Turning on the Red-Eye Lamp
- Press the Menu button and then use the Control dial to highlight the Flash Control item. Press the Function/Set button.
You can also press the Flash button, and then press Menu to bring up the Built-in Flash Settings screen.
- Scroll down to Red-Eye Lamp and use an arrow button to turn the feature On.
- Press the Menu button twice to return to shooting mode.
Turn on the lights!
When shooting indoors, another way to reduce red-eye, or just shorten the length of time that the reduction lamp needs to be shining into your subject’s eyes, is to turn on a lot of lights. The brighter the ambient light levels, the smaller the subject’s pupils will be. This shortens the time necessary for the red-eye reduction lamp to shine. It will also allow you to take more candid pictures, because your subjects won’t be required to stare at the redeye lamp while waiting for their pupils to reduce.
Your camera also includes a Red-Eye Correction feature (found in the same Built-in Flash Settings screen), but I’m wary of it. The camera adjusts the image after it’s shot, and so other red areas of the photo could also be “corrected.”
Truth be told, I rarely shoot with red-eye reduction turned on because of the time it takes before being able to take a picture. If I am after candid shots and have to use the flash, I will take my chances on red-eye and try to fix the problem in my imageprocessing software.