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 will get red-eye. This is especially true when it is dark and the subject’s pupils are fully 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, though, if you are using the pop-up flash. Therefore, you will need to turn to the Red-eye Reduction feature.
This is a simple feature that shines a light from the camera at the subject, causing his or her pupils to shrink, thus eliminating or reducing the effects of red-eye (Figure 8.13).
This small adjustment can make a big difference in time spent post-processing. You don’t want to have to go back and remove red-eye from both eyes of every subject!
The feature is set to Off by default and needs to be turned on by using the information screen or by using a combination of the flash button and the Command dial.
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 will reduce 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 red-eye lamp while waiting for their pupils to reduce.
Turning on the Red-eye Reduction feature
- Press and hold the flash button while viewing the control panel.
- While holding the flash button, rotate the Command dial until the small eye appears in the box. This means Red-eye Reduction is on. Release the flash button.
- With Red-eye Reduction activated, compose your photo and then press the shutter release button to take the picture.
When Red-eye Reduction is activated, the camera will not fire the instant that you press the shutter release button. Instead, the red-eye reduction lamp will illuminate for a second or two and then fire the flash for the exposure. This is important to remember as people have a tendency to move around, so you will need to instruct them to hold still for a moment while the lamp works its magic.
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 image processing software or even in the camera’s retouching menu. The Nikon Picture Project software that comes with your D7000 has a feature to reduce red-eye that works really well, although only on JPEG images.