PHOTO TIP #5 - Red Eye Relief!
There's nothing more frustrating than having to fix a dozen pictures for red-eye before you email them or print them off. Not that it can't be done, but the image editing software doesn't always do it perfectly, and I prefer to save time by getting it right the first time. Red eye, however can be tricky to eliminate depending on your camera.
In layman's terms: The reason red-eye happens in pictures is that a person's retinas dilate (get bigger) in low light situations, and expose more of the iris (the part of the eye that reflects the red light). The bright flash goes into the eye and is bounced back into the camera lens.
Here are some ways to deal with the problem:
IF YOU HAVE A CAMERA THAT WILL TAKE AN EXTERNAL FLASH (an external flash is one that is not part of the camera itself but can be attached to it), the best thing you can do is buy one, and a doohickey called a BRACKET to go along with it. A bracket is a metal bar that attaches to your camera and flash in such a way as to hold the flash high above the camera lens. This changes the angle of the light bouncing and essentially eliminates the red eye problem in most cases. In fact, this is probably my favourite camera accessory combo. Indoor pictures go from being mediocre at best, to beautiful. Eyes are essential to a good picture in my opinion. See diagram (excuse my poor drawings... lol)
For a picture of a bracket and flash, click HERE (but don't let the price throw you... I bought a bracket for $40.. the flash will be more... check around. If you like good pics, its a good investment.)
IF YOU HAVE A CAMERA THAT WILL NOT TAKE AN EXTERNAL FLASH, use the red-eye reduction setting. It will emit a pre-flash designed to cause your subject's retinas to shrink (due to the bright light), thereby reducing the amount of red light that bounces back into the lens and onto your picture. ********TIP******* This works best if the subject is looking directly at the flash for the pre-flash light.
The flash is your friend. Use it often. Lighting is key to photography. (more on the flash later...)
Finally, open a window-blind or turn on a light. Increase the amount of light in the location you are shooting in. More light, smaller retinas.