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How to Remove Red Eye in Photographs

Updated on February 13, 2013
The red-eye phenomenon from flash photos makes your subjects look hideous.  Luckily, there are solutions to correct this problem.
The red-eye phenomenon from flash photos makes your subjects look hideous. Luckily, there are solutions to correct this problem. | Source

There are several ways to correct hideous flash photos that result in the "red eye" phenomenon. This problem often occurs with flash photos of people that are taken at night. In this article, I show how red eyes can be restored to black eyes, using Windows 7 and Mac OSX operating systems, as well as on Android and iOS systems for smartphone photos.

For the Windows 7 and Mac OSX applications, I also show the results of red eye correction for the photo shown to the right. Finally, I also demonstrate one of the many different programs that can be used online, where you can upload a photo and then download the corrected photo.

iPhoto Red Eye Correction

With iPhoto, you select Edit on the lower right hand corner of the screen and then select red eye correction. Then you adjust the slider to match the diameter of the pupils that you want to change. Clicking on the diameter icon above the eye will affect a change. The tool is easy to use. However, in my example photo, there are margins in one of the eyes that still have an irregular red margin. The first eye that I clicked on was fine, but the right eye didn't fully change to match the diameter that was chosen. This is a definite iPhoto fail.

If you look closely, you will see an irregular margin around the subject's right eye.  iPhoto didn't correct that well using the manual red eye correction tool.
If you look closely, you will see an irregular margin around the subject's right eye. iPhoto didn't correct that well using the manual red eye correction tool. | Source

Picassa Red Eye Editing

With Picassa, the free Google photo editing program which works on Mac and Windows systems, you pull up the photo and right click on it to get into the editing mode. Then, select the red eye correction option.

At this point, you move your cursor over to the left-hand corner of one of the eyes and trace a rectangle that covers the red pupil area. The rectangle will extend into the iris of the eye, but it needs to cover all of the red pupil. Once you release the mouse button, the red pupil will be changed to black.

This program works very good and is less complicated than iPhoto. The excellent results of the corrected photo are seen below.

The results of the red eye correction feature of Google's Picassa.
The results of the red eye correction feature of Google's Picassa. | Source

Removing Red Eye with Windows Live Gallery

The following video shows how easy it is to remove red eye for those who have Windows 7 operating systems and the included Windows Live Gallery program.

Free Online Red Eye Removal

You can also find programs online where you can upload a photo and correct for red eye. One of these programs is found on http://www.fixredeyes.com/. The file size limitation is 2 megabytes, however.

The program is simple to use - just browse your photo files on your computer, upload the desired photo and then, in the lower right hand corner, find the box that you move over each of the red eyes. After placing the boxes over each red eye you press "fix it," and the photo is fixed in a matter of seconds. The fixed photo is seen in the first picture below.

Another web site that offers free online red eye removal is Lunapic. However, the results for red eye correction are not impressive at all. See the second picture below. I only tried to change one eye, and went through two tries on that same eye. I did not do anything with the left eye, to show you the comparison. It only changed the red to a red-grey.

There are several other programs that offer a free red eye fix. Just use the search term used in this section's title, and you will find at least ten programs.

The fixed photo from www.fixredeyes.com.  Notice the blue tinge to the reflections in the center of the pupils.
The fixed photo from www.fixredeyes.com. Notice the blue tinge to the reflections in the center of the pupils. | Source
The dismal results of the Lunapic program for red eye removal.  Tests were done with only one eye.
The dismal results of the Lunapic program for red eye removal. Tests were done with only one eye. | Source

Android and iOS Apps for Removing Red Eye

Android. There is Red Eye Removal (free) and Eye Color Changer (free). Eye Color Changer can change red eyes to blue eyes too and several other options.

iOS Apps for Removing Red Eye. There is Red Eye Remover for iPads, iPhones and iPods. It sells for the modest price of 99 cents.

Preventing Red Eyes

Instead of going through the motions of fixing your red eye photos, preventing red eyes can be done by not using a flash at all. If you have a DSLR camera, setting a higher ISO will enable you to take photos in low light situations, eliminating the need for a flash. Some of the more sophisticated cameras can take high resolution photos at ISO settings up to 3200 and 6400. Check the specifications of your camera to see at which ISO setting your resolution will drop dramatically.

Another way to prevent red eye is to use a flash at an angle. The red eye is caused by the bounce of light that occurs when the flash is front of the subject. Off-camera flash equipment is more on the professional side, and it provides a more professional result. Try this if your camera has this option and if you are serious about portrait photography.

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    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Or drinking......or both!

    • Randy M. profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy McLaughlin 

      6 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      Funny, removing red eye from friends who have red eye before - what were they smoking?

    • kikalina profile image

      kikalina 

      6 years ago from Europe

      I always wondered how to do it!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Now if you could just come up with some equally helpful hints for removing red eye from my many friends who seem to have it BEFORE the picture is taken, that would be great!

      Good hub my friend

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