We all hate it. We've auto-focused properly, took the perfect family or party snap, and wham! It's ruined by bright red eyes. Fear not, help is at hand. Most cameras today have some form of red eye reduction. On some models it takes a shot and then processes the red eyes out of the image as it saves it to the memory card, whilst on others you preview the finished photograph, select remove red eye in the menu, and the camera then does the work for you. Nearly all cameras that offer this option perform the task very well. However,  if you've an older camera, this option is not available. Windows Live Photo Gallery can do this for you, painlessly and effortlessly. Or you can set your flash for red eye reduction. However, the latter may not work so well.

Setting Your Flash.

All cameras have several flash modes. Theres an icon of a flash usually on a the D pad or a dedicated button.  Press the button and cycle through until you see an icon of a flash with either an eye, a letter R or the words Red Eye on the screen. The camera pre flashes before the main flash, to make the subject blink, thus removing red eye. However, this doesn't always work.

Red Eye Removal In Camera.

On some models, you need to set the camera for red eye removal before you take the shot. Kodak, for example, has a menu setting that asks you to choose between pre-flash or Post Processing. If you select this, then the user doesn't have to do anything, the camera automatically scans each photo for red eyes. It works best where face detection has been succesful. Other cameras have an option on the playback menu for Red Eye Removal. If you select this the photo is scanned and red eyes removed. It's similar to what Kodak does, except the user chooses whether or not to apply it. Again, some cameras work best when faces were detected.

Software Removal.

Most editing software can remove red eye. Older programmes were quite difficult to use and a little hit and miss, but today its an easy task to do. Probably one of the easiest programmes to use is Windows Live Photo Gallery, which comes with Vista and is a free add on for Windows 7.

Oops! Our subject's not very happy with the photo I took of her. Look at those red eyes. Unless I put it right I'm in the dog house. I know, I'll open Windows Live Photo Gallery to sort it. It has a rather nifty Red eye removal tool thats the easiest and best way to get rid of unwanted red eyes. Open the gallery, select your the offending photo, and select the Edit, Organize and Share option. It opens the editor. Click on the Red Eye icon in the top menu. The cursor becomes a crosshair. Hold the LEFT mouse button down and draw a small rectangle tightly around the red part of the left eye. When you release the mouse button the red part becomes black.

As you can see, the left eye now looks normal. All you have to do is repeat  the procedure on the right eye. Remember to keep the rectangle tight around the red eye. As you release the button it also changes black and looks natural.

Phew! My bacon's been saved, all thanks to a few easy mouse clicks. Credibility as a good photographer has been restored. I was also able to tweak the photo a little to give it more colour and reveal the hidden shadow detail on the settee.

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