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The Easy Way To Edit Red Eye Out of a Picture

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Jun 11, 2024• Proven solutions

Nothing spoils a great photo quite like the dreaded red-eye effect. This can turn a great snapshot into something spooky, with subjects looking more like classic movie monsters than their everyday selves. It's frustrating, but fortunately, you don't need to be a wizard with photo editing software to fix the issue.

Today's photo editing tools make it incredibly straightforward to edit out red eye effect. These tools are designed to pinpoint a red-eye effect in a photo and correct it with just a few taps or clicks. With this, you can bring back the true look of the eyes in your photos.

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red eye


What causes red eyes in a photo?

The red-eye effect in photographs is a common issue, particularly noticeable when using a flash in low-light conditions. Here's what happens: the camera's flash emits a brief but intense burst of light. Because this light is so sudden and bright, the pupil doesn't have time to constrict, allowing a large amount of light to penetrate the eye.

Once inside the eye, this light reaches the fundus, or the back of the eyeball, where it illuminates the choroid. This layer is rich in blood vessels and is responsible for the red eye in photo. The blood in the choroid reflects the flash's light through the pupil to the camera, which captures this red glow.

The eye also contains several pigments that absorb light at different wavelengths. For example, melanin (found in the retinal pigment epithelium and the choroid), absorbs more light at shorter wavelengths. The eye's lens typically filters out deep blue and violet light, and the macular pigment, located only in the fovea, absorbs light from 400 to 500 nm. However, these pigments do little to prevent the red eye in photo effect because blood is largely transparent at longer wavelengths but begins absorbing light sharply at around 600 nm.


Camera tips to prevent red-eye

To prevent the unwelcome red-eye effect in your photos, particularly in low-light settings, here are some practical camera tips that can help:

Light Up the Environment

When shooting in dimly lit rooms or at night, the subject's pupils have probably expanded to adjust to the low-light conditions. This makes them more prone to red-eye when the flash hits. A simple solution is to turn on more lights or increase the ambient lighting. This encourages the pupils to constrict, reducing the space through which the flash can reflect off the back of the eye.

Direct Your Subject's Gaze

Red eye in photo is most apparent when the person being photographed stares directly into the camera, allowing the flash to bounce straight back into the lens. To avoid this, ask your subject to slightly shift their gaze away from the camera lens. Even a small adjustment to the angle can prevent the red tint from cropping up in their eyes.

Use the Red-Eye Reduction Feature

Take advantage of the red-eye reduction setting available on most digital cameras. This feature pre-empts the main flash with a series of smaller flashes or a continuous light, causing the subject's pupils to shrink in anticipation of more light. When the main flash shoots, the constricted pupils minimize the red reflection.

Separate the Flash and the Lens

Red eye in photo is more likely to occur when the flash is close to the lens, a common issue with compact cameras. To mitigate this, consider attaching an external flash and positioning it some distance from the lens. Adjusting the flash's position relative to the lens changes the light's path, greatly decreasing the chances of red-eye in your photos.


How to get rid of red eyes in photos?

1. Adobe Lightroom (Best for professional photographers)

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on how to effectively edit out red eye from photos using the Red Eye Correction tool in Lightroom Classic:

Step 1 Load Your Photo in the Develop Module

Open your photo in Lightroom Classic's Develop module to access editing tools. Use the Navigator panel to zoom into the eyes at preset levels like 1:1 or 2:1. For more detail, select a higher magnification using the double arrows next to the 2:1 option.

red eye

Step 2 Activate the Red Eye Correction Tool

In the Develop panel, locate and click the Red Eye Correction tool to select either "Red Eye" for human eyes or "Pet Eye" for animal eyes.

red eye

Step 3 Apply the Correction to Each Eye

Place the cursor at the center of the eye, click, and drag to form a circle that covers the whole eye. Adjust the circle's size by dragging its edges, or move it by dragging from inside to align it properly with the eye.

red eye

Step 4 Adjust the correction area

Once the circle is correctly positioned, adjust the settings using the “sliders” in the Red Eye Correction panel. These adjustments will help you match the pupil size and the darkness, ensuring the correction looks natural within the context of the entire image. Move to the other eye and repeat the correction process.

red eye

Step 5 Finalize and Review Your Edits

After correcting both eyes, click "Done" at the bottom of your workspace to apply the changes. You can view your entire photo by selecting "Fit" or "Fill" in the Navigator panel. Inspect the image to ensure the red eye correction looks natural. You can further adjust if needed to perfect the look.

red eye


2. Adobe Photoshop (Best for advanced editing tasks)

Follow this step-by-step guide to remove red eye from photo in Adobe Photoshop:

Step 1 Open Your Photo

Start by launching Adobe Photoshop. Open the photo with the red eye issue by going to File > Open and selecting the image from your files.

red eye

Step 2 Select the Red Eye Tool

Once your photo is open, locate the Spot Healing Brush tool in the toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen. Click and hold this icon to bring up its submenu, and select the Red Eye Tool from the list.

red eye

Step 3 Apply the Red Eye Correction

Hover your cursor over to the eye with the red-eye effect. Simply click on the red portion of the pupil to apply the correction. Photoshop automatically adjusts the red tint. To fine-tune the correction, you can adjust the following settings:

  • Pupil Size: Modify this if the pupil’s size doesn’t appear natural.
  • Darken Amount: Adjust this setting to control how dark the pupil appears, ensuring it matches the overall lighting and tone of the photo.

red eye

Step 4 Review and Fine-Tune

Take a moment to review the correction. If it doesn’t look right, you can easily undo the change by pressing Ctrl + Z (or Cmd + Z for Mac users) and adjusting the settings (as needed). Repeat the process for any other affected eyes in the image.

red eye

Step 5 Save Your Edited Photo

After you’re satisfied with the corrections, it’s time to save your work. Go to File > Save As to save the edited photo.


3. Apple's Photos (Best for iOS users)

It is easy to remove red eye from photo on an iPhone thanks to the built-in Photos app. Here's how you can do it:

Step 1 Launch the Photos App

First, find the Photos app on your iPhone. It’s the one with the colorful flower-like icon. Open the app to start browsing through your photo library.

red eye

Step 2 Select Your Photo

Scroll through your photos and tap on the one you want to edit. This will bring the photo up in full view.

red eye

Step 3 Enter Edit Mode

In the top right corner of the screen, you'll see an “Edit” button. Tap this to open the editing tools available for your photo.

red eye

Step 4 Find the Red Eye Correction Tool

In the editing mode, look for an icon that resembles an eye with a diagonal line across it. This is the red eye correction tool. Tap it to activate this feature.

red eye

Step 5 Apply the Correction

With the red-eye tool active, tap on each red eye in the photo. The app automatically detects and corrects the red discoloration. If it doesn't correct it on the first try, tap again or adjust where you tap slightly until the red eye is fixed.

red eye

Once you’re satisfied with your edits, hit “Done” at the bottom right of the screen. This will save all the edits and exit the editing mode.


4. Fotor (Best for online photo editing)

Follow the below steps to edit out red eye from a picture using Fotor online:

Step 1 Upload Your Photo

First, visit the Fotor website. Click the "Remove Red Eyes Now" button to upload the photo you want to edit.

red eye

Step 2 Locate the Red-Eye Removal Tool

Once your photo is uploaded, click the "Beauty" tab in the toolbar. In the tab, you will find various tools to enhance your photo's appearance. Look for the "Red-eye Removal" tool and select it.

red eye

Step 3 Correct the Red-Eyes

Adjust the brush size of the Red-eye Removal tool to fit the red eyes in your photo. Click on each affected eye. The tool automatically detects and corrects the red color, making the eyes look natural again.

red eye

Once the red eye in the photo is corrected and you're happy with the adjustments, you can download it by selecting your preferred format and quality for the saved file.


5. PaintShop Pro (Best for Beginners)

With PaintShop Pro, you can remove red eye from photos as easily as possible. Simply follow the below steps to do that:

Step 1 Install PaintShop Pro

Begin by installing PaintShop Pro on your PC. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.

Step 2 Select the Red Eye Tool

Once you've opened your photo in PaintShop Pro, locate the Tools toolbar and select the Red Eye tool.

red eye

Step 3 Adjust the Tool Size

Navigate to the Tool Options palette. Adjust the size control of the Red Eye tool so that the pointer is roughly twice the size of the red eye you need to correct.

red eye

Step 4 Position and Apply

Zoom in on the eye if necessary for more precise control. Place the pointer directly over the red eye and click to correct it. If you need to adjust the size of the pointer, hold down the 'Alt' key and drag the Red Eye tool over the area.

red eye


6. GIMP (Best for Detailed Editing Work)

Follow the below steps to remove red eye from photo using GIMP:

Step 1 Download and Install GIMP

Download GIMP from its official website and run the downloaded file. Choose your preferred language and click "OK," then follow the on-screen instructions to install the software.

Step 2 Open Your Photo in GIMP

Once GIMP is open, load your photo by selecting "File" from the menu bar, then "Open." This will open a window where you can navigate to the desired photos. Select it and click "Open" to bring it into GIMP.

red eye

Step 3 Select the red eye effect

Select the "Ellipse Select Tool" from the Toolbox and click and drag to draw a circle around one of the pupils.

red eye

Step 4 Remove the Red Eyes

Navigate to "Filters" in the top menu, select "Enhance," and then click on "Red Eye Removal" from the dropdown options. A dialog box will appear where you can adjust the Threshold to ensure optimal red-eye correction. Confirm your settings by clicking "OK." After correcting the red eye, save your edited image.

red eye


Wrapping Up

It’s now simpler than ever to edit out red eye from photos - thanks to the various user-friendly photo editing tools we’ve explored. Whether you're using desktop software like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP or any other tool on our list, removing red eye is just a few clicks away. By following the step-by-step guides provided for each platform, you can quickly master this skill and enhance the natural beauty of your photo subjects.

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Q1: What is red-eye?

Red-eye is a common photographic effect where subjects' eyes appear bright red in photos. It typically occurs in low-light conditions when a camera's flash is used.

Q2: What causes red eyes in photos?

Red eyes in photos are caused by the camera flash illuminating the blood-rich retinas at the back of the subject's eyes. This happens often when the flash is close to the camera lens in dark environments.

Q3: How to avoid red eyes in photos?

To avoid red eye in photo, you can use ambient lighting to minimize pupil dilation, ask subjects not to look directly at the camera, use a camera with a red-eye reduction feature, or position an external flash away from the lens.

Q4: How do you remove red-eye in photos?

You can use photo editing software or apps featuring a red-eye correction tool to fix red eye. These tools typically allow you to select the affected eyes and automatically adjust the coloring to look natural.

author avatar
Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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