Tutorial: How to Eliminate Red-eye in Your Photos

This tutorial has been created for an older version of Zoner Photo Studio. However, you can still follow its instructions in the latest Zoner Photo Studio X.

The simple way is: don’t use your camera’s internal flash! But that’s not the advice you came for, so let’s take a look at how to easily eliminate red-eye in your photos.

What is Red-eye? How Can I Prevent It?

Let’s start with a little theory. The red-eye effect occurs when a strong light source (e.g. an internal flash) enters the eye at nearly the same angle as your camera lens, hits the pupil quickly before it can contract to stop the light, and thus bounces back out of the eyes into the camera lens.

There are many ways to prevent red-eye:
1) Use pre-flash (red eye prevention) in your camera.
2) Add natural light—the subject’s pupils will close, preventing red-eye.
3) Put the light source further from the camera lens.
4) Make the subject look away from the camera.

Fixing Red-eye using Zoner Photo Studio

Let’s have a look at a typical red eye effect and how to fix it. A big thank you to my office-mate Aja for being the test subject! Because this picture was taken in a dark room, her pupils are open, so her retinas are reflecting the light from the flash.

To correct the red-eye, we first open our photograph in Zoner Photo Studio’s Editor and activate the Red Eye Reduction tool (shortcut R).

The tool starts out in its Automatic mode, which does not offer many choices—but is simple to use. The cursor changes to a crosshairs, for easy targeting. We target the red spaces in the eyes. Two things happen immediately—the red eye is repaired, and Zoner Photo Studio lets us know that we can still change settings without starting over:

Now that we know, we click “Don't show this again” and start tweaking options on the right-hand Side Panel.

Tolerance sets how wide a range of red shades is recognized as red-eye.
There is usually no need to change this. Use a low Darken value to soften the effect, preventing unnatural-looking pitch black pixels in the eyes. Blur can fade the correction at its edges, and Extent can widen the area covered by the correction.

Here, we’ve slightly extended the auto-selected area and actually raised the darkening a little. Click and drag the slider below to see the eyes before and after our correction.

Recommended for Children, Drunks, and Animals

Red-eye only happens when a subject’s pupils contract slowly, and so photos of children and of people under the influence are especially prone to this effect. But pets’ eyes suffer too—think about how animal eyes glow in the night when you’re on the road. The same thing happens when you try to take picture of them with your flash.

ZPS can fix animal eyes, too—just switch the Red Eye Reduction tool’s Mode to Remove White Eye and then repeat the process.