How to Remove Red-Eye in Your Photos for Free

Last Updated on Mar. 8, 2024 – by David Morgan
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Fixing Red-Eye

Have you ever taken a photo of a friend or loved one, only to realize that their eyes look red in the image? If so, you’ve fallen victim to the red-eye effect.

The red-eye effect can draw viewers’ attention away from the beauty in your photo and make you look like an amateur photographer. Thankfully, you can easily prevent this effect from occurring by following a few simple steps before taking your picture.

However, if you’ve already taken an image and noticed red eyes in the subjects, you’ll need to use an editing program to fix red-eye in post-production. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to use the PhotoDirector app on your PC or Mac or the YouCam Makeup app on iOS and Android devices to remove red-eye.

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Continue reading to learn how to remove red-eye from pictures.

What Causes Red-Eyes in Photos?

The first step in preventing and correcting red-eye is understanding why red-eye occurs. Here’s a quick explanation:

Your pupils get larger in dark rooms to allow more light to pass through, making it easier to identify your surroundings. Adding a bright light into the mix, such as a camera flash, causes your widened pupils to absorb as much light as possible.

When you take a photo of someone in a dark room using the flash setting, a bright light passes out of the camera and into the person’s eye through their pupil. Because the pupil is already expanded in the dark room, the person’s eye can take in a significant amount of light from the camera.

The light from the flash then reflects off the fundus in the back of the person’s eye, which contains the blood that nourishes the eyeball. As a result, the camera captures the blood behind the pupil, creating the appearance of a red glow in front of the eyes in the photo.

Effective Ways to Prevent Red-Eyes in Your Images

Once you understand why the red-eye effect occurs, you can also begin to understand effective ways to prevent this effect from showing up in your photos. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to avoid red-eye:

  • Turn on a light: When you take photos in a dark room or outside at night, your subject’s pupils have likely expanded to accommodate the dark setting. Turning on a light can give the pupils a better chance of constricting when you take a photo with the camera flash, leaving less room for light to bounce off the fundus and appear red.
  • Ask your subject to avoid looking directly at the camera: Red-eye is most noticeable when a person is looking directly at the camera, as the light from the flash can reflect directly back to the camera. Instead, asking them to look to the right or left of the camera can change the reflection angle, preventing the red color from appearing over the eyes.
  • Use the red-eye reduction setting: Many digital cameras come with a red-eye reduction setting that you can turn on to minimize red-eye. This setting sends the flash twice, giving the subject’s pupils time to constrict before sending the second flash and taking the photo. As a result, less light can get into the pupils, reducing the red reflection.
  • Separate the lens and the flash: Red-eye is most noticeable on cameras that have the lens very close to the flash, such as compact cameras. If you’re using a camera with an external flash, you can try moving the flash away from the lens to change the reflection angle.

If you have followed these steps and still notice red-eye in your photos, it may be easiest to remove the red-eye in post-production rather than trying to prevent it.

How to Remove Red-Eye on Windows and Mac

If you’ve already taken a photo and later noticed that the subject’s eyes appear red, don’t worry You can easily remove this effect using a photo editing program on your computer.

Numerous editing programs have built-in features that allow you to remove red-eye with the touch of a button. However, some programs leave a fake, pixelated appearance behind, making it clear that you doctored the photo. Others fail to remove the red-eye fully, leaving a slight red glow behind.

If you’re looking for a reliable photo editing program to get rid of red eyes and perform a range of other high-quality edits on your photos, we recommend PhotoDirector. This desktop program features numerous professional-level tools and effects that you can use to enhance your photography.

PhotoDirector is easy to navigate, even if you have never used a photo editor before. You can follow these steps to remove red-eye from your photo with PhotoDirector:

  1. Download PhotoDirector: Your first step is to download the PhotoDirector desktop program. You can download the program for free here.
  2. Open the program and upload your photo: Next, open the PhotoDirector program and import the images you would like to edit. You can upload as many images into your library as you would like, then edit them one at a time.
  3. Navigate to “Adjustment” then click “Manual”: The red-eye adjustment tool is a manual tool. To locate this effect, click the “Adjustment” tab, then select “Manual.”
  4. Select the remove red-eye tools: You should see a small icon resembling a red eye under the “Regional Adjustment Tools” section. Hovering over this icon will reveal its label, “remove red-eye.” Click this tool to begin removing the red-eye in your photo.
  5. PhotoDirector - Red-eye Remover
  6. Select the center of the eye: Once you select the red-eye removal tool, you’ll need to specify the area you would like to correct. Click the pupil area of the first eye and drag your mouse to resize the circle to fit just the pupil.
  7. PhotoDirector - Red-eye Remover Tool
  8. Let PhotoDirector automatically fix the eye: PhotoDirector includes an automatic red-eye correction feature. Selecting your eye will allow the program to detect the red-eye and automatically replace it with a natural-looking eye.
  9. Darken the pupil if necessary: You can also manually assist the automatic correction feature if necessary. For example, if you would like to darken the pupil color slightly, you can do so by dragging the “Darken” slider.
  10. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for the other eye: Once you’re happy with the first eye, you can move on to correcting the second eye in your photo.
  11. Click “Done”: Once you’ve made all of your corrections, click “Done” to close the red-eye correction panel.
  12. Save and export your photo: You can export your photo in various file types, including JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PHI, and RAW formats.
  13. Comparison of Red Eye Removal of PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector’s red-eye removal tool is highly intuitive, taking most of the work out of removing red-eye from your photos. This tool automatically detects red shades in the selected area, then replaces these shades with realistic eye colors.

You can also use the program’s adjustment tools to make a range of other corrections to your photos. For example, you can remove spots, imperfections, and blemishes within your models, crop unwanted portions of the image, and apply gradual adjustments using a gradient mask.

Once you become familiar with these editing tools, you’ll be able to make professional-level alterations to your photos in seconds.

How to Remove Red-Eye on iOS and Android

If you prefer to edit your photos on a smartphone or tablet, you can use the YouCam Makeup app rather than the PhotoDirector desktop program. YouCam Makeup is a virtual makeover app. This app allows you to perform a range of beauty touch-ups, enhancements, and corrections from your mobile device.

Many people find the YouCam Makeup app easier to use and less intimidating than a desktop program. This makeover app is incredibly easy to navigate, requiring no previous editing knowledge or experience.

YouCam Makeup also includes an impressive selection of touch-up and makeover tools, allowing you to complete all of your photo adjustments in a single app. Using simple AI-powered tools and effects, you can alter makeup, face shape, hair, skin, eyebrows, and numerous other features in this app.

Additionally, this app makes removing red-eye from photos quick and easy. YouCam Makeup features an automatic red-eye removal tool that detects red eyes within your image and replaces them with the touch of a button.

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For Android and iOS devices

Here’s how to remove red-eye on iPhone and Android devices with YouCam Makeup:

  1. Download YouCam Makeup: You can download the YouCam Makeup app in the Apple and Google Play app stores.
  2. Click “Photo Makeup”: YouCam Makeup includes a range of touch-up and beauty effects. To locate the red-eye tool, begin by clicking “Photo Makeup.”
  3. Choose your photo: Next, open the photo you would like to edit in the YouCam Makeup app.
  4. Tap “Eye”, then select “Red-Eye”: Now, you can navigate to the red-eye tool. You can find this tool by clicking the “Eye” option, then scrolling over to “Red-Eye.”
  5. YouCam - Eye Touch Up
  6. Toggle the red-eye remover: Finally, toggle the button at the bottom of the page to remove the red-eyes from your photo. YouCam Makeup can automatically detect the redness in your subject’s eyes and replace it with the natural eye color.
  7. YouCam - Red-eye Revover

Once you finish correcting the red-eye in the photo, you can move on to using the other eye-editing tools in the YouCam Makeup app. For example, you can brighten the eyes by clicking “Brighten” and adjusting the slider. If you’d like to remove a double-eyelid appearance, you can do so with the automatic double-eyelid remover tool.

You can also change the color of the eyes with the touch of a button. Simply click “Eye Color” in the “Retouch” toolbar, then choose from dozens of realistic and abstract eye colors. Tapping your desired color will automatically replace the eye color within your photo.

We recommend spending some time playing around with all of the eye-editing tools until you achieve your desired effect. Once you’re satisfied, you can export your photo directly to Instagram or Facebook or download it to your camera roll.

5 Other Touch-up Tools You Should Know About

Along with the red-eye remover tool, PhotoDirector includes several other impressive touch-up tools that you can use to remove imperfections in your photos and create a cleaner, more precise appearance. Here are five other touch-up tools you should know about within PhotoDirector.

1. Face Shaper

PhotoDirector’s Face Shaper tool allows you to alter the face shapes within your photos. This feature can make a face look more symmetrical or create a more whimsical appearance.

To use the Face Shaper tool:

  1. Click the “Guided” tab in the PhotoDirector desktop program.
  2. Click “People Beautifier,” then “Face Tools.”
  3. Adjust the feature points of the face and use the “Strength” slider to change the face shape.

PhotoDirector can save you time by automatically detecting the faces within your photos, then confining the face effects to these areas.

To learn more about face shaper check out 3 Best Face Editor Tools for Photo Touch-Ups.

2. Wrinkle Remover

The Wrinkle Remover tool can eliminate wrinkles from the faces within your photo.

  1. Click the “Guided” tab in the PhotoDirector desktop program.
  2. Click “People Beautifier,” then “Face Tools.”
  3. Select the Wrinkle Remover tool.
  4. Use the brush to choose the face area you would like to smoothen.
  5. Adjust the “Size” slider to alter the effect’s area.

3. Teeth Whitening

The Teeth Whitening tool allows you to whiten the teeth within your photo. You can find this tool under the “Face Tools” tab.

  1. Click the teeth whitening brush.
  2. Adjust the size, feather, and strength of brush.
  3. Drag your mouse over the teeth to begin whitening them.

You can also select “Fit to edges” to allow PhotoDirector to detect the edges of the teeth and limit your brushstrokes within these areas.

For a more in-depth guide check out How to Whiten Teeth in a Photo for Free.

4. Skin Smoother

You can use the Skin Smoother tool to eliminate bumps, wrinkles, and other blemishes from faces within your photo. This tool is located under the “Skin Tools” tab.

  1. Select the brush.
  2. Adjust the size, feather, and strength of the brush to your liking.
  3. Drag your mouse over the areas you want to smooth.

You can also move the sliders for “Smoothness” and “Detail” to fine-tune the effect.

For more information on skin smoothing check out 3 Tips to Touch Up Photos.

5. Body Shaper

Finally, the Body Shaper tools allow you to reshape people and objects within your photo. This toolset includes the Distortion tool, Mesh tool, and Manual Mesh tool.

The Distortion tool allows you to warp areas of the picture to change the shape of the objects near the warp. Meanwhile, the Mesh tools enable you to create a mesh grid that you can use to reshape objects.

Best Red-Eye Remover Free Download

Noticing red-eye in photos can be frustrating. However, you can typically avoid this effect by preventing the flash in your image from bouncing directly back from the subject’s eyes. Brightening the room and asking the subject to look slightly away from the camera can usually resolve the red-eye problem.

Additionally, you can easily remove red-eye effects with free apps like PhotoDirector and YouCam Makeup. These programs utilize automatic red-eye detection features to select the red-eye within your photos and replace it with natural eye colors.

Even better, these programs also feature numerous other touch-up tools, allowing you to complete all of your photo editing within a single program. You can quickly master these tools and create studio-quality edits, even if you have never used a photo editor before.

Download PhotoDirector and YouCam Makeup today to test out their impressive features yourself.

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Red-Eye Removal FAQs

What Is Red-Eye?

Red-eye is an effect that often occurs in flash photography when the camera flash reflects the blood in the back of the eye. As a result, the people within the photo appear to have red eyes.

This effect is especially noticeable when taking photos in dark rooms. The pupils naturally expand in the dark, allowing more light to enter the eye and reflect to the camera.

Additionally, the less melanin a person has in their eye, the stronger the red-eye effect. For example, people with light skin and blue eyes have low melanin levels, allowing the blood in the back of their eyes to reflect more strongly with the camera flash.

What Features Should I Look for in a Red-Eye Remover?

Dozens of photo editing apps contain red-eye corrector tools. However, some of these apps are easier to use and more effective than others. As you search for a tool to correct red-eye, we recommend looking for these features:

  1. Automatic red-eye correction
  2. Manual red-eye eraser brush
  3. Slider adjustments
  4. An easy-to-navigate interface
  5. Numerous beauty and touch-up tools
  6. A range of file export options

What Are the Best Apps for Photo Editing on iOS and Android?

If you take photos often, you’ll want to have a high-quality photo editing app on your phone that you can use to edit pictures quickly before posting them to social media. Here are our choices for the best photo editing apps for iOS and Android:

  1. PhotoDirector
  2. Pixlr
  3. PicsArt
  4. Snapseed
  5. Adobe Photoshop Camera
  6. Werble
  7. Canva

What Are the Best Programs for Photo Editing on Windows and Mac?

Sometimes, it makes more sense to edit photos on your computer rather than on your phone. Desktop editing programs typically allow for more precision and higher-level editing than photo editor apps.

Here are our top programs for photo editing on Windows and Mac:

  1. PhotoDirector
  2. Gimp
  3. Corel Paintshop Pro
  4. Skylum Luminar 4
  5. Adobe Lightroom Photo Editor
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