Blinking in Photos – what can a photographer do…
Have you ever had an important photo marred by someone blinking in it? There are ways to nearly prevent it from occurring as the picture is taken and ways to correct it later in Photoshop if necessary.
First, why do people blink? Obviously, it’s a natural instinct to protect the eyes from bright light. Some people’s eyes are more sensitive than others to both sunlight and flash on a camera or strobe light in a studio. If you’re photographing outside, try to have your subjects face away from the sun, or put them into the shade, turn their backs to the sun, or having a deflector shade held in front of them to the side to block the sun. If the photo is taken indoors, bounce your flash off a white ceiling or wall on the side and not directly into the person’s face. That will create better shadows and a more pleasing diffused, softer light as well and certainly will eliminate red eye!
If you’re photographing a group – outside or inside – and notice that some of the members are blinking in each picture, stop and ask them if they know they are very sensitive to bright light. They may not have wanted to say anything when the photography session started. But now the whole group can work together. Tell everyone, in order to prevent blinking, that you want everyone to close their eyes. On the count of three everyone should open them – and smile! Try it a couple of times so they get the hang of it. Why this method? From observation I find that if you work quickly, this doesn’t give the eyes a chance to react and close.
But as a photographer you have a last resort if you know Photoshop, and you’ve been using a tripod while photographing the group, and have taken several shots in a row without the group moving around, and your light settings and distance have remained the same in each shot. And that is, “stealing” the open eyes of that someone who’s been blinking in almost all the other shots. Copy and paste them into the best group shot where their blinking occurred. You have to be careful with the angle of someone’s head. Hopefully they didn’t change it too much. Get familiar with the various Edit-Transform options to get it just right. I admit it. I’ve had to do it to save important shots. A wedding, a baptism, family reunion … You know there’s only ever so much time to stage these group shots while trying to make everyone happy at the same time. And when it’s over you can’t do it again. Thankfully with digital cameras you can check your work on the spot and redo quickly if you catch it. But with larger groups it’s sometimes hard to catch. So, be safe and take multiple shots as mentioned above.