Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes

Started Apr 10, 2007 | Discussions
sansin
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Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
Apr 10, 2007

Hello

We were recently blessed with a beautiful baby girl.

In my newfound enthusiasm, I have been happily snapping away indoor pictures of the baby with the flash on at full power. Some of these pictures showed the baby with red-eye due to the flash. When I forwarded the snaps to my family, a relative who is a physician, said that camera flash can damage baby's eyes.

Can camera flash really cause eye damage to a baby's eyes? Has anybody heard of this?

Would appreciate any feedback.

DDBazooka
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to sansin, Apr 11, 2007

On a newborn? Even if it DIDN'T, I wouldn't take the risk.

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Richard Crowe
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Better way and better pictures also...
In reply to sansin, Apr 11, 2007

I wouldn't doubt that direct flash might hurt baby's eyes. Try firing a flash at yourself from the approximate distance that you usually shoot a baby! Pretty hard on the old blinkers!

I NEVER use direct flash on babies or puppies... In fact, I ALMOST NEVER use direct flash at all.

I am sure that bounced flash would be safer for the little one's eyes because they would not be receiving a burst of light from a point source. They would be receiving diffused lighting from a large source.

An added value to bounce flash is that almost any picture lit with flash will look better if the flash has been bounced in some way.

I don't mean to be wishy-washy about this but, direct flash really sucks!

If your camera cannot handle bounce flash (as many P&S cannot) try diffusing your flash some way - with a piece or two of kleenex or some other diffusion material taped over the flash. Nowhere as good as bounce flash but better than straight-on bare flash.

It's for reasons like this that DSLR cameras really shine. However, there are P&S cameras which can use an accessory flash. My wife's older Olympus 5050Z has a hot shoe. There are inexpensive accessory flash units which will allow you to bounce your flash.

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udaman
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to sansin, Apr 11, 2007

I have used those Micro Soft box attachments for Shoe mounted flash. Like from Apollo. With good results with infants.

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newsshooterjim
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to sansin, Apr 11, 2007

Don't think I'd risk it, especially if it's a full sized flash.

One note, I read an article once by a pediatrician who is also a photographer. He'd taken a few photos of his neighbors child- a few months old at the time, and noticed that, in every one, he had red eye in one eye, but not in the other eye, which had a grey reflection

A check by an opthalmologist showed that the other eye had a cataract.

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RickS
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to newsshooterjim, Apr 11, 2007

Ah, a new diagnostic aid. I wonder if insurance covered it?

Rick

newsshooterjim wrote:

Don't think I'd risk it, especially if it's a full sized flash.

One note, I read an article once by a pediatrician who is also a
photographer. He'd taken a few photos of his neighbors child- a
few months old at the time, and noticed that, in every one, he had
red eye in one eye, but not in the other eye, which had a grey
reflection

A check by an opthalmologist showed that the other eye had a cataract.

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BobTrips
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to sansin, Apr 11, 2007

sansin wrote:

Hello

We were recently blessed with a beautiful baby girl.

In my newfound enthusiasm, I have been happily snapping away indoor
pictures of the baby with the flash on at full power. Some of these
pictures showed the baby with red-eye due to the flash. When I
forwarded the snaps to my family, a relative who is a physician,
said that camera flash can damage baby's eyes.

Can camera flash really cause eye damage to a baby's eyes? Has
anybody heard of this?

Would appreciate any feedback.

My guess would be no. But there's no reason that you should run a test using your child.

Others have given you some alternative ways to get the shot.

Just a point about red-eye and infants. Their pupils (if I remember correctly) don't close down as rapidly as do those of older children/adults.

That means that those flashes that fire pre-shot bursts in an attempt to avoid red-eye won't be successful with infants.

I'd go for a camera with good low light ability (such as one of the Fujis or a dSLR) and get some nice natural light shots.

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mamallama
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to BobTrips, Apr 11, 2007

BobTrips wrote:

I'd go for a camera with good low light ability (such as one of the
Fujis or a dSLR) and get some nice natural light shots.

You don't need to keep the newborn in low light. Just normal daytime room light near a window is enough light to get pleasing pictures with most digital cameras. Moreover with such light the modelling on the face is more natural than with a blast from a flash, even bounced flash, coming from straight on.

Those have been my most treasured images of babies less than 3 months old.

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mamallama

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nickleback
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to sansin, Apr 11, 2007

sansin wrote:

Can camera flash really cause eye damage to a baby's eyes?

No. Would you believe an ophthalmic surgeon?

http://www.doctorndtv.com/FAQ/detailfaq.asp?id=6852

FWIW, I asked a friend who is a pediatric ophthamologist, he had the same answer.

However, as others have pointed out, direct flash should be avoided for aesthetic reasons, unless you really like the deer-in-headlights look.

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sansin
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to mamallama, Apr 12, 2007

Unfortunately, photo-ops also come up at night, and some of our best photo-ops happened at the time of mid-night feedlng.

I do want to invest in a good DSLR in the near future.

mamallama wrote:

BobTrips wrote:

I'd go for a camera with good low light ability (such as one of the
Fujis or a dSLR) and get some nice natural light shots.

You don't need to keep the newborn in low light. Just normal
daytime room light near a window is enough light to get pleasing
pictures with most digital cameras. Moreover with such light the
modelling on the face is more natural than with a blast from a
flash, even bounced flash, coming from straight on.

Those have been my most treasured images of babies less than 3
months old.

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mamallama

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mamallama
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to sansin, Apr 12, 2007

sansin wrote:

Unfortunately, photo-ops also come up at night, and some of our
best photo-ops happened at the time of mid-night feedlng.

Feeding in a rocking chair (or any chair) with a nearby lamp is enough light and, without a blast from a flash, you retain the feelings of the room. Even the warm yellowish glow from the lamp adds to the feeling. Some recent cameras with good performance at ISO 400 and 800 can work wonders.

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mamallama

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nickleback
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Re: Flash photography and newborn baby's eyes
In reply to sansin, Apr 12, 2007

sansin wrote:

Unfortunately, photo-ops also come up at night, and some of our
best photo-ops happened at the time of mid-night feedlng.

You may want to look at this:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf31fd/

and in particular the intelligent flash modes...

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf31fd/page5.asp

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Jerry R
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NO direct flash
In reply to nickleback, Apr 12, 2007

Maybe it won't hurt the babies eyes. However, whats happened with my grandaughter indicates children don't like the flash and if I did not have an R1 would not have been able to get decent pictures of her.

She became so annoyed with people taking pictures with a flash that whenever some puts a camera to their face and points it at her she says "say Cheese" and closes her eyes.

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