Digital Portrait Photography

Avoid the Blinking Syndrome

SUMMARY: Help prevent the inevitable blinking in group photos.


If you've ever shot a photograph with more than just a couple of people, you're sure to know what the blinking syndrome is. Most everyone will be smiling, looking straight at the camera, but someone is going to blink. This may result in a less than pleasing photograph.

Blinking is a natural reaction whenever people are exposed to bring light. And, even if flash photography is not used, people are so used to it that they may tend to tense up in anticipation of the light, causing them to blink almost on reflex. So, how can one stop a group of people from blinking?

1. If you have to use flash, make sure everyone is ready before you take the photo. Instead of taking just one photo, take two or three photos and plan on using the last one. After a couple of flashes, most peoples' eyes will get used to the light and they may not blink. However, don't overshoot with flash, as too much bright light may damage eyes!

2. If at all possible, take your group photo in a well-lit area that doesn't require flash. Especially with today's modern digital cameras, you may be able to get away with changing some basic settings such as exposure time (if you can keep everyone still) to get a nice, bright picture. If you plan on doing this, make sure you tell everyone that flash will not be used so they don't tense up.

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