Five Quick Tips for Better Holiday Photos


Photo Fuse lets you swap elements among several similar photos. Now, even if there's something wrong in each shot--people blinking, sneezing, whatever--you can create a composite photo that shows everyone at their best. Load the photos into Windows Live Photo Gallery, then select them and choose Photo Fuse from the Create tab. You can then click around the composite photo to choose among the photos and put together a new version.

I love the holidays because it gives me a chance to shoot lights, decorations, and candles up close. Be sure to steady your camera on a tripod, since this is the kind of photo you'll want to take at night. I like to look for subtle details to capture up close, like ornaments, candle flames, and presents.

As with any kind of , there's no right or wrong exposure. Set your camera to manual mode, pick a midrange aperture (like f/5.6), and then try a several-second-long shutter speed. Check your results. If you want brighter, more dramatic lights, open the aperture a little. If you want the overall scene to be brighter, lengthen the exposure time. You can bracket the exposure for a variety of effects and pick the one you like best afterward.