How to swap faces using Windows Live Photo Gallery

Note: I’ve verified that this technique works with Windows Live Photo Gallery 2012 as well as 2010 when this was posted. Thanks for stopping by!

Yep, the commercials are quite accurate. You can easily swap faces and create that “ultimate” Christmas photo just in time. I know because Jen did it last night. 8^D Oddly enough, all the “common” searches we tried didn’t pull up what we needed, so after finally digging out the answer, I wanted to share.

The Problem:

We wanted to add a photo to our Christmas cards this year, and had a great couple of pictures from Thanksgiving, but there were a couple of small problems:

Doh! Honnie was looking down to make sure Rylee was looking at the camera.
Doh! Rylee wasn’t too happy at the moment. I think Maggie the dog was going after her food.

The Solution

To the cloud!!!! At least that’s what they say in the commercial. Start up Windows Live Photo Gallery and make sure you’ve used the facial recognition tagging to identify everybody in the photo. The next step, and a slightly tricky one, is to simply “pin”, or check the box next to the two photos you want to “swap faces” with. We kept trying to right click on a photo when selected or even copy/paste the face to no avail.

Once the two photos are selected, click on the “Create” menu option and select the “Photo Fuse” option that is available. This is where the magic begins.


When the photo fuse window pops up, it will give you the option to select a person, and choose from the available faces for that person. What is REALLY nice is that it will allow you to scale the area that you want to select. In our case, we needed to shrink the selection area a little bit, so we didn’t overlap on Rylee’s head at all.


The Result:

Once you’ve tweaked and replaced to your liking, simply click the “Save” button and it will save the changes as a fresh photo. And voila! Christmas photos are saved!


We’ve been experimenting with Windows Live Photo Gallery for a little while now and really like what it is offering, especially with this photo. There’s also a built in panoramic “stitching tool” that works really well too. Give it a whirl sometime and let me know what you think.


37 thoughts on “How to swap faces using Windows Live Photo Gallery”

  1. I have been searching this for months even my so very computer savy cousin could not give me this answer THANK YOU!! Its always nice to find some one who will help others GOD BLESS YOU!! Question: My dad passed away an within the last two years we have had two beautiful weddings an still did not get a nice piture of mom an dad together can i cut out my sister an brother in law an fuse pic back together to make my mom a beautiful picture she would love?

  2. I’m glad to be of help Angie!

    As for your question, I’m not sure Live Photo Gallery has those kind of tools build in. For the face swapping, it uses the facial recognition patterns found in similar photos in order to make it “swap” without the appearance of editing. Something with that much change would be better suited for a different tool, or potentially a plug-in.

  3. Great post – really helpful! I’d seen the adverts but had no idea how to use this “photo fuse” tool! Googling didn’t really help but seconds after reading this – I’ve done it!! Thanks!

  4. Thank you so much…. I’ve been going crazy trying to figure out this feature…. and you guys were a lot of help… Great Christmas photo by the way… :)

  5. The problem with my situation is that I have two family photos: One in which EVERYONE isn’t looking in the right direction EXCEPT one person, the other when everyone is looking in the right direction but that one, who is blinking and looking down. I want to swap heads on the second one, but the program will not let me put the face from pic #1 onto pic #2, only to put one of the two faces on the bad pic #1. Why won’t it let me choose the good picture!?

    1. Hmmm, I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve jumped into the application, so I’m not quite sure. With the photo where the person is looking the wrong way, have you tagged the person with their name? I think if you tag the person in both pictures, the program can identify the backgrounds and realize you’re working with essentially the same picture and then let you pick a head shot since both areas are tagged with the same name.

      Let me know if this helps.

    2. The good picture where most of the people are looking in the right direction needs to be listed before the bad picture in the photo thumbnail window. The simplest way would be to rename the good picture with a lower numbered file name (put 00 at the beginning of the name). To see file names in photo gallery, right click the white background around the image thumbnails and choose View -> Details. If after that the good picture is still not listed before the bad then you need to change how the window is sorting the photos, by right clicking the white area and choosing Sort by -> File name, and for good measure also choose Group by -> none. The good image thumbnail needs to end up being to the left of or in a row above the bad.

      Let’s say I have DSCF_2103 where Bob is smiling. I also have DSCF_2105 where Bob is looking away but everyone else is great. I need to change DSCF_2105 to something like “00 DSCF_2105” without the quotes. Then do the check box selection routine, choose create, photo fuse. Then it’ll give me the option to choose to put the face of Bob from DSCF_2103 onto 00 DSCF_2105.

  6. Hey, thanks for helping me re-find this feature, it was driving me nuts. One thing though, you don’t need to tag the people for it to work (which takes a lot of effort in a bigger photo). Windows easily recognises the similar faces itself and you just drag a little box over the face you want to change. It will automatically find the same face/area in the other photo.
    Thanks for the help x

  7. Thanks for the information.

    As an additional point, you are not limited to two photos. I selected four photos and the application let me pick the best of four head shots for each person in the photo. In this case, there were 14 people in the shot and I swapped 12 faces! (I wasn’t the primary photographer and was shooting the group at random – as a result didn’t capture a single shot when all were looking at the camera.)

  8. Is there an iPhone app that can so the same job. I have my photos on my phone, and just want to work on them with out my computer.

  9. This is great! Thank you! I was wondering if you know of any Mac compatible software that does the same thing? I can’t seem to find it anywhere and we have mostly moved to Mac in our house, except for the one big computer where no one wants to sit (we all like the laptops). Thought you might know. Thanks! :)

    1. Nothing has turned up for me except for Photoshop Lightroom, but you need to pay for this program.

      If anybody else can find a Mac app for free that has this feature, by all means please post here!

  10. Thank you so much for this useful post. I am having difficulty, however, because there is no “create” tab in my toolbar. What version of Windows Live Photo Gallery did you use? Is there a way I can install the extra toolbar? Thank you so much!

    1. Hmm, I should have worded that differently, since I can see the confusion. There is actually a menu option called “Create” and when you select that you’ll see the button for Photo Fuse, like in the screenshot.

      I had originally setup this post with Photo Gallery 2010, but recently installed 2012 and verified the same functionality.

      I hope this helps!

      1. Thanks so much for posting this. I, too, could not find Create. I downloaded a new version of Photo Gallery and there it was. Rebecca, this should solve your problem as well.

  11. I <3 you for posting this, you saved our Christmas Card! (or at least saved me a whole night of trying to figure out what to do without this info.) Thank you!

  12. When I replace the face, the angling is weird so it creates a too-long shoulder of the person above or something. Is there a way to fix this, or do I just have to move the box over that area as well? Thank you!

  13. AWESOME!!!! Thank you SO much!!! Even years after your original post, this information is still coming in handy for some of us! I am SO grateful you took the time to share! I wish I would’ve found it sooner so my family pictures before now could have appeared much more composed! I just got done making the best family picture out of 6 different photos! That is how many photos of us it took to get the right picture using the photo fuse. Words cannot express how grateful I am for you putting this information out there. Very helpful and appreciated!!

  14. I simply wanted to appreciate you all over again. I do not know the things that I would’ve tried in the absence of the type of ideas discussed by you about this concern. Previously it was a very traumatic setting in my position, but spending time with a specialized strategy you resolved that made me to leap with contentment. I am grateful for this guidance and thus sincerely hope you are aware of an amazing job that you are putting in teaching most people via a site. Most likely you haven’t come across all of us.

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