How can I take a picture of a Christmas tree without lens flare around the Christmas lights?

by Nikita Sokolsky   Last Updated December 22, 2017 16:18 PM

I'm trying to take a photo of the Christmas tree in the dark, so that the Christmas lights are the only source of light (or at least the only apparent source of light). I can get a nice short from a tripod by combining a series of photos into an HDR image, however the only problem is that there's strong lens flare/diffraction spikes around the light source:

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Is it possible to avoid this effect and make the lights appear as small dots? Perhaps a more sophisticated HDR tool can acheive it or do I need a flash setup for proper lighting?

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