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Tips for capturing holiday light memories with your iPhone camera

The iPhone has a great little digital camera built into it. If you're thinking about getting those last photos of the neighborhood and indoor holiday lights before they all come down, here are a few hints to make sure you get a memorable picture.

Let's start with exterior lights. The iPhone isn't a terrific low-light camera, but it can still take some stunning shots. The first thing to remember is that you don't want to wait until it is completely dark. If you do, all you'll see in your photo are the lights and some small areas of the house that are illuminated by them.

The best time to take your outdoor holiday light photos is just after sunset. Dusk photos will work just fine. You'll have about 20-30 minutes of twilight sky to make your photos keepers. You'll see some sky texturing that way, and the house and holiday lights will both be very visible. If you have a newer iPhone with iOS 6, try the built-in panorama mode, but be sure to hold the phone really steady. Remember, the lower the illumination, the more steady you have to be. Check the gallery below for an example of a panorama shot.

Indoor lights are easier to photograph with your iPhone. To add some interest to the photos, place some objects like candles in the foreground to focus on, which will put the holiday lights in soft focus in the background. Of course, people are good foreground subjects -- be sure to focus on them, and let the tree and lights be in soft focus in the background.

Avoid using the iPhone's flash if you can. It creates very harsh lighting that changes the mood of the photo, and there's always a potential of causing "red-eye" problems. Those devilish eyes can be removed with iPhoto for iOS, but it's better to not have the problem in the first place.

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