Thoughts on Photography

the family 2013

For the past 4 years I have hired a photographer to take family pictures of us. I couldn’t hire the same photographer again this year because she is more than we can now afford, so I found someone more affordable. The lesson I have learned this year is quite simple: You get what you pay for.

It is not that these picture are horrible, they are just OK. But after years of wonderful portraits, these are disappointing. Some are not very good in a technical sense (ie: parts out of focus, people/objects in the background, wrong meter setting, etc.).

This new photographer bragged that she gives us all the unedited photos, in addition to the 50 she edits. I have learned the hard way that this is not necessarily a good thing. It has taken me hours to go through them. Some are so bad, she should have been embarrassed to include them– I would have been embarrassed, had I been the photographer.

Most of the ones she edited are ones that I would have picked. But then she went a little crazy in Photoshop. Step away from the fake sun rays, lady. And white teeth are nice, but Ross-white is too white (Friends reference). And, I love my kids’ blue eyes the way they are; it is not necessary to turn them into cyborgs.

Artistry cannot be taught. She missed some great shots during our shoot. Un-posed, candid, wonderful shots that I tried to call her attention to, but that she didn’t “see” or was too late to capture it after I said something.

So I have spent hours going through all the photos (over 900) and trying to edit the ones I like better. I really wish I was better at Photoshop (I only have Photoshop Elements), but I am doing the best I can.

I now have to decide if I am going to continue to look for another photographer for next year, or if I should just go with the more expensive one who I love and trust. Maybe I can try and use her every other year.

The kids 2013    Gemma portrait

 

(The three pictures I included in this post are the VERY best of the bunch. I am happy with these three. With my previous photographer I had 20 that I loved and was happy with.)

No, you’re crying about technology

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English: ……. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know I am blowing this out of proportion. I may or may not be on my period (that started 12 days early… is it even a period? I REALLY don’t know. Seriously, I don’t know what it is.). But I have just spent over 90 minutes trying to get a movie streaming service on my son’s Xbox. I so had much better things to do. I now hate Xbox and Microsoft.

I am not technology challenged. I am able to figure things out. Sometimes they take me awhile. Like tonight. I am proud of what I did accomplish…. only to be thwarted because I don’t have an Xbox Live GOLD account that I refuse to pay $60 a year for. (Rant for another time: THIS SUBSCRIPTION CULTURE we are being forced to become a part of.)

Let me rewind a bit. We had Netflix for a bit through our Wii. It was worthless though because our internet is soooo slow. So a couple months ago we were able to increase our internet speed (Although, another rant for another time, NOT AS FAST AS WE WANTED BECAUSE THAT WAS ONLY IF WE CHANGED TO EFFING U-VERSE!!). So I after reading recently that you can stream Amazon Prime through Xbox, I decided to try and connect my account.

Here are ALLLL the steps I went through.

1. Connect Xbox to Internet (haven’t done that since we got the Xbox in May). Which means I need to create an Xbox Live account. (WEEEE, more user names and passwords. Goodie!!)

2. Turn on the laptop to get the WP2 code for our Router (I don’t even know what that is, but I knew where to get it from)

3. Refresh Xbox WiFi listings repeatedly to get our network to show up.

4. Type the WP2 code in.

5. Get internet connection through Xbox, only to be told that the Xbox needs to be updated.

6. Update the Xbox system (15 minutes)

7. Find the Apps section.

8. Discover I can’t use Amazon Prime without an Xbox Live Gold account. Curse a little.

9. Read the Hulu Plus App info, it just says you need an Xbox Live account, not Gold. Cool.

10. Start downloading Hulu Plus App. (20 minutes)

11. Sign up on Laptop for free Hulu Plus account for a month (if I chose to bill Paypal)

12.Attempt to open Hulu Plus App— Ooops, it needs me to download an update first (WHAT?? I just installed it???) Curse some more.

13. Download Hulu Plus update (16 mins)

14. Attempt to open Hulu Plus App….. NOPE! Need Xbox Live Gold Account. Curse a lot. Then cry.

I know. This was totally stupid and woe is me. I may be hormonal. (whisper) Maybe.

Just so many frustrating things about this. So many reminders of things I hate (subscriptions, paying good money for stupid things, slow internet, technology slightly above my comfort level, updating apps).

I may have sent a feedback to Microsoft in anger. I may have said the following:

I AM SO PISSED! I JUST DOWNLOADED THE HULU APP BECAUSE IT SPECIFICALLY DID NOT SAY THAT YOU HAD TO BE AN XBOX LIVE GOLD SUBSCRIBER. BUT WHEN I WENT TO USE THE APP IT WOULDN’T LET ME. I JUST SIGNED UP FOR A FREE HULU TRIAL BECAUSE I WANTED TO TRY IT ON THE XBOX. NOW I HAVE WASTED MY TRIAL.

HEY MICROSOFT, I AM GOING TO N.E.V.E.R. PAY FOR XBOX LIVE GOLD. E.V.E.R. WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY.

I AM ALSO GOING TO BRING OUT MY OLD WII CONSOLE THAT DOESN’T READ DISKS ANYMORE AND GET HULU FROM THAT. THEY DON’T CHARGE.

DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS??? I AM PLUGGING IN A VIRTUALLY NON-WORKING COMPETING CONSOLE JUST SO I DON’T GIVE YOU ANOTHER DIME.

It didn’t make me feel better. So I went on to Microsoft tech support. I was ready to be pissy and angry. Then I realized that wouldn’t help my case. So as I was waiting for chat person to come on live I decided to ask for what I really wanted. This was what I asked for:

“Hey Microsoft, I’d really like a free trial to Xbox Live so I can try Hulu Plus. Is that something you can do?”

And they did it.

Just like that.

(This is me blushing.)

I’m going to continue setting it up tomorrow. Let’s hope it goes better than today.