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What Do I Know About Raising Minimum Wage? I Was Raised in the Lap of Middle Class Luxury...

Today at lunch a couple of my co-workers were talking about raising minimum wage. I don't normally involve myself in political discussions, but I had to pipe up and mention that, yes, people actually CAN – and do – live on a minimum-wage salary (a person; not a family).

Of course, everyone's definition of "being able to live like that" differs. For example, if you earn minimum wage, live with your family (who doesn't really expect you to chip in much for bills/rent/utilities), and buy only what you need to survive, you can do it. Lots of people do. I think.

At this point in the conversation I had to clarify: what do I know about it, having been raised in the lap of middle class luxury?

Pre- and Post-Photoshop Images

Not only did I drag my feet getting my first smartphone – and much later, my first iPhone – I didn't go digital in the photography world until 2006.

Sadly, while I had access to a fantastic photography club at the time that brought in great speakers about how to use Photoshop, I didn't attend those seminars since it would've been a waste of time (this would've been in 2004 & 2005, before I took the plunge and was still shooting film).

That's right. I shot film until the year 2006...

And not in the hipster fashion; I used film because back then I "didn't believe" in going digital. I considered it to be a separate art form; I was so used to seeing finished digital images so far removed from the original it felt more like computer art than photography.

Of course, I've changed my way of thinking since then...a bit :)

There were many, many times I looked back on those lost opportunities to learn about Photoshop – FOR FREE – and I berated myself for not taking advantage. I should be much farther along in my PS skillset, but "it is what it is" and I think I manage fairly well with being self-taught.
And, by self-taught I mean I've watched a bunch of tutorials, have spent hours poking around in Photoshop and fortunately have some friends and co-workers who patiently walk me through questions every now and then :)

It's not rocket science but I've gotten adept at fixing my images in Photoshop. Not that all my shots need to be "fixed;" I guess I should say I can edit what I think needs to be edited.

I don't shoot weddings often, but whenever I do, invariably there's the dreaded "group shot" of the entire bridal party.

I've learned to throw the camera on a tripod, shoot rapid-fire...and then choose the best image where MOST people's eyes are open and they're smiling and then mix-and-match eyes and mouths from the rest of the shots.

That's fun. Time-consuming. But, worth it for that ONE group shot that LOOKS as though everyone was perfect. I'm not sure all brides – or, really, anyone who hires a photographer – REALLY understand all the work that goes into the post-shooting process in photography.

Sometimes I wish I could sit them down and say, "look at the original. Aaaaaand now look at what I gave you! You're welcome."

I follow a great pet photographer on Facebook and while I love looking at the beautiful images she posts, I really get a kick out of seeing her "before and after" images, where she shows the raw, unedited original image and then the photo after it's been edited.

While I'm not great at Photoshop, I figured it'd be fun to look back through some of my favorite images and see the pre- and post-edited versions.

Most images generally don't need a lot of editing – I might tweak the exposure, saturation, contrast and a few other minor details – but some need a bit more Photoshop love.

I don't use Lightroom so each photo I adjust is done by "hand," one at a time...I hear from many fellow photogs I need to get Lightroom so I can do batch edits. We'll see how long it takes me to jump on THAT bandwagon.

For now, I'm quite content to edit my RAW images one by one in Photoshop...learning little things here and there as needed.

But, of course, I don't edit my images beyond what I still consider to be "photography." I don't add things into the photo that couldn't be there; I don't blend existing images into something that doesn't exist, etc. etc. etc.

While I think that type of digital art is beautiful, again, I don't consider it to be traditional photography.

Maybe I'll change my mind some day and get into that; who knows. For now, "digitally enhancing" my images will continue to consist of minor edits that could've technically occurred in a dark room :)

(And yes, I've worked in a dark room...granted, it's been a while but I'm well aware of the time needed to merely develop film and perform simple edits.)

And while I tease that I'm not good at Photoshop and I don't do all the fun, crazy stuff Photoshop allows you to do when editing photos, I'm okay with that. I like my style.

Favorite iPhone Photos from 2013

This past December I passed my 1-year anniversary of owning my very first iPhone. It took me a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time to "make the change," but boy am I glad I did. If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook you MIGHT notice that I take pictures & check in. A LOT.

Well, maybe it's because for the several years I had OTHER "smartphones" I wasn't able to do that. Very often. Or at all...just ask my friends how long it took to cue up the camera on my Droid. I think we counted 8 Mississippis before it turned on. I was sick of it.

So I took the plunge and allowed my husband to purchase the iPhone 5 for me. Instantly I was hooked. You know, just as soon as I figured out what all the little bubble boxes were for ;) I was off and running, and just the other day I made a startling discovery: I took more photos with my iPhone than I did with my point-and-shoot camera in 2013.

While my DSLR still won the battle overall, I was shocked that I'd used my phone THAT much. To that end, I decided to throw together a compilation of my favorite iPhone images from 2013.

Most – if not all – of these have already graced the social media outlets, but it was fun looking back on them and remembering the stories associated with each.