One of the jobs a photographer does is decide the best "look" for a photograph. It is truly a creative outlet, and requires an artist's eye. There are so many programs available to edit pictures nowadays with all of the latest technology. There are free online programs, which I despise, because many people use them without really knowing what they are doing. Some pictures are not meant to be edited!!
One of the hardest parts of this business is learning the technology and trying to figure out what looks good and when to stop. It is quite fun to "play" with all of the tools. However, there comes a point when there is such a thing as too much editing. And boy!! I have pictures of my own that I have done that to and now I look back and go, "What was I thinking?" I promise to share some down the road. It is all a giant learning experience though, and I am glad that I have come to the point where I am at in the business. One of the things I have been trying to do lately is shoot it right the first time. That means I don't rely on photoshop for my edits to correct lighting, etc. - rather - I shoot on full manual (NOT auto) - and try to get it all right in the camera before the shutter clicks. Then I save my editing for special effects.
Here is an example of the SOOC (straight out of camera) image, and the photoshop after. The original is a beautiful picture to begin with - soft and light. However, this pink cherub of a baby has the most beautiful pink cheeks and lips, and I thought it would be fun to make this picture look like the old antique hand colored pictures. So into photoshop I go! All I did was desaturate the picture so it was almost black and white. Then I used my color picker tool to get the pink that was already on her lips. I used the paint brush tool and put the opacity way down to about 15% and just highlighted her lips and her cheek. That was it! Simple and beautiful.