I'm a big fan of plug-ins, because then can transform an OK image (below) into a much more creative image (above). Combined a plug-in effect with some basic Photohshop/Lightroom enhancement and you are on your way to awakening the artist within.
Above, after. Below, before.
I am looking for 10 or so original images (straight shots) to play with during my plug-in class. I set up a new Google+ Community – Awaken Your Inner Artist – for just that purpose. Check it out, and post a picture if you plan to attend PSW.
Hope to see you at PSW in Atlanta.
Until then, below is another before-and-after example of how a plug-in (Nik HDR Efex Pro) and few Photoshop enhancements turned a dull shot into a cool shot.
All the plug-ins I use are on my Play and Save on Plug-ins page.
Topaz simplify, just one of the plug-ins I use, is on sale for 50% off until the end of February. Use this code - febsimplify - and this link. I used that plug-in to create the image below.
It's amazing how much we can pull out of a RAW file, and how plug-ins can be used to enhanced an image.
The above image is the result of using some of the controls in Camera RAW and Nik's Color Efex Pro. . . and then mostly the Spicify filter in Topaz Adjust. The image below is a screen shot of my RAW file in Camera RAW. If you don't have the Topaz Labs plug-ins, you can save a bundle on a bundle. Again, info on all my plug-ins here.
Explore the light,