Since I'm no great shakes as a photographer, I rely pretty heavily -- more than I should -- on post-processing in Photoshop. And not for cool effects or anything like that -- just basic corrections like color, contrast and levels.
Oh, and red-eye reduction. I hate the red-eye reduction flash setting (it's impossible to take candids using it), so I'd rather fix it afterwards.
I said I'd give it a shot. Here's the original photo, from a Halloween party back in 1998 (they went with a "James Bond and his bitches" theme -- thanks to the Captain for the correction):
All I usually do is take out the red-eye, then use the auto color/contrast/levels adjustments (following up by hand as needed).
Then, I bring out dark areas and darken light areas with the Shadow/Highlight adjustment (trying not to overdo it).
Finally, I give it a nice 4:3 or 1.5:1 crop and call it a night. Which is basically what I did here:
Still, something wasn't quite right. Something that kept the photo from being... perfect.
Oh, I know what it is: