i open my image; duplicate the image (CTRL D) shortcut. then i go to Image adjust/ Curves, set to the right color balance, make sure my shadow/highlights are the way i would like it. then, if i need to soften an over exposed image, i would do so, by decreasing the opacity. These are just a few of the basic steps that i am very use to using, each time i open photoshop.
however, there are times when i need to use the other usefull tools, the magnetic lasso tool and clone brush are my personal favorites.
Here are a few examples, of photos i've taken, that needed a little fixer-up! :)
took this photo in my backyard. i adjusted the curve levels...
Using the magnetic lasso tool, i was able to crop me and my dad out of the photo above, then while selected, used the feathering tool, set it to about 2/ and copied the selection to my scenery background photo. Some pieces of the photo didn't show, and it looked as if only parts of our face/hair was there! so using the clone tool, i was able to shade in the missing areas!
after i was complete with our photo, i used the marquee tool to select a border around the whole photo, and under "Edit" , stroke, made the width about 20px, chose blending mode "hue", set the opacity to 50%. and created a soft black border.