There are so many great things you can do in photoshop! One of my favorite photoshop jobs is enhancing photos to take an image to the next level. This picture had a lot of retouching potential.
One of the first things I wanted to do was even out the shadows and skin tone on my face and neck, as well as remove some of the stray hairs that had made their way across my face. When that was finished, I started retouching my jacket so as to make it slightly less distracting (and also because my original intent for this photo was to use it in a composite image where the buttons and buckle would not have worked with the look I was going for).
Next, I wanted to bring out my hair. I cleaned up a lot of the stray hairs and then I used the quick selection tool to make a base selection. After I modified my selection to get a crisp cut, I added levels and color balance adjustment layers that were clipped to my selection (this allowed me to make direct adjustments to my hair without having the entire image modified). I added a little bit of red to my hair and brought out some of the natural highlights.
As I was working on my hair, I noticed that there were some weird shadows on my neck and a bunch of distracting hairs (those things are everywhere!!!). Using the healing brush tool and a new layer (so as not to loose the original image in case recreating my skin didn’t work), I evened out the shadows on my neck and got rid of those stray hairs, resulting in an evened out tone and a softer look.
The last modification I wanted to make to the foreground (myself), was to lighten and smooth out my skin to make my features pop a little bit more.
I had a lot of fun messing with the background. Upping the contrast helped make it pop, but I felt that it was still missing something, turns out that something was a boost in saturation. When I saw how well adding color worked, I decided to attempt a gradient overlay to see what that would look like. That gave it a whole different look (almost like a fairytale forest).