This is what you get when you photograph a relatively low contrast subject under low contrast lighting, which in this case was open shade on a cloudy fall morning. Not very inspiring is it? Still, it has potential.
It's no secret among faithful readers of Shutterfinger that when it comes to image manipulations in Photoshop and Lightroom, I fall firmly into the "less is more" camp. That's not to say I never manipulate my images. I do. I just try not to make it obvious. I try to do it in a way that enhances the subject without drawing undue attention to the enhancements themselves. (But that's just me. There are other equally valid approaches to photography and Photoshop. I've picked mine, you're free to pick yours.)
That said, it occurred to me this morning that providing you with a comparison between one of my originals and how it would look post-manipulation might be enlightening. Aside from some minor cropping, sharpening, and white balance adjustment, the only significant change I made was to apply a classic "right-tilted S" contrast curve. This curve darkens the shadows, lightens the highlights, and increases separation in the mid-tones. The result is presented below.
You may or may not care for the photo itself, but there's little doubt that the second is more eye-catching than the first. It also serves as a reminder that first impressions can be deceiving. The difference between a dull photo and one you'd mount on your wall may be only a few minor adjustments away. The first trick is to know which ones are worth a little extra effort and which aren't; the second is to know what type of adjustment. That's what makes good photography an art and, in my humble opinion, so much fun.