After sitting down and working on my photos, I found a way to remove the dullness and perk up the photos. It literally looks like day and night. While I am a long way from fixing all the photography problems I am seeing, this is a definite improvement.
So what did I do? I tweaked the contrast. Using the levels function in Photoshop CS4 (Ctrl+L), I used the drop down menu to choose "Increase Contrast 3."
In the cases where that does not provide exactly what I am looking for, I then begin moving the white, black, and gray triangles on the level window to tweak the image and coloring.
I have discovered that the black triangle, increase the depth and sharpness of the shadows in the photo.
The white triangle increases the overall lightness of the photo, including the background and your object. A little of this one goes a long way.
The gray triangle helps to adjust the mid-tones of your photo. This is a good one to tweak if you object looks good, but the overall photo looks a little dark. To fix this, simply move the gray triangle towards the black triangle until it looks like what you want.
So how well has this worked for me?
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