It seems everyone's all about actions these days, and I'm just behind the times. I don't really use them. I mean, I make my own actions and use them, but they're mostly little functions, like opening a curves layer, or apply a sharpen filter. It's to save me time clicking extra buttons. I do have one that converts to black and white. Otherwise I do everything manually. Maybe I should start thinking about getting in on the whole action thing, I'm just a bit snobbish about making the whole thing be my own work. There are some awesome actions out there though, and it probably would improve my photos...
Anyway, here's my edit. (it's a cute boy called Weston, I don't know him)
Here's the original.
I started with curves. I always make an adjustment layer for my curves, so I can tweak it later if I need. I made a few curves layers, to gradually brighten and keep the details dark.
Then I used a curve layer to reduce the red on his face. I brought down the red of the whole photo, then applied a mask to the curve layer and masked off the whole layer, then painted back in the face part with a brush set at 40% opacity. That made the face a little less red (it had become really red with the lightening earlier)
Next I did some work on the eyes. I made a new layer via copied merged layers, so I could work on it without losing my other layers incase I needed to go back. I took a soft brush, set to multiply mode at about 40% and zoomed in real close, and started painting with black (or v.dark brown) around the pupils to make them larger.
Then I took a brush and painted some light grey/blue to enhance the catchlights. I selected the eyes using quick mask and applied a smart sharpen to them.
Then I zoomed back out and flattened my image then made a copy of the bgnd layer to work on. (oh, I made a history capture first, in case I'd need to go back later).
First, I used the healing brush to take out skin blemishes. Then, I applied a dust and scratched to this new layer, then masked it out and airbrushed back in the face and neck, but not details like eyes and lips. I repeated the process with a box blur. This all softened the skin tones. I also made a box blur layer which I set to 10% opacity, on soft light, to increase contrast.
Lastly, I burned in a vignette around the edges (using the burn tool), and burned in his shirt a little, to make it stand out more. As one final tweak, I applied a new curves layer over the top to slightly reduce the contrast and improve color (added a little yellowish highlight and slightly blue shadow)
And that was it.