Upload & Sell: On
Jim, I have a few questions. Do you have more time than money? Are you more interested in the results or the methods you go through achieve them?
If you have more time than money and like working through the process, then Amazon has a number of excellent books on Photoshop. Check the ratings and read the reviews to find one suited to you skill level.
If you can afford it, I suggest NIK Software Plugins.
I qualify for the academic discount, so buying the entire suite was affordable. There's a number of corrections that are easy in NIK that take knowledge and time to achieve directly in Photoshop.
For instance, I have a vintage panoramic negative I inherited from my family. It's a great image, but for some reason the contrast is different in one part of the negative. I made two copies and used a normal method in Photoshop, then used NIK's Silver Efex Pro. In Photoshop, I created a layer, then used a mask to limit the adjustment to just the area that was of lower contrast. This is a pretty easy, basic Photoshop task and it didn't take long to accomplish. Most of the time was spent refining the mask.
I then took the other copy and used Silver Efex Pro. There are control points that you can use to control brightness, constrast and structure (similar to sharpening). I placed several control points, which are adaptive, on the photo and made the adjustments. It took less time and provided me more control, thus a better result.
There's also NIK Sharpener Pro that takes the guesswork out of sharpening. Sharpener Pro allows you to introduce sharpening at the beginning of the process, during processing and as the final step before printing. On the final sharpening, you tell the software the native resolution of the printer and the size print you are making and it optimizes the sharpening for the normal viewing distance.