In answer to your requests, here is a Before and After of a candid I took of my wife while we were hanging out one Sunday afternoon in Osaka with friends.
The first shot is straight out of the camera... well, I had to compress it from the RAW to a jpeg , but this is as I took it.
It is a nice picture. If it wasn't it wouldn't be worth keeping let alone fixing up. The shadows are nice, but not great, the color balance is too yellow and, her eyes (the focus of any portrait) are too dark/shadowy, just to name a few things that keep it from being a 'great' picture. So I ran it through Adobe Lightroom. Keep in mind this is a very quick edit (maybe three minutes) and Lightroom is not my choice for doing detail work like skin and eyes, but I wanted to show you the kinds of detail work I typically would like to do. A portrait that I really take time on can take well over an hour to process. The idea being to make it perfect without looking fake. Good photographs are a lie you never doubt for a second.
That being said, this picture now looks fake. As is, I would not put this on our website, but if I took more time in Photoshop with it, it very well could be one of my favorite shots of my wife. She had just cut her hair and was wearing a new dress and I thought she looked hot to trot... but I digress...
Her skin now looks like porcelain, which is bad, but like I said, this is just to give an idea of an 'edit'. Her eyes POP a bit more now and the big shadows are more pleasing and less distracting. If I put this in color right now it would be bright red. I changed the color temperature to red because it softens shadows and creates an overall pleasing feel in black and white.. Back in the glory days of film you would've had to put a red glass filter on the front of your lens and shot with black and white film to get this effect.
Questions? I hope you like this. It may not be a great example, but an example none the less.