I bought Scott Kelby's book, Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers using Photoshop a little while ago and really haven't had much of a chance to put it's contents into practice.
I've got a shoot coming up for a client on this coming Monady and Tuesday so I had to buy a softbox (a 75cm Lastolite Easybox Hotshoe) and, needing to give it a test before I put it into production, I conned my son Samuel into letting me point it at him yesterday while he was sitting at his computer at the Dining Room table. He presented me with an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone - test the softbox and try out some of Scott's techniques from the book.
The photo above is the result of both.
I highly recommend that anyone shooting portraits gets the book. As testimony for what it's worth, Sam complained about me pointing the camera at him because, as he and my other kids know, there have been times when I have done this in the past and then posted the photos here and in other places. Before I published this, I asked his permission and he gave it so he must be relatively happy with the result.
I've followed the general principles Scott espouses and kept the changes minimal so that Sam stills looks like like Sam - pretty much. For the purpose of proving the point, here is the before and after.