I am only two years into using Adobe Lightroom to edit photos and would still consider myself only an advanced beginner. I have been using it enough to find three or four tools that I use on nearly every photo that I edit though.
These are Vibrance in the color category and Clarity and Dehaze and Vignette in the effects category. Clarity and Vibrance I mostly discovered on my own. I frequently shoot outdoors in natural light and these are handy for such shots (like my examples here).
Vignette was actually picked up through an online course that I took with a well-known photographer. He said to use it carefully, or else it can be overbearing, and I take his advice. It can really focus viewer attention if used astutely.
Dehaze came into my editing from a photo tour that I did in Hawaii. It was the end of the rainy or humid season there and our leader correctly pointed out that some details of our images would get lost in the haze. I find it works well in New York too, as we frequently have humid or hazy weather.
Here are three examples where I used all four of the above tools. The original shots (1) were taken through a window with some distracting glare and light reflection looking at a cloudy scene. The edited shots (LR) show the tools employed.
What do think? Are the LR images better than the 1 images?