Here's a photo of my girlfriend Krystina. She's an actor and a model (and amazing at both) so I often use her as a subject for my photography. We were out to lunch on a cool, cloudy afternoon (like most afternoons in Seattle) and I really liked the way she was slightly silhouetted by the window behind her. The shadows were a bit heavy on her face but I knew I could bump up the exposure while taming the highlights.
This is the reason I like to shoot RAW. Shooting street photography or anywhere with available light you won't always be able to set perfect exposure. By shooting RAW you have latitude on both sides of the exposure settings to push or pull whereas shooting JPEG you're sort of locked in. It's always better to get it right the first time, in camera versus editing in Photoshop or Lightroom but again, sometimes that doesn't happen.
I increased the contrast (to preserve the blacks), boosted the exposure, dropped the highlights, and bumped up the shadows but it really brought out the grain on Krystina's face. Adding noise reduction helped but it smoothed her out a bit too much and I was left with an overly cooked image. Rather than fight it I just accepted it and tweaked the color for a more artistic and abstract feel to the portrait. I also cropped just a bit so that Krystina's eyes fell into proportion with the golden ratio.
I like the moodiness of the portrait and the soft lighting so I'm quite happy with how this quick snapshot turned out.