Design Thoughts: The main design element used in this photograph is alignment. All other adjustments were made to adjust lighting and retouch the main subject.
Alignment: I cropped the original photograph in order to create a head shot. While cropping, I used the rule of thirds to align the head in the center of the image and the A in the background in the upper right section of the rule of thirds.
Camera Raw Settings Used
Used Camera Raw to bring down the highlights, increase the shadows, and saturate the blues in the background.
Photoshop Settings Used
Cropped the image to create a head shot.
Created two duplicate layers (one for highs and one for lows) for frequency seperation
Added a Gaussian Blur to the lows layer
Used Apply Image to extract the color from the highs layer and changed blend mode to Linear Light
Used the Healing Brush tool on the highs layer to get rid of blemishes
Added a new layer and used the brush tools to even out the highlights in the face
Added a new layer and used the burn and dodge tool to adjust highlights and shadows
Used a Curves Adjustment and Mask to darken the background without effecting the retouches