Getting some good tips here. I hope it continues. One aside on sharpening. Lately I've been playing a lot with Scott Kelby's technique of using the high-pass filter.
For those unfamiliar with this filter, it is in the "other" submenu in the filters menu. A quick summary: duplicate the layer (cntl-J) select the duplicate layer. Go to the high-pass filter. Set it at a low level (just enough for the edges to show up -- usually somewhere between 2-4)
Apply the filter. Then in the layer's panel, using the drop down list at top, select hard light to start. If that is too intense, try another choice (soft light).
But don't quit there.
Add a layer mask and then, using a soft edged paintbrush, paint out the details where you don't want them (oftentimes, with a person, I may only leave the mask visible for the person's eyes and lips, giving them soft skin but sharp eye features. For shots of things or nature, I will usually paint out the layer mask in the sky or background -- in other words, any areas where you don't want every little detail to show up.)
Anyone else use this technique? I've saved several shots where my focus was just slightly off. With careful masking and painting, only the details you want to pop will really pop.