Actually, I'm no magician.
So here's a little look at how a typical beginning to end photograph process goes for me. Generally I see something that catches my eye, like this super old bottle of wood glue that I was trying to use.
I open it up and Voila!, the basis for another abstract photograph.
So the first thing I do, obviously is snap the picture. I make sure that the focus and the light are generally how I want (it's pretty difficult to fix bad focus and light in post-processing). It then goes into another application that I use for the initial post processing effects, like contrast and saturation adjustment - you can see the subtle differences in the second photo below (fyi - click on the image to see the next image in the series). I may add other touches, like specific color highlights, it just depends on the photo.
Next, I'll put the image through a second application that let's me add other effects like textures and light leaks. Depending on what I'm trying to accomplish with the shot, I'll use several layers to make the image look just right (see the next few photos in the series).
In this case, I felt like there were several good shots worth creating and sharing, so I simply went back to the second image and ran back through the process.
And that's where you get photos like this little series on wood mastic.