Re: Photogrpahy Techniques
To answer your question I usually just use Lightroom to make my photos retro or B&W, also to adjust exposure,white balance and cropping while importing them from my RAW files.
As far as photoshop plug-ins I use:
Digital Film Tools: To adjust color,saturation,and contrast
Picture Code-Noise Ninja: To remove unwanted grain and noise
Kodak-Digital SHO Professional: To add fill light on dark photos
I have a lot of others, but these are the ones I use the most. I am a noob myself, so take this advice for what its worth.