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I usually adjust curves first...then if I want it lighter or to have more contrast or glow, I do this
In CS2 if you go into image>adjustments>levels a graph histogram thing comes up...there are 3 sliders under it...one on left, middle and right...the one on the far right will add a more glowy contrasty brightness when you bring it towards the middle...
follow the arrows...the left one will make it darker and more contrast, the middle one makes it lighter like curves, the right one adds the more glowy contrasty brightness
I may do this a couple of times while working on a pic during the process...and I use all 3 sliders, sometimes all at the same time...just play around with them