I tend to like photos that look dramatic or otherworldly (particularly when capturing things that may actually be fairly mundane). Aside from obvious things like air-brushing or photo-manipulations (e.g. to add in elements, or reshape people, etc.), I am having a great deal of difficulty distinguishing how much of a good photo of this type happens in-camera and how much happens in post.
This has become particularly difficult after seeing how drastically some basic work with something like some of NIK Software's stuff can transform photos I've taken that were decently composed, but otherwise a bit bland looking.
Is there any sort of resource with some examples of some skillfully-created photos of these types in RAW without developing or color grading vs. fully developed and post-processed?
Whether it's a candid b&w style like: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gorbochev/page2/ (my current photographer crush)
something more fashion focused like the first 4 or 5: http://www.kurtstallaert.com/my/fashion
or some of the more surreal stuff like the young photographer Kyle Thompson whose stuff I've seen around the internet recently, I'd like to get a better sense of how things look before they've been altered so that I can continue to evolve towards taking photos that I'm actually happy with, and not stuff that perpetually feels like it misses the mark.