A great way to save time on photo editing is to concentrate on composing the photo correctly in the first place. This includes making choices on backgrounds, lenses, and even points of focus. In the first example above, I used a wide angle lens in order to capture as much of the scenery as possible. In contrast, a tighter zoom was used on this picture of my dog. A shallow depth of field blurs the foreground and background, placing the focus more directly on his face.
For obvious reasons, I didn't take this photo, but a number of rules of composition were clearly used. For example, when taking a portrait, it is generally a good idea to shoot at eye level with the subject.
Here is another example of making it a point to get at eye level with your subject. While editing this photo, I started cropping it down a little tighter over the kid's heads, but decided against it when I noticed that by leaving a little space over there heads it helps to emphasize how short and cute they are. This is my daughter with her little crush from preschool.
This last photo follows the popular "rule of thirds", by placing the subject off to the right side of the frame instead of in the center. This adds to the visual appeal of the image. Another rule of composition was followed by leaving the larger open space on the left side of the photo, in the direction where her eyes are more or less pointing. This helps draw the viewers eyes in that direction as well.