I Heart Faces Constructive Feedback

Never done this before. Hoping for sound advice on how to get a group of people into focus. The original can found on my Flickr account here. As you can see before I photoshopped it I had some real issues with white balance and focus. I don't think the photoshopping helped all that much, but it was fun experimenting!

Here are the SOOC photo stats that might be relevant:

Camera: Nikon D40
Aperture: F/5.8
Flash: None
ISO Speed: 400
Focal Length: 18.3
AF Area Mode: Dynamic Area, Closest Subject
AF Point: Center
AF Points in Focus: Center
Light Source: Natural
Exposure Mode: Auto
White Balance: Auto

For Full Details: Check the Flickr metadata page.

Photoshop CS3
Sharpen Edges (duplicate layer with Mask to erase overly sharpened sections)
Adjusted Curves
Added burnt edges.

Fire away, ladies & gents! I really want to get group photography down and focus seems to be the biggest challenge. I'd love to hear what settings everyone else uses and whether or not they use manual focus (something I'm just staring to experiment with).