Bracketing for proper Exposure
'Millz', like 'Rooz' said, this is mostly "after effects" to doll it up, but your main exposure was effectively "right on." Anyone can post-process any which way they want to, as you have correctly pointed out, but not everyone can get the main subject correctly in the exposure. YOU DID! Nice job.
The one thing you may want to consider is doing the standard bracketing of shots ... exposing higher and lower by +/-0.7EV for all your "tricky" future images. That allows you to have another pair of shots to work with, should different areas of the image be troublesome in the overall exposure.
I and many others have found bracketing to be a terrific way to positively control your shot selections and the DSLRs are geared up to do it. They make it a confirmed practice in school and often ask to see all your shots, using this method.
Argument-wise: When people shoot a standard 36-shot roll of film, that means you can get 12 "bracketed" (One at -1EV, one at EV, and the last at +1EV) exposures out of each roll. That can be pretty limiting. You also usually have to keep a manual log of your settings, to kind of follow it. "EXIF data" now basically takes care of that "settings log" for you. Bracketing was the film-shooters "second chance" at getting the exposure correct, because he/she didn't actually know what they had "in the can." It was pretty much a secret until it was developed.
Happily, with your DSLR and a standard 4GB CF card ... you can get at least hundred "bracketed" shots, so there is really no reason NOT to make bracketing a "good practice", unless you simply cannot get the shot due to movement of the subject. In this particular case, the subject did not move ... so bracket and then post-process the shot at home to get exactly what you want out of it.
As nice as the LCD is to have, now, on your camera, it is till a questionable tool for evaluation of exposure. More often than not, it is hard to tell how well an exposure is going to look, when you are in the field. The sun and other light sources (or lack there of) can play hell with eyeballing your camera's LCD ... and what may have looked "okay" actually looks like crap when you get back home for editing and review. A wise photographer would use his LCD for framing and establishing the rough exposure, not betting the ranch on a single shot. You are not taking candids, in the truest sense, you are creating photographic art. How about we get all the assets on your side, instead of gambling when you do not have to.
Admittedly, you will wind up with three times the images, but you will also have a dandy chance of getting it to look "spot on" when you are finished. Let's face it, once you are back home ... there isn't much chance of getting that particular shot, again (Unless you are a repeat visitor ;) ). It's quite liberating to be able to sort through a number of expsoures and find the perfect one, than it is trying to butcher, craft and resurrect ONE messed-up exposure into something "usable."
Anyway ... that's this photographer's take on it. Ignore as you feel necessary, but by all means, if you do not understand any of this reasoning, just ASK!
BTW: One other thing bracketing does not change the Aperture or ISO settings to adjust the exposure, ONLY the SHUTTER-SPEED. "AUTO" changes all three settings when using the "EV +/-" setting offset, and that can lead to problems with "bokeh", Depth of Field, and noise. So, in effect, each manual AUTO EV change could be different for three reasons, not just one ... and that's usually not a positive aspect to controlled changes.
In other words, DO NOT BRACKET by adjusting the EV +/- setting, because, technically, you are not bracketing. Only use the "DRIVE" menu setting (continuous or single shot bracketing).
Also, do not forget your camera is set for "bracketing" and is expecting three shots each time you photograph a subject, otherwise you could wind up with a strange series of single images, that followed the bracketing rules of exposure (-1EV ,EV, +1EV), but didn't have the other two accompanying exposures. They modified the next two single shots.
In other words: Every subject image in SETS OF THREE (3).
put on those reading glasses ...
Open your A300/A350 User Manual to pages 98-100 and follow the steps on how to set up bracketing to work for you.
Let me know if you do not have a manual or are having issues understanding how to use this function.
Just in case you do not have them handy, read on brave adventurer.