Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum, but I've been using my camera for about 18 months now. I don't have the opportunity to practice all that much and I have one particular weak spot that is driving me crazy. I can't seem to find a balance of flash/not flash/settings to take decent pictures of people indoors. I go to a few conventions a year and about half my pictures either end up overly dark or totally washed out. I'm using a Nikon D40 with a Vivitar 400Z flash. As for lenses, I have the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S Nikkor 55-00mm f/4-5.6G, and the AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G that came with the body. I tend to only use the manual setting and tweak everything as I need it from shot to shot. In the environments I'm having problems with, I can't lug around any large reflectors or softboxes and the diffuser I have for the lens doesn't do a whole lot to eliminate the harshness of using the flash. I would very much appreciate any advice that you folks could share on how to improve my indoor picture taking. Unfortunately, I don't have an example of my washed out images as I tend to delete them. Below is a no-flash image taken to illustrate the other end of the spectrum though.