Hey guys! My name is Charles (obviously), and I'm new to this forum, so nice to meet you all. I started getting into photography about a couple months ago and would like to know the best way to frame someone in portraits. For example, if I'm going to photograph my girlfriend on the beach, I know I would ideally like to keep her whole body in and capture the background, but what if I want a close-up shot--should I cut her off from the waist up? Thanks for the feedback. Also, I'm looking to get an external flash for my camera--is the 430ex good, or is there a better buy for a better price somewhere else? Lastly, can someone describe neutral density filters and how they work? I know they work well with running water or clouds because they can decrease the f-stops so you can increase your exposure time. But, what do those .6 or .9 stand for? My friend was talking to me about how this guy took a picture of the washington monument, and he left his exposure on for hours so it looked like no one was there. How do you do that? Sorry for the long thread, but you guys don't have to answer those questions all at once. Thanks again!