I am very new to photography. I've been interested in portrait photography since I had my own senior pictures taken over 10 years ago, but haven't made time to learn until now. Just got my first "real" camera, a canon rebel XS in December. My goal is to take portraits, mainly kids' senior pictures and photos of kids. I have the opportunity to take the end-of-season basketball portraits for a local junior high girls team. It would be the group photo and individual portraits. I went to the gym to see how my equipment would handle the low-lighting situation. Well, everything turned out awful! I simply could not get enough light into my camera with the lens I have and had to open up to full aperture and then still dial down the shutter speed to so slow that blur was inevitable. I have thought of a few options that may help, but since I already got suckered into a low-end lighting system (which is worthless...came with 45Watt fluorescent bulbs that didn't do much good at all) I'd like to run the possibilities by people who know more about the subject than I, as I don't have money to waste. I learned that the hard way! My ideas: 1. A faster lens with 1.8 or 1.4 aperture. The two I'm looking at are Canon 85mm f/1.8 and Canon 50mm f1.4 I like the idea of the 85mm for portrait lengths, but would having a f/1.4 be a great advantage over a f/1.8? I realize that I wouldn't really be able to work with shadows/contrast/highlights without using a light and that this would just let in the light so it wouldn't be grossly underexposed the way the pictures turned out with the 3.5/5.6 aperture capability I currently have. 2. A Speedlight 430EX II to provide light via flash, but up higher or even off camera. I would try to do some bouncing and reflecting of light in this instance. At first I thought this would be a great way to work, but then I noticed that the cord that attaches it to the camera for off-camera work is something like 2 feel long. So I didn't know if having the light 2 feet away from the camera would even help much. Any suggestions on those ideas? Would any of them work to get workable light for the situation? I know the ideal situation would probably be to have strobes, but I can't afford that, and a faster lens and Speedlight are both pieces of equipment I'd like to pick up anyway, just can't afford both right now. Thanks a lot!