Hi everyone. I've been shooting events at one venue for a while but am not fully satisfied with my photos. The two rooms these events are held in (the library and main room) both have very high and dark wooden ceilings. The library has no white walls to bounce off of (it's either windows or book stacks), and the main room is large where I'm not near a wall when taking photos.
So. I am still getting used to shooting with flash without bouncing off the ceiling and getting crisp results. I shoot with a 5D Mk II, 24-70 2.8 and a 430ex speedlight. I usually use a white envelope rubber-banded to the flash as a longer bounce card which I think has helped give more even light on people compared to when I didn't use it. However, I do find myself having to bring down the highlights and bring up the shadows in post production quite often. On the flash I shoot TTL with a Stoffen diffuser at 24mm pointing straight up with the envelope, so it doesn't seem like I can bring the strength of the flash down any more. The settings on my camera most recently have been at f5 iso 1600 1/60. I have some other photos that have a faster shutter speed or that combined with ISO 2000 that seem to require the same editing in post production, often bringing highlights or exposure down to soften some of the flash harshness while pulling the shadows up a bit to bring out more of the background, which I then find leave the images dull. There must be a better way to get cleaner shots that require little-to-no editing afterwards while using flash. Angle the flash differently? Use a smaller bounce card like what comes on the speedlight (I think I had used a smaller white bounce card before the envelope, though I don't remember much difference)?
I also have problems when there is a speaker at a podium in the main room, as the lighting is dim with no direct spotlight on the speaker, and my flash doesn't go as far reflecting off of the envelope as a bounce card. Turning up the intensity of the flash doesn't seem to help nor does pointing the flash at the speaker from a farther distance. I'm generally standing about 10-15 feet away from them.
I've been trying to find articles or posts online that address this issue past the basics but to no avail. Any help is appreciated!