Im trying to get into portraits, but I get so frustrated I end up deleting everything. My setup is horrible as far as lighting (500W halogen through a homade defuser, set infront and just to the side of subject) and my backdrop is just a black sheet, although you cant tell that so that is ok. I guess I just dont know what the basic settings would be to start with. Oh yeah and I have a 430ex. shooting with a 30d. Alot of the beautiful portraits i see on here have wonderful solid black backgrounds, where if you look close you could see them but for the most part they just dissappear into nothingness-i love that. Mine however, doesnt look black....well it looks black but it looks lit up and you can see any wrinkles and I cant get it to just "vanish into almost nothing." Maybe its my distance? Subject is only about 3 feet from back drop and lighting about about 5 feet from subject. See, I dont know anything about this stuff but I want to sooo badly. Sorry for rambling. Thank you all for your time.