I like to keep things simple when it comes to using my on-camera flash. I prefer use my flash in way that feels soft and natural vs. hard and cold. How do I do this? I choose to have more ambient light fill the photo to give a soft feeling vs. a very bright subject with a dark background. To me, this looks like natural light which is of course my favorite type of light. I use a few simple flash modifiers to help me achieve my desired look. Here's what I use:
1 - Nikon Diffusor Dome: This diffusor dome (model no. sw-13h) is always on my flash. It softens the light just enough so it's not harsh and gives it an even tone to each of my subjects.
2 - Nikon Incandescent Filter: The orange filter helps to balance the light in a room using incandescent & tungsten lights. Basically, I use this filter to cancel out the orange glow from the lights to create a nice, soft, white light, which is what I want. This also saves me a ton of time post-processing and editing my images later on. Sure, sometimes you want to keep the warm glow of the room but sometimes, it's really distracting and it needs to be removed.
3 - Sticky Filters: I found out about these amazing set of color correcting gels at WPPI from the amazing Kevin Kubota. They are similar to the Nikon Filter above but these don't need to snap on. These sticky filters just "stick" to the top of your flash (any flash that is, it's brand friendly!) and it helps color correct the lighting. It's ingenious and not too expensive either!
4 - Nikon SB-910 Flash: This flash is on my main camera body the entire reception. I also have the previous version (SB-900 which is no longer made) on my second camera body. I always shoot in manual mode anywhere from 1/128 to 1/32 of second. Why do I not use TTL mode? Well, I'm smarter than my camera and I don't want it to think for me for a second. I want to be able to control how much light is or isn't in the photo. Learning how to use my flash in manual mode was scary but now that I have it down, it's like second nature. I also point or tilt my flash either straight up or 45 degrees to the right or left of me. It depends on the venues ceiling height, color and distance.
These are the best tools that work well for me but they might not be for everyone. If you are new to flash and want to learn more, I would recommend visiting Zach & Jody Gray blog & website. They are extremely helpful, easy to understand and Zach & Jody are awesome!