Use slower shutter speeds or larger apertures? Those would let in more light as well...
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You don't know, do you? Yet you offer useless advice..
Changing a shutter speed has SFA to do with exposure when using flash..
I simply shake my head..
You flash has a limit to it's power, based on the circuits, flash tube, battery, etc..
You can't make it any brighter than Canoin designed it to be, just like you can't make a 100 watt light bulb at home any brighter..
If you want more light, you have two choices; buy a second flash gun and set it off at the same time as the one you already have. One flash at full power plus another identical flash at full power will give you one more f stop of light than using just one flash by itself..
Add two more flash units (total of four) and you get an aditional f stop of light..
Buy a more powerfuil flash. There are not many battery powered flash units more powerful than an old 550EX, but take a look at Quantum if you want flash automation, in addition to power..
IF automation does not matter, look at Norman and Lumadyne..
Your 550EX flash head will zoom, concentraingthe light into a smaller area, which in turn means the light stays bright for a further distance. But the amount of light remains the same; it is just in a smaller area..
You can also buy stydio-style flash units, such as Balcar, Dynalite, Norman, Alien Bee, White Lightning, and many others. These need to be placed on light stands, and have no automation..
After looking over the manual it shows that I can click on the + on the flash to increase up to two stops. By doing this, is it actually communicating with the camera and changing the camera's settings? thanks..