I've spent the past month practicing photographing friends as part of a class on learning to use my flash. I always have admired the work of excellent photojournalists, who seem to be able to create great portraits anywhere and make effective use of camera flash (supplemental or hot-shoe flash, not the built-in variety) while they're at it.
My instructor has been Paul Gero, one of the teachers at BetterPhoto.com. He has also been working on a blog project of one camera, one lens. The images represented in August are great! Check it out if you enjoy photographing people of all ages!