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Flash, and generally any kind of artificial lighting, can have various effects on your photos.
First of all, as soon as you start using anything from a reflector to numerous flash units, it's called modifying light or creating it. Taking control of lighting conditions is a sign of maturity and skill as a photographer. You work your way up this latter by starting with just one flash and eventually using as many as you need to get the job done.
Lights can be used for different purposes, depending on subject and shooting style. You can use them to highlight a certain feature in the model, to bring attention a certain part of the frame, or to separate subject from background completely.
A minimum of two lights is required to do this, as you will use one of them to light your subject from the front or side, and the other as a rim light that will add depth and create contrast.
This usually applies more to studio or indoor conditions. If you want to separate your subject from the background in an outdoor environment, it's best to use a shallow depth of field. That's not to say you can't or shouldn't use a rim light outdoors.
In either situation, trial and error will eventually get you where you want. Don't settle for one setup. Experiment as much as you can and while you're at it, try to have fun and let your imagination play its part.
Here's master photographer Gavin Hoey in a cool video tutorial made for Adorama TV, where he explains how to create contrast using flash.
(All images via Gavin Hoey & Adorama )