"What a difference flash makes," said Vicki Walker, who posted these identical images of Ivy Jordan. In the first, no flash was used. The immediate difference one sees are highlights and shadows but there is much more.
I'm guessing her camera was on Automatic. When a camera reads the available light (even when using flash), it will adjust the length of exposure and aperture opening to properly light the subject. The longer a shutter stays open or the wider the aperture, the greater the effect on sharpness of the image. With a camera that's not on a tripod, there is more of an opportunity for a blurry photo.
I'm trying to explain this simply but I realize that many will not
understand the relationship between shutter speed, aperture opening and
the like. These images speak volumes.
The reason I think these photos are so important is that many collectors are afraid of using flash. There are many more reasons to be afraid of not using enough light or only using existing light.
Focus is soft, distracting spots of light and shadow on nose, chin and chest, eyes are dark.
Face is beautifully clear, eyes have enough light, highlights on hair sparkle, vinyl and dress fabric look like their actual color, overall sharpness is very good.
The only issue in this photo is the shadow cast by the flash behind the doll, but that is a topic I cover in my next FDQ article.