You can "darken" a room by lowering your ISO (say, from 400 to 200), or by choosing a smaller aperture (say, from ƒ/5.6 to ƒ/8). Keep in mind that when you lower the ISO, your flashlight, in effect, becomes less powerful, so the length of time you "paint" needs to be increased. The same is true when you choose a smaller aperture. My advice on this stuff: Keep your variables to a minimum. I also recommend starting your painting-with-light session with fresh batteries, and have extra batteries on hand.
After closing the barn doors and after several more attempts, success! I was pleased with the way the shadows and highlights came together to make a dramatic photograph.
So, my friends, if your natural light or flash pictures look flat, make them fab with the painting-with-light technique. Be patient! You'll need to try and try again, unless you're very lucky, to get a creative image.
Our friend Rick Sammon is a regular contributor to this magazine. For more of his work, check out his website at ricksammon.com.