Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
The "ugly" look is typically just poor use of the tools or older flash units without the built in sensor and auto control.

The ugly stuff comes IMO mostly in two ways, 1- when too much flash is used so that there is to big a difference in luminance between subject and background and 2- when the shot printed too light.
I think a lot of the 'ugliness' stems from the fact that the flash on a camera is a) very small and thus gives you very hard, contrasty light and b) the flash (usually) is on-axis with the lens, moving the flash off camera gives you directional light and more depth to your photo.