Originally Posted by dvbear
Do you think it was the actual FLASH on the camera, like the built-in one one my canon 5d, or an external one I'd put on the hot shoe?
It could be either, just remember that generally the closer the flash is to the lens axis both horizontally and vertically the closer the shadow will appear against the object, also the distance of the background form the main object or interest will effect the look of the shadows.
You did say that you have taken shots and are unhappy about the look you get. Is there any reason why you have not posted an example or 2 as requested? This would enable us to offer much better advice than just guessing what may help get the look you want!