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Well, f/18 and f/22 is always going to show you all the dust that's fit to show on your sensor. The second frame is a much nicer portrait - framing, expression, hat, exposure. If it were me, I'd probably be more careful about how the background works with the subject and whether it says what you want it to say. If you were trying to overcome the ambient light, you were successful. The next step might be to incorporate neutral density filters to keep the same ambient to flash ratio, but allow a larger aperture.