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I'm inexperienced with portraits and lighting, too. I wanted to get more of a feel for it, which is why I started experimenting with this.
I was going for a little less light on one side of the face (whether that was well-executed or not...I'm not sure). I only have one flash, and I placed it off the camera up above my head and to the right of the frame, with a little homemade diffuser on it. Then, I had a pair of lamps with the very white CFL bulbs in them to the left side of the frame and slightly below my face, so I wouldn't get TOO much shadow on that side.