thanks for the replies.
this is in manual mode. i did try using a smaller aperture and a lower iso setting, that helped prevent overexposing the subject but wouldn't that leave my background underexposed? i was trying to match the exposure of the subject and the background, that's why i'm trying to push it with these settings
so there's a limit on how low the power of the flash can go even on ettl, i didn't know that... so if i want to shoot and get the depth that f/1.4 gives and use a shutter speed and iso setting that gives me a proper exposure on the background, what can i do to not overexpose the subject? do i need to resort to diffusers or bouncing? the problem with bouncing is that sometimes there's no decent place to bounce, sometimes it gives color casts sometimes no where to bounce at all.