Process your wedding jobs?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by kwmullet, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Which of you process the film from your wedding jobs?

    The last most recent wedding we did was the first one since we stopped doing digital capture and went totally to film.

    Here's the situation. I shoot HP5 @ ei800, Dianna shoots chromogenic as rated. I'm almost certain the lab didn't push my film when they ran it. I'm generally satisfied with everything this lab does, as far as labs go, and "push 1 stop" was specified on the order sheet, but we were charged for every item but a push charge, and the negs all look a bit thin and are a little harder to print that I would have expected.

    I'm confident I could come up with better negs than the machines at the lab, since I do all my development by inspection, but geeze, that would probably add many days onto the workflow. For six hours of shooting, our roll count was 8 rolls (we still shoot 35mm at weddings) of HP5 and 3 rolls of PortraVC for me and 5 rolls of either PortraBW or T400CN for Dianna.

    Regardless, I'd be sending the C41 stuff to the lab, but I'm tempted to try and tackle processing all the conventional b&w stuff myself.

    Here's another wrinkle. In our wedding package, we include a CD with a JPEG of every frame we've shot. We get these "proof CDs" from the lab with the processing, so for us, it's an easy way to avoid making a bunch of lab machine orders. They can take the CDs to WalMart or Eckerds and get as many prints as they want. It's the custom print orders we're interested in. I've got a 35mm film scanner that'll do the job just fine, but still, there's the time element. One of the reasons I stopped doing digital capture is that I'd much rather spend my time doing something OTHER than pushing pixels around on a PC (well... Mac.)

    Since film usage is way less for a portrait session, it's a no-brainer for me to do the processing for those jobs. It's the wedding stuff I'm in a quandry over.

    summary: who processes their own wedding film and why? Between wedding and portrait film, do you process one and not the other?

    -KwM-
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    If you haven't already take issue with the lab over the non push on your HP5. An any time you have a special process write it on the roll or cannister with a sharpie pen so the lab tech will see somethings up and possibly double check even if the instructions weren't passed down the chain of command properly.

    If a lab wants your business that means earning your trust, which means doing what they are told to do!

    As far as the wedding business if you can trust your lab you can make more money by shooting more instead of doing the footwork in the darkroom. Save your darkroom skills for special projects.
     
  3. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    now that's a good idea. I could make up a few sheets of "push one stop" stickers and plaster them on every roll I want pushed before they go to the lab.

    Also -- I notice that the desk person (this is The Color Place in Dallas) yellow highlighted every instruction on the envelope *except* the push instruction. The speed racers in the processing line are probably used to scanning the envelopes visually and looking only at the highlighted instructions. That's another thing I can make sure happens.

    This is why I hate to change labs. You have to spend several jobs learning the particular workflow and culture of that lab so you can communicate with each other.
    Everything else they do works fine for me. I used them for many jobs when we first started out, then I got distracted by digital capture and Kodak Proshots. Ugh.

    -KwM-
     
  4. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    I only develop IR films by myself for weddings the rest goes to a pro lab wich I'm almost happy!
     
  5. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    I never send real B&W film to a lab. Everything in B&W that I've ever been paid for (or that I do for myself, for that matter) I've done in my own darkroom from start to finish, be it film developing, proofs, or enlargements. When I shoot a wedding, I send out the color stuff, and I don't use C41 B&W film, so everything that's B&W goes home with me and stays there. I keep good records on developing and printing, and haven't had to tell anyone that their film "just didn't come out" since I started this many years ago. It's a lot of work sometimes, (350 engagement announcement pictures for one client last month), but I know it's done right.

    Dean
     
  6. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    KW if you want a stainless steel canister and top with reels (for 35mm and 120) you can have them for a meager as I won't have to deal with any shipping. Say $5. That's cheaper than you can buy just one of the reels for.
     
  7. David R Munson

    David R Munson Member

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    Twice I've shot weddings and twice I've sworn I was going to send the film to a lab the next time. And I still swear, the next wedding I shoot, the film goes to the lab...
     
  8. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I've shot about 500 weddings and could not afford the time to develop and proof them. I printed all the final prints in both B&W and in color but developing is too much of a time waster.

    I agree with glbeas, find a great lab and clearly mark everything.

    You'll burn out if you start processing all this stuff yourself. Part of this job is farming out stuff that can be done cheaper (time wise) and concentrating on the part that needs high quality.

    I used the same lab for 9 years for developing and never once had a problem although we've all heard horror stories. (like when someone stole the pickup drivers car on a Saturday and 60 weddings were lost.)


    My two cents,



    Michael McBlane
     
  9. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Oh Yes!

    Too bad I didn't start this thread a day earlier. I'm about to hit the sack so I can wake up at 3:30 or 4 and start processing before kiddo wakes up.

    I mainly need the reels, though, Jeremy. I'll find some cheap rubbermaid something or other to put them in during processing, since I stay dark during processing and don't even put a lid on my tanks. In fact, when I do sheet film, I line up a bunch of clear plastic CD cubes that are just the right size to hold a stack of stainless steel 4x5 holders.

    Then again... maybe I can do minimal agitation and development by inspection with a stack of reels if all the film was exposed similarly, for the same job at the same time. I could inspect the top reel, then assume about the rest of the stack based on it.

    Does anyone who does DBI have an opinion about whether that idea will work?

    -KwM-