Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday View Post
I do all of those things, but in fast-paced documentary weddings, you don't always have that luxury.
A little context is wonderful. You made a choice to sell to this style, nothing wrong with that. Choosing and focusing on a market is essential to succeeding in my estimation.

Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday View Post
I will make minor adjustments to the balance of composition, straightening and apply some artistic licence to the tonal range of the photograph using burns and dodges, all those things that a mini lab will not do. A bit like trying to sell a house with shabby DIY.
For weddings right now I'm really selling my camera work because it's what I'm skilled at, creative at, and what I enjoy most.

When I become truly skilled, efficient, and reliable in my developing and printing I may add those services to what I offer, but just maybe. That foray will depend purely on me being able to enjoy that work and a real business necessity. If I can get to the point of making a comfortable living in my current business model I'll probably just stick with it and save my developing and printing efforts for portrait and fine art work where I can limit the volume and maximize the profit/hour spent.

For now I build into the sale (and make a profit on) the cost of pro film and the processing costs at a high quality pro-film-lab to do my back end work to get high quality proofs for the client.

This is the end of my work as a photographer in a business sense for weddings. Past this I'm a merchant selling the services and products of others.

I will sell albums and prints, but I hire out for this and I make a merchants profit, instead of a creative's profit, to cover the work I do of organizing and selling those "commodities".

I'm happy to make those sales but many times just as happy not to because they are not the core product of my wedding business, my camera work is.

Yes, my business plan views the lab work and albums as commodities. High quality commodities, but commodities non-the-less. They are pre-priced by the labs, available to any pro, there are various labs/album companies that can do the work who competing with each other for that business, they are inexpensive (when compared to my time), and they are reliable and fast in the grand scheme of things.

This makes for what is viewed as a nice high-quality product for my market and for me. It allows me to get paid nicely for my creative work, have good quality control, to keep prices low, and to do other things like spend time selling more camera work.

This does pose a problem for people like you who do your own back-end work and who RIGHTFULLY expect to be paid creative wages for that work instead of commodity wages.

You have to be able to sell that extra value.

Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday View Post
I've had a google for wedding photographers and there are some shabby DIY photographers with logos of 'pro organisations' on the main page...cliched gimmicks and shoot and burn for pennies. I doubt very much that these guys will "inform the client of the pitfalls"
That may be true, but poor communication will bring the wrath of their clients which will either teach them to behave or drive them out of business.

What I don't see here is the connection between the shoot and burn market and the market you are selling to.

Ferraris, Chevys, and Yugos do not compete with each other. These brands market to decidedly different clienteles. The Yugo buyer isn't even going to look seriously at a Ferrari and vice-versa.

Quote Originally Posted by Gary Holliday View Post
Am I on my own for wanting to deliver the highest quality?
No, but you do have to be able to sell that "extra" level of quality to your market at a profitable volume and price or you won't be in business long.

There are very few buyers capable of or interested in buying 40 professionally printed 40 inch Ilfochomes to document a wedding.

The product may be truly stunning and of the highest quality but who could buy such a thing?