I found as you, but then I bought a developing tank kit and a dark changing bag and develop my own film. The whole affair, chemistry and all, stores in a large box.
I use my regular ink jet printer, a very inexpensive HP job, with 4x6 and 5x7 photo paper. Using black ink only using the very limited printer controls, I get decent prints.
I have saved money over sending it out, and have all the challenge that I need to keep my interest.
Start by choosing a film that seems to offer what you are looking for in tone & grain, and stick with it over and over. Make lots of mistakes and learn from them.
This forum is a great place to discuss mistakes and learn from those who seem to know how to control film.
Originally Posted by seany65
Which means I have a choice of two things:
1) Find a lab that takes instructions.
2) Choose films which have the charactaristics that I want (possibly for specific shoots/projects I have in mind) which I can then modify with filters as occasion may suggest, and hope the basic labs I can pay for can print the pics to a reasonable standard.
I haven't really got the money for No.1 so all I'm left with is No.2.