Merry Plaza Studio, Bangkok. My wife had chosen them on price. 4 dresses were used, with make up and hair work.
The photographer used the latest Canon SLR but then a 24-70 mm Zoom! I was shocked to see the guy didn't even bother framing the shots properly. Just rely on the guy doing PS to cut away the surplus.
As has been pointed out, the equipment (including the zoom lens) is not the issue. The 24-70/2.8L is one of the better lenses out there, zoom or prime. The real issues are the photographer, and your failure to see whether you liked his style. Sloppy framing and the resulting need to crop heavily will degrade image quality far more than the lens. But unless the photographer handled your shoot differently than he did those used in his portfolio, you should direct your complaints to the nearest mirror.
Every photographer has a different style. Some use more post-processing in Photoshop than others. Many clients (mostly women) prefer the look of smoothed skin; others, (mostly men) like "real" skin. When I meet with a client, I display images that represent my preferred style, and the client either hires me or doesn't on that basis. If the photographer showed you heavily processed/smoothed images when you met with him, (you DID meet with him prior to the shoot, didn't you?) then you have zero grounds for complaint if that's what you got from him. The same applies if you let your wife select the photographer and didn't bother to look at his work beforehand. If you hired a photographer whose style you dislike, but didn't bother to ascertain what that style was beforehand, then you need to quit whining about the results you got.
You state that you asked the photographer to avoid PS, but unless you specify exactly what you mean (like "I don't want a lot of retouching or skin smoothing done") you probably aren't going to accomplish much with such a vague request. Photoshop is an integral part of any serious digital photographer's workflow, and insisting that it not be used at all is sort of like telling a race car driver he can race, but can't start the car's engine. The other thing you haven't mentioned is what your wife may have told the photographer, or how satisfied she is with the photos. She's far less likely to want unretouched "real" skin than you are, as most women regard the "real" look as very unflattering, especially women who are not 24-year-old supermodel/Playmate material.
Regarding the complaints about lighting during the shoot, I would say that the most annoying client possible is the back seat driver who is more focused on correcting the photographer's "errors" than cooperatively participating in the session. The use of reflectors to fill shadows is a common and long-standing practice in portrait lighting, especially outdoors where using an equivalent amount of flash power may be impractical. A well-placed reflector can significantly improve the lighting on the subject, but like any continuous lighting, may seem excessively bright and uncomfortable for the subject. Be a man and suck it up; endure a little momentary discomfort for the sake of a better photo and let the photographer do his job. And modern lenses are good enough that spill from a reflector hitting the lens may not cause any appreciable amount of flare. If you're obsessing about probable non-problems and focused on micromanaging the photographer's job for him, you are not likely to photograph well, regardless of who is behind the camera. Your photos are guaranteed to suck, and you are very likely to frustrate and annoy the photographer unnecessarily.
The real key to satisfaction is to find and hire a competent photographer whose style and artistic sensibilities match your own, regardless of whether said photographer is the lowest bidder. And when you go to the shoot, butt out of the photographer's business and let him do his job. Be focused on doing what YOU need to do to make the shoot a success, not on every little thing you think the photographer is doing wrong. Get out of his way and let him do his job, and you will both be much happier with the experience and the resulting images.