You know, jaylovessteez, as a photog, I usually consider the engagement session kind of a trial run, where the photographer and client get to know each other and feel comfortable with each other. This might be a good thing, in terms of your wedding, because you know that you want him to do more poses or if you see something you don’t like, maybe ask if he can avoid that.
As far as the editing … yikes, I don’t know if there’s much you can do about that. I think that, from a technical standpoint, the black and white one is nicely toned contrasted (and your hair is GORGEOUS–I am jealous!), but the color one looks less manipulated. My feeling is that most photographers edit to the top of their ability–there just not be much else that he does with them. Do you feel like the pics he took of you guys look basically like the rest of his work? If so, I’d say that’s probably just how it is.
I think there are a few positives here, though. He was VERY fast. I know a lot of people don’t like waiting on their pics (I keep them waiting a little since I’m so fussy with editing, and trust me, I know how excited people are for pics!), so it sounds like you’ll have most of yours right away.
The other thing that’s REALLY good news here is that the pictures are technically solid. The lighting is good, they’re in focus, the exposure is right–you’d be amazed at how often those basic things can be a problem for “pro” photographers. Every photographer has different strengths and weaknesses, and it could just be that he’s not that into editing, or he isn’t very creative or experienced with posing. (Using those as examples since those were your issues–obviously I can’t say about the photog based on just two pics.) The less edited photos are probably helping to keep your cost down, since that’s not huge amounts of hours he’s spending after the wedding, and on the actual wedding day, posed shots are going to be a very, very small part of the day. Most of it will be him following you around, documenting the day and the special moments, and in that regard, a good, technically proficient photographer is a good thing to have. I really think that you’re going to be fine.
Here’s my advice to you–consider the e-session a mulligan. If you’re cruising blogs and boards and stuff and you see posed wedding pictures that you really like, don’t be afraid to send them to your photog and ask if he’d be willing to recreate them or use them as inspiration. On your wedding day, try not to worry. Just make sure that he’s getting pics of all the action (I’m sure he will be), and trust that all the pics are going to come out fine. When you’re done with the wedding, and all the expense, if you’re not thrilled with the posed pics, maybe think about hiring a photographer to do some pictures of you in your dress and hubby in either a nice shirt and tie, and go out to different fun locations and just have fun with it. I’ve had several brides do that with me, and it’s always a great time, and then they feel the dress gets all the poses and action it deserves, and I bet you could find a good price on that. It’s not necessary, but if you’re anything like me, maybe you’ll just feel better feeling like there’s a backup plan in place. Good luck!