@Leene: There is no standard or easy way to answer this question. Every photographer has a different business model, so it’s impossible to compare “apples to apples.”
1. Some photographers include a free E session when you book them as your wedding photographer. This is a good way to get to know each other and the photographer has already included the cost of this service in the price of their wedding package. What you actually get out of it can and will vary drastically photographer to photographer.
2. When booking an E session separately from your wedding photography, the packages can also vary. Here is some insight:
2a. Front end loaded – The photographer charges a fixed fee and offers a session with a CD of the images
2b. Back end loaded – The photographer charges a low fee for the session only, and then charges you extra for the CD, or supplies you a proofing gallery of the images with hopes that you will buy prints and products to get them up to the sales point they desire.
2c. Photographer gives you a session at cost or at a loss in hopes to earn your business as your wedding photographer.
2d. Quality vs Quantity – Some photographers do what is called “shoot and burn.” I see that a lot on here, and what they snap is what you get. Most newbies tend to overshoot and supply the customer with many more images than necessary. Other photographers will take time and edit every image, cull down to the best images, and supply the customer with only the very best, carefully and meticulously edited. Every image is unique. You tend to see this more with photographers that are well versed in portraiture. Photographers focusing on events only, tend to have the “batch” edit mindset, processing through as many images as they can as quickly as possible.
2e. What you get out of it is generally directly proportional to what the cost is. When I do E sessions, I either supply the client with a number of finished images, or I show them a proofing gallery of the entire session and let them pick their favorites for me to edit and supply them with. I don’t release unedited work. Either way, I think somewhere around 20-30 quality finished images is appropriate for a 1 hr shoot.
2d. There is nothing wrong with only getting 15 images, if the images are quality. I doubt you will “use” or print more than 15 unique images even if you had a much larger selection to choose from. As you said, the pricing breaks down to only $10 an image and THAT IS A STEAL. The photographer is certainly not pricing for profit here and is probably offering this to you as a loss. No photographer can stay afloat offering 1 hr portrait sessions and only making $125 of them. Most photographers or retouchers will charge more than $10 just to retouch an image. Here you are getting the image electronincally that you can use and print over and over again instead of paying a one time fee of 20, 30, or even 50 dollars for a professional print, plus you are getting the photographers time for the photography session. Included in that fee is also the photographers travel, overhead expenses, time to process images, and get the CD to you. If you like the work, this is a no brainer to me and I don’t know what more you can ask for.
If you are hung up on the images, ask for a proofing gallery so you can select the 10 you want edited and finished, or ask if you can have 20 or 25 images for a modest cost adder.