We haven't received the digital photos, yet, as the wedding was just last week, Oct. 7, 2017; however, I didn't want to wait for them before submitting a review of our experience using James R Byrd. I can always add to this review and share some of his pictures at a later date. Obviously, I don't have any pictures to share regarding the quality of his work, but there are other reviewers on this site who have submitted lovely examples of his work.
What I do want to share with other potential clients is that I chose James over several other bidders because of the wonderful reviews he already had and because I was particularly interested in his talent for taking pictures in a natural setting. Our daughter's wedding was an outdoor affair, a backyard wedding on their property next to a pond! Taking outdoor pics requires a lot of extra patience and unique camera skill due to the unpredictability of the weather and the uncontrolled light availability, which greatly affect a photographer's ability to capture the best shots. Since James was clearly skilled in how to use his equipment and his experience to adapt to natural settings, I felt that he was a good choice for us.
James also was very easy to reach - whether it was through this website, email, or even on his cell phone! He was immediately responsive to our initial questions and concerns, and I will admit that another perk was that his fee fit well within our limited budget. His fee included 8 hours of his time, compared to other photographers who charged extra after the first 4 hours. While his current services do not include some specific amenities often available from other professional photograhy companies (various packages that include actual prints, canvas mounted pictures, or pre-made wedding photo albums from which to choose), we felt that what he does provide fit our needs the best. In this more modern world of higher-tech, we really were more interested in having digital copies of the entire wedding day, along with a selection of digital copies that he "gives a professional touch up" to provide us with plenty of choices for us to use to create our own albums and prints. This allows the photographer to offer a lower fee option to the client who has a limited budget. During our search, we noticed that other photographer's who did offer certain "basic" packages that included just the digital disk copies, which also included the extra collection of the photographer's choice of special touched up photos, like James's, were still higher in their prices because they doubled their fees after 4 hours. The fact that James was willing to be contracted for the entire 8 hours without raising his fee was a PLUS for us! Additionally, James uses preliminary time to "scope out" the scene in order to better plan his picture schedule, which may change depending upon the options available in a "back yard" setting.
My daughter's wedding day started off with rain - it had rained for two days prior and didn't stop until about a couple hours before the ceremony. That caused James to have to be creative about many of the pre-wedding pics. Then, to everyone's delight, the gray clouds disappeared and the warm golden sun (who had been invited to the wedding) shone down upon us in full glory, allowing the natural beauty of the early autumn colors to pop and the serene pond to sparkle! Of course. While this brought smiles to everyone's faces, it did mean that James had to suddenly work with the many reflections of the sun's glare! Still, he quickly improvised and moved us around a bit. I can't wait to see the pictures that James took, as he really had to be so very creative and flexible with the elements! Because I had already seen examples of his work online, I feel optimistic that he was able to capture some good pictures within the changing natural scene.
I should also add that James is a very friendly young man who is sensitive to the various goings on of the wedding festivities and is able to adjust his timing for various pictures appropriately. We wanted him to feel very comfortable as we would want any guest to feel, and we made sure that he took some breaks and had time to make himself a plate of food from the buffet, etc. Still, he was mainly focused upon using his time to grab the best pictures that were possible in the craziness of the venue - people all over the yard, children under-foot, some people visiting at the tables set up under various tents, the night-time dancing, etc.
I think that anyone who is doing a DIY wedding, especially an outdoor one and/or one within a controlled budget, ought to consider James R Byrd as their photographer bevause he is very flexible, considerate, easy to work with, and very focused upon his craft. I promise to revisit my review and upload some pictures! Can't wait!!