The short version of my story is that I picked up a camera in 2001 and couldn’t imagine not doing something with it for the rest of my life.
I’m as Type A as it gets, super weird, and a total dork who laughs, falls, and trips her way through every session. But I use that to make you chill out, have fun, and ENJOY the heck out of hanging out with me and having your picture taken.
I’m normally pretty humble, but I’m honestly freaking GREAT at my job. I’m a confetti tossing, awkward, fun, wedding obsessed PROFESSIONAL. I know when to turn the weird off and get shit done. I am someone who is going to laugh, cry and joke with you. Then I'm going to turn around and charm your mom/grumpy grandpa/pushy aunt, sweet talk that church wedding coordinator, master your timeline and just generally be there for the two of you to make your wedding experience killer.
This is the long version of my story and how I found wedding photography. I started out in 2001 with a film camera and some black and white film, taking snapshots of friends and family, processing and printing my own film by hand. From that first day in my class in high school until my last class during my two year stint at Edinboro University, I took tons of classes and built up my film portfolio, expanding into color film and portrait work, evolving with each roll of film. Despite my love of photography, I had always figured it was just a hobby and chose to major in Art History. But I never felt the same passion for any thing else. After two years, I moved back to my hometown to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life.
In 2007, I picked up my life and moved from the suburbs of Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and got my hands on my first digital camera. At that moment a whole new world opened up. I started attending a local art school and shut myself in the studio for two years and set my mind on fashion photography with dreams of my photographs gracing magazine covers and billboards. During my final year of college I was required to do a three month internship. I plastered ads on Craigslist and sent out mass e-mails to local photographers. And then I stumbled into a career I never knew I would have.
I shot my first wedding in 2007 and it was a fiasco. I understood all the horror stories immediately, the stories of drunk brides and feuding families leaving wedding wreckage in their wake. I shot that wedding and never looked back. So two years later when I began interning as a wedding photographer, I prepared myself for the worst. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised. It was amazing. It was fast paced, challenging, and filled with some of the most pleasant people I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with. No bridezillas or drunken bridal parties. I spent those three months absorbing all the knowledge I could.
So here I am, years later, still in love with wedding photography, still learning and evolving. I took an internship with the idea that it was just a stepping stone and turned it into a career I am obsessed with. I’ve been featured in the Knot, Martha Stewart Weddings, Green Wedding Shoes, Style Me Pretty, and many more, and traveled as far as Cancun, Punta Cana, Jamaica, Wyoming and Arizona for weddings. (but if you want me to photograph your backyard wedding or Pittsburgh shindig that sounds just as amazing to me)
While personality is a huge factor to me, in the end what really matters is my work. I want you to be in love with my work, I want you to look at my images and think "That is exactly what I envision!" I show my favorite images on my website, but love sharing full wedding galleries with clients. I want people to have an accurate idea of what kind of images I will be providing them with. I’m always willing to travel for my clients and I like to meet my couples (either face to face or over the phone, old school style) to make sure we click and have the same expectations before they put down a dime or sign anything. I want them to be comfortable with their choice and to walk out of our meeting feeling confident that I am the right photographer for their day.
After five years together, in March 2016 I married my awesome husband in an intimate ceremony in my old studio space. We live in Pittsburgh with our funny farm of animals (four cats and two dogs) and I love every minute of it. Being on the other side of weddings gave me a whole new perspective and changed how I run my business. I bordered on bridezilla due to stress and ended up pretty much eloping. Due to the craziness I realized what was important about weddings and what was silly. I fell in love with pretty wedding albums and the sweet emotions of a wedding day, along with all of the elements that require a lot of vision and hard work. I carry those lessons with me to every wedding. And you'll often catch me crying at the cute parts of the day since being married has made me a total sap.
-There is a very good chance that while I’m editing your wedding I am watching The Office, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn 99.
-While drinking a gallon of Vanilla Coke (#allthecaffeine)
-I love to sing at other drivers on long solo drives and when I’m creeping around the dance floor at your reception (there's a lot of 90s era rap in the mix, it surprises a lot of people)
-I judge all wedding cookie tables by the quality of the chocolate chip cookies. If you can’t make the classic, I don’t trust you to make a good buckeye either.
-I am clumsy af, and if we meet I will entertain and horrify you with tales of this. Be ready.
"We LOVE Dawn!!! I don't know how she does it, but Dawn manages to capture the most stunning photos - and quickly!!! She is such a pro and so fun to work with. Dawn shot our Wedding, Rehearsal Dinner, and our amazing Engagement Shoot. My Husband and I are not great photo takers, but somehow Dawn made it so easy, fun, and natural!! We couldn't be happier with our photos. Dawn is never afraid to go the extra mile to get the shot!! She walked through a muddy horse stable for our engagement shoot and rode around in a golf cart with us at our ceremony (one of my fav memories of the day!) the result is unique, beautiful, photos and memories that will truly last a lifetime!!! She captured our wedding beautifully from detail shots to candids. I just can't say enough about how talented Dawn is. Book her!!"
Dawn Derbyshire Photography loves love.
I strive to create an inclusive, welcoming space for my employees, vendors I work with, AND my clients of all races, religions, sexual orientations and identities. All of my clients (and their love stories) deserve respect, are cherished, and are valued by me and my business. You are welcome in my business, my life, and my heart.