About WDO Photography
Thank you for visiting WDO Photography. I'm full time professional photographer Don Orkoskey. For more than twenty years I've worked and studied photography, mastering my craft and assisting clients like you with a wide variety of photography needs. I am a teacher, a community builder, a problem solver, and a passionate advocate.
I invite you to view my work, get to know me and how I work, then contact me to talk about how we can work together to meet your needs. Read more about me and my process below.
I look forward to working with you. Thank you again for visiting. I can't wait to meet you!
Don Orkoskey, owner of WDO Photography
A Passion for Art, Design, and Photography
I have always had a passion for art, design, and photography. As a kid I owned a number of film cameras and loved to take over photography and videography duties. I would grab my mom's Polaroid camera any time she'd let me. In high school I used the money I had from a summer job to buy a fully manual film SLR, a lens, and a flash. I took my own senior photos and those of a few friends. When my art class was visited by a sales person from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh I was already considering studying photography and that sales pitch was the final push I needed.
When I graduated from high school I knew I wanted to pursue a career in photography. I enrolled at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in the fall of 1999 and finished in June 2001. I studied all manor of photography at the Art Institute including commercial, editorial, photojournalism, and fine art photography. I learned lighting, post production, how to run a studio, and all the while I was working as a photographer and taking lots of photos during my free time.
After the Art Institute I attended Point Park University. I went to Point Park to study photojournalism. I had a many great instructors there including the incredible John Beale who, at the time, worked at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. During this time I continued working as a photographer taking on any job that would pay me no matter the task. I was hungry to produce and loved being a photographer.
After Point Park while attending the University of Pittsburgh to continue my education I worked for a number of well known photographers in Pittsburgh and beyond. I photographed everything from breaking news, sports, and human interest stories for the Gateway Newspapers, suburban weekly papers that were bought by the Tribune Review before they stopped publishing printed papers. After that I worked as an photo assistant for a number of commercial and editorial photographers then as a second photographer for wedding photos, portraits and senior photos and took on some office work to help get healthcare coverage for myself and my former wife, who, at the time was finishing pharmacy school.
I founded WDO Photography in 2007. I decided to focus on events, weddings, portrait photography, and editorial work. My clients since then have included Comcast, the Atlantic Magazine, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Aux, Grow Pittsburgh, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and many others. I chose to focus on these areas because I love photographing people, hearing their stories, and helping them to understand the process that we're working through together. Most people don't like having their photos taken. I understand this and the other frustrations that come with standing in front of a camera. I choose to photograph people because I understand how to help people relax and get the most out of the experience.
Over the years I have photographed everything from intimate moments around birth, death, and all that happens in between. I have photographed movie, TV, and sports stars. I have caught critical moments that my clients could never recreate and I have spent countless hours helping clients understand how, what, and why I always deliver. I strive to make my process as clear as possible and am always happy to take extra time to ensure that my clients are comfortable.
Client Comfort & Information
Client comfort & information is vital to me. I need to know that my client's needs are being met, that they're being respected, and that they feel good about working with me. This is a big part of why I take the time to explain my process up front. Knowledge is power and I want you to know what I am doing, what we are doing, and why. Before I ever take a photo of you we will discuss your needs, your desired outcomes, what you want the photos for, and what you expect. I will walk you through my process during the photo session, my post processing, and make sure all aspects from contracting to delivery are fully understood. That is my promise. Your comfort directly leads to confidence. Knowing what to expect means that your photos will turn out exactly as you wanted.
Discounts & Pro Bono
I happily offer discounts & pro bono photography services for many local non-profits and artists whose work or mission I believe in and wish to support. Your commitment to your mission should mean keeping as much of your funding going towards serving that mission. To that end I donate services ranging from simple consultations to full service photography for events or mission-based editorial work.
I prefer to support community groups, women's health and mental health organizations, and other service based organizations. Contact me for more information or to inquire about your non-profit needs.
Advocate for Social and Political Justice
I am an advocate for social and political justice. I want to see a world where everyone is treated with respect and dignity. I believe the world needs more empathetic and compassionate people and that we can create a just and equitable world where we value each other as people. I'm not foolish enough to think this will be easy. Nor do I think that this is something that falls into the category of personal responsibility. I believe we need large-scale change to tackle things like social justice, the climate crisis, displacement, and war. Those things don't happen by people giving up straws or adjusting their thermostat. They only happen when we come together and insist that those in power listen and do as we demand.
I come from a working class background. My grandfather was a union steelworker and my great grandfathers were coal miners and immigrants. I know my roots. I have learned my history and I firmly believe in supporting working people of all stripes. This is why I am such a passionate advocate for social and political justice. I understand if that makes some people uncomfortable and if it means they won't hire me. If you're reading this and feel that way I am happy to recommend other photographers. As I said, I am an advocate for the working class. I know a lot of other photographers who work hard and produce great work and I am always happy to help them out. On the other-hand if you're reading this and feel strongly about these issues too then please contact me and let's see if we can work together to improve the world.
I love to teach and share my knowledge so in 2007 I began to teach photography classes. My first was a nature photography class in Frick Park. I had been teaching assistants, would-be-photographers, and clients for some time. That was a big part of what I did as a photographer's assistant, explain to the talent or client what we were doing and why. It was one of my favorite parts of the job.
When I started WDO Photography it was important to me to help people understand why I was doing what I was doing. I missed how much I was able to do that as an assistant until a friend asked if I would teach them nature photography. I loved the idea. I began to offer nature classes, then private lessons on all sorts of photography.
One day Lindsay, a truly incredible florist and client, asked if I ever thought about teaching new parents photography. Together we put together a multi-week class for her and a bunch of new mom's and dads. Lindsay and her family moved to New England but if you're looking for an amazing florist in Southern Maine be sure to check out Lindsay's company Yellow Twist Floral Design.
In 2019 I began teaching as the sole photography instructor for Phipps Conservatory and Botanic Gardens. At Phipps I've taught Introduction to Photography, Macro Photography, Phone Photography and more. In addition to Phipps I began teaching for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden in the summer of 2021.
My Photography Process
My photography process is centered on your comfort and understanding. From the moment we start communicating I want to know that you understand and are comfortable with my photography process. This is why I spend time talking with you, listening to you, understanding what you want and what you need. Once I understand what needs you want my assistance with I begin to offer solutions. Those solutions vary depending on if you're looking for a photographer for a family portrait, family event, corporate event, editorial service, or any other type of photographic work.
If any changes need to be made you will know as soon as I do. This usually doesn't happen but if it does I will inform you immediately and expect the same from you. If we need to reschedule, change location, deal with weather, permitting, or any other issues I will make sure that you are informed.
Day Of Process
Beforehand we will go over the day of process. Event and even family photos can be very stressful. Count on me and my team to ensure that the photography will not add to your stress. I promise a smooth process even if the unexpected occurs. Before the day we are scheduled I always go over with you how the day will go. You are in charge but I am always happy to offer advice and consultation if you have questions or concerns.
You don't need the added stress of a vendor asking you to make a decision when the unexpected comes up. This is why I always provide a day-of plan so we both understand expectations. If there are any potential unknowns or conflict points we will have already discussed how to navigate those and I can follow that plan. You can also feel more relaxed knowing that you've thought of contingencies and backup plans.
After we've completed the photography assignment that you've hired me for the post process begins. Before I ever take a photo you will know approximately when to expect your photos. If you need them by morning so they can be shared with local media we will have already discussed that. If you're going away on your honeymoon in two weeks and really want to see them first we will have already planned for this. The post process can be a stressful time because you want to see your photos. You're welcome to reach out at any time and ask for a rush if you absolutely need to move up when your photos are done we can work to accomidate you. Otherwise you'll have a solid understanding of how long the process will take.
Typical post processing doesn't take long. Your proofs should be ready in only a few days. The exception to that is a full wedding which can take up to a few weeks with a guarantee that you will see your proofs within three weeks. Additional processing, if you've requested retouching will be scheduled to fit your needs.
My process is customer centric. Your comfort is paramount. I designed my system to ensure that you never have to wonder why or when. We work together, we solve problems, we anticipate what could happen, and then I deliver the photos that you've come to expect. This is my promise to you. This is what my work, what WDO Photography is all about.
Now that you understand the process please Contact me today at 412.206.9364 or through the contact page to start the process. Thank you for visiting my website and reading about my process.
I can't wait to talk with you!