Joseph (Joe) M. Tessmer

Master Photographer, M. Photog.

Photographic Craftsman, Cr. Photog.

Certified Professional Photographer, C.P.P.

Associate Fellow of Photography, A.F.P.

Tessmer of Fairfax Sweeps Recent Awards:

Tessmer of Fairfax wins Best of Show

At the recent competition for professional photographers in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia Master Photographer Joseph (Joe) Tessmer won best of show, two prints tied for first place and his 4th print won a 2nd place ribbon.

Tessmer of Fairfax Named Best Social Event/Wedding Photographer

The Virginia Professional Photographers Association honors Tessmer of Fairfax

It has often been said that Tessmer of Fairfax has lots of laurels they just don't rest on them. To prove the point the Virginia Professional Photographers Association has awarded JoeTessmer one of the highest awards a photographer can receive. Best social event photographer. Social events include weddings, anniversaries, parties and funerals.

Artistic and Financial Success in the Photographic Profession:

May 16, 2011, sponsored by the Professional Photographers of America

It's the little things that make the difference. Producing and marketing outstanding photography can depend on hundreds of small decisions that have a large effect on your overall success. The selection and use of equipment, making the best use of your website and social networking sites…all contribute to your success. Join Cyndy and Joe, two Best of Show winners, for their useful insights into these details. To register go to

Joe's Biography

Joseph (Joe) M. Tessmer was introduced to photography on his eighth birthday by his grandfather Waldo E. Schoessel. Waldo Schoessel had established the family photographic business in 1919, hoped to encourage Joe's interest in the art and science of photography. Joe's birthday present, a Kodak Hawkeye camera was to play a significant role in his development. At the age of fourteen, Joe's Aunt encouraged him to start developing and printing his own photographs. As a teenager, the world famous Bachrach photographer Arnold G. Harms encouraged and promoted Joe's photographic talent. It was in this period that Joe started to develop an interest in wedding photography. His first commercial wedding assignment was in 1963 at the age of 17. Shortly after his first wedding, Joe won his first, of over one hundred, distinguished photographic awards.

About this time, due to a heart condition, Waldo Schoessel moved the family business from the local shopping center into his home. With the help of his wife, Thora McDannell, Waldo changed the focus of the business from that of general photographic studio and store to a specialized business concentrating on elegant portraiture of adults, teens, and children.

Joe had a serious interest in the family photography business and after completing a rigorous academic education in the sciences, turned his attention to Winona, the school of Professional Photography. He has developed an elegant style of photography much like his mentors' David and Linda Smith. In addition, he has studied his craft with world famous photographers Al Gilbert, Stewart and Susan Powers, Don Blair, Charles Green, Bob Stevenson, Monty Zucker, Ed Pierce, and Glenn Dreesen among others.

Certification, Degrees and Service


Joe is a Certified Professional Photographer/PPA Certified. A credential that only 3% of all American professional photographers have earned. The certification process includes in depth personal and professional investigations, a series of written examsMASTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY   PHOTOGRAPHIC CRAFTSMAN, frequent evaluation of the photographers photographs, and continuing education requirements. This provides the first guarantee to the client for professional photography. Joe has received the coveted degree of Photographic Craftsman, in recognition of achieving the highest standards of professional performance in the photographic profession, from the Professional Photographers of America, PPA. In 1993 Joe was inducted into the Virginia Professional Photographers Hall of Fame. Six years later, in 1999, the Virginia Professional Photographers Association awarded Joe the distinguished Associate Fellow of Photography Degree for outstanding photography. In 2004 Joe was awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a professional photographer, the Master of Photography Degree.

The American Society of Photographers, ASP, has among the highest standards for membership of any professional photographic organization in the world. The requirements for membership require several years to complete, at a minimum a nationally recognized professional degree in photography is required. Joe was nominated and accepted for membership in the summer of 1998 and has been an active member since that time. He is a nationally recognized photojournalist, a member of the National Press Club and the White House News Photographers Association.

Joe completed his term as Governor of the Virginia Professional Photographers Association in 2001 and is a past vice president, treasurer and current board member of the Professional Photographic Society of Greater Washington, the local affiliate of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). He has taught several courses in photography for Winona, the school for the PPA and was an adjunct graduate professor of photography with the consortium of Washington area colleges and universities. Joe has been a guest lecturer on portraiture for publications of the Smithsonian Institution. He has also written articles on the techniques of professional photography for Lens Magazine and the Virginia Professional Photographer and is a leading lecturer in the field.

Awards and Publications

Joe's photography has won major awards at local, state, national and international competitions including several prestigious Court of Honor Awards at the Southeastern Professional Photographers Association. At the 2010 - 2011 competition for professional photographers in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia, Joe's four prints took several honors, Best of Show, two prints tied for 1st place and the 4th print came in second. In addition, Joe has been named the best Social Event/Wedding photographer in Virginia by the Virginia Professional Photographers Association:

best wedding photographer

Joe's work has been featured on ABC and the Oprah Winfrey show. Occasionally his work has appeared on the cover of international magazines. In a single month Joe had over 190 of his photographs published in magazines. He is currently available for assighments within the USA and in non-war-zone areas around the world.

Joe's personal service to his clients combined with his unmatched photographic skill and good humor has made Joe the professional photographer of choice in the Washington metropolitan area.