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 f8 Photographic Adventure Tours for 2019 and 2021.

Contact us Today.

A short cruise from Vancover to Alaska followd by a two week land tour of Alaska and north west Canada are available for late summer of 2019. In 2021 a full world cuise from Miami to London is planned. The cruise consists of 9 unique voyages of 12 to 21 dsys. You can participate in any part. (For additional information see f8 Photographic Adventure Tours.)

Joe Tessmer is a coauhor of The Early 21st Century Guide to Portraiture

Joseph Tessmer's work is expected to benefit thousands of photographers.

Within the guide, there are llighting diagrams and detailed instructions for use by photographers at any level of expertise. The guide of instructions and illustrations contains 14 different categories.

Tessmer of Fairfax receives 2014 Southeastern Award

The Southeastern Professional Photography Association Awards Joseph Tessmer theSoutheastern Award.

Joseph Tessmer a Master Photographer and Photographic Craftsman was prsented the Southeastern Award for "Outstanding Service and Siginificant Contributions to the Photographic Industry" by SEPPA president George Singleton.

Joe's Biography

Hon. 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, Tony Sweet, and Glenn Dreesen among others.

Certification, Degrees and Service


In 1992 Joe was among the first photographers in Virginia to become 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. In 2016 the Professional Photographers of America reclassified Joe as a LIFE member. Later that same year, Joe was granted the designation/title of Honorable.

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 has completed his term with the White House News Photographers Association.

Joe completed his term as Governor of the Virginia Professional Photographers Association in 2001. In 2019 he was elected president of the Professional Photographic Society of Greater Washington, (PPSGW) the local affiliate of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). He had previously served as vice president, treasurer and board member of PPSGW. 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. He is one of the coauthors of the 21st Century Guide to Portraiture compiled by B. Lensmith

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, the last two being awarded in 2011. 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. Two of these prints were included in the prestigious loan collection. In 2011 Joe received the Governor's Award South Eastern Photographers AssociationGovernor's award from the Southeastern Professional Photographers Association. In addition, Joe has been named the best Social Event/Wedding photographer in Virginia by the Virginia Professional Photographers Association:

best wedding photographer

In 2011, Joe's award winning photography was selected by the Arts Council for the Dulles Airport Gateway Exhibition to welcome travlers to the Washington metro area.

In 2014 Joe received the Southeastern Award for Outstanding Service and Significant Contributions to the photographic industry.



In 2015 his photograph "Moon Over Manhattan" won a blue ribbon at the competion for Virginia and Washington professional photographers.


Joseph Tessmer's photograph of a dancer in Parintins, Barzil won first place in the 2017 International Travel Photography contest. The photograph was made while he was photographing villages along the Amazon.

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 assignments within the USA and in non-war-zone areas around the world.

Since 2002 Joe has been the leader of the f8 Photographic Adventure Tours around the world. The tours have included Artartica, Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, and the Americas.

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.