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Life & Work with Tressa Scharf

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tressa Scharf.

Hi Tressa, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Creativity was something that was always encouraged during my childhood through different artistic mediums, whether it was photography, drawing, writing, dance, music, and so on. One of the defining moments for me was my grandpa giving me a 35 millimeter point and shoot camera when I was about six years old– I took it everywhere and simply documented life. I still have photos I took at my great grandma’s house when I went to visit, and from a trip up to Lake Arrowhead back then! Over the years, I continued to upgrade my digital cameras and having a camera on me at all times just felt natural. I ended up going to college for journalism/writing and after two years in, I felt like I wasn’t where I was supposed to be and took a chance on applying to UCLA’s Arts + Architecture department with the absolutely horrible portfolio that I had. I’m not sure who let me in, but if it was me judging my own portfolio images, I wouldn’t have, but I’m a harsh critic. That was when it all really started for me– I started taking photos more seriously: I had my first major job for a fashion brand (spoiler alert, it didn’t go well in the end, haha), I had a job writing about and taking photos of bands and art for a LA agency, it all started with fashion and evolved from there. I used to take pretty much any photo job, but being a photographer for so many years, I found what I truly love and have narrowed it down to photographing couples in love for elopements and engagements, as well as lifestyle portraits. I met my husband while we both worked at a clothing store and we sort of started talking because of our mutual love for photography, he had graduated from film school and helped me with my manual film camera. Now we photograph most things together as a team, so it all feels very full circle. I do what I love for a living and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think having a creative profession is almost always a long and difficult road trying to get to where you want to be. I started down this path about 10 years ago, and this year I FINALLY feel like I’m in the position that I’ve dreamed of since the very beginning. I did miscellaneous things for work up until three years ago when I went full-time with photography. Social media platforms like Instagram have gained popularity and that’s an essential tool in my business and brings in the majority of my clients, after word of mouth referrals. But before that, I had no idea how to draw people to my services or what I was doing in general, so I only worked as a photographer part-time. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and help myself, but not everyone has the same journey and what comes to one person easily might not be the same for another. It has been a learning process for sure; I’m grateful to be at this point in my career, there’s still so much room for growth and endless possibilities. I also absolutely love being my own boss.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m an intimate wedding, elopement and lifestyle photographer based in Southern California + traveling worldwide! I mostly specialize in couples in love, but I’m a big fan of taking creative portraits in general. I have a documentary-style approach that’s very organic and intentional, with an emphasis on adventure and beautiful outdoor locations for each session or elopement. My favorite images are those that evoke a strong emotion that you can feel through the photo. What sets me apart I think, is my background in art, almost everything I see I think of in terms of art. I’m also very laid back and hands-off, which some people might like and others might not. But I do this purposefully to create the space for anyone in front of my camera to be themselves, instead of who I tell them to be through posing.

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
My “fun fact” I always share is that I was born on Halloween (spooky people of the world unite). I love my two dogs, animals in general, cooking, national parks, traveling, cacti + succulents, decorating my house, Disneyland, shopping, thrifting, The Office and Friends, trying new plant-based restaurants, and I’m a huge homebody. If we have similar qualities and/or likes, reach out to your girl and let’s get lost and create magic together!


  • Sessions start at $550 and Elopements start at $1500

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