Picture perfect: Montgomery City native enjoys time in the photography business

Theo Tate

Montgomery City native Scott Schaefer poses with musician Jerry Lee Lewis at a concert in Greenville, S.C., in 2018. SUBMITTED PHOTO

After enjoying an outstanding photojournalism career that included 15 Emmy awards and the Edward R. Murrow award, Scott Schaefer decided to open his own photography studio in 2015.

The Montgomery City native can thank Megan Murphy-Judy for that.

“She’s kind of been the backbone pushing me,” Schaefer said.

Murphy-Judy, who works as a morning anchor at KOMU-TV in Columbia, was one of Schaefer’s first customers. Schaefer took pictures of Murphy-Judy’s family gathering and wedding.

“She was my first family shoot for pay and first wedding for pay,” Schaefer said.

Now, Schaefer is enjoying a successful photography business called Schaefer Photography, which he co-owns with his wife, Shannon.

“It keeps growing each year,” Schaefer said. “We shoot around Columbia. I still shoot for several people back home in Montgomery every once in a while, different families and even high school classmates who are still around mid-Missouri.”

Schaefer currently lives in Columbia. He also works in the marketing department for Veterans United Home Loans.

Schaefer graduated from Montgomery County High School in 2001 and earned a Bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia three years later. He said after graduating from high school, he wanted to work as the organist for the St. Louis Cardinals. Schaefer worked as a backup organist to Ernie Hayes in 2006 and 2007.

“But that didn’t pay enough for a full-time job,” Schaefer said. “Then, I had some interest in applying, but I didn’t picture myself being away from my family all of the time. I was doing the journalism thing and that was more inspired by Jack Buck, who used to be the Cardinals’ broadcaster. I really liked him and that’s how I ended up at journalism.”

Schaefer first got interested in photojournalism while attending MU.

“I’ve always been around cameras,” Schaefer said. “There are some other people who have video cameras. I didn’t know I wanted to do video photography stuff until I graduated from MU in the broadcast journalism program. Obviously from there, we had to learn how to do everything, record, anchor and write and interview through all of the skillsets of journalism with TV at Channel 8. The writing was always the hardest part, so I would get stressed at deadlines. But I started realizing that I do like videos way better than my classmates. This is an easy part. So I started focusing more on that.”

Schaefer started his career as a photojournalist at KOMU. He also shot for NBC Sports.com, ESPN, Entertainment Tonight and Fox Sports Midwest among others.

While working at KOMU, Schaefer got to travel to Vietnam, Africa and Guatemala to work on assignments. He said working with Sarah Hill was one of the biggest highlights during his tenure at the Columbia station.

“We always worked together on several stories and we just made a really good team,” Schaefer said. “She would come up with a story idea most of the time. Then, we go out and shoot the story and she writes the script based on the video. She would do the first run of the edit, then I would do the polishing of the story.”

Schaefer has met numerous celebrities during his career, including Jerry Lee Lewis, who is one of his favorite singers.

“I always tell people who ever thought a kid from Montgomery County would be standing next to Air Force One and the President’s limousine and things that you only have seen on TV,” Schaefer said. “To be able to have those opportunities, I’m grateful to be able to see and witness the history here and there. It just shows you that you can do whatever you set your mind to and if you want to be good at something, just keep working hard.”  


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PO Box 190
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