My basic definition is someone who paid for goods and services. If you are asking how I define a quality professional that changed over time. When I worked as a photojournalist for these newspaper companies, it would have been about teamwork. I would have meetings with the editors, pagination and pressmen on a daily bases to discuss, editorial needs, quality and daily deadlines. If you missed a deadline by 5 minutes you could cost the company thousands of dollars. I ran these basic concepts as a photojournalist:
(1) Be the firstest with the mostest.
(2) Shot first ask forgiveness later.
(3) When in doubt motor out.
Those days were challenging because you never knew what to expect. In one day I had a homicide to cover, a plane crash, a car crash that had gone into a river, a high school basketball game and a press conference.
Today it I do I still do journalism, but I also do editorial and commercial work. Today most my work is customer fulfillment. It is about more than meeting the customers need. It is about building the clients expectations and desires from the moment the first meeting to the shoot itself, and delivery of the images.
This week I have to shoot 40 formal portraits for business publication on location with a full studio, with a hair and makeup artist. So I have to coordinate schedules and timing. I also have 20 more portraits for a corporate client.
I have been lucky I have, been doing what I love for over 20 years. My first professional job was shooting a wedding at 16, then I put myself through college working for two papers part time, and the college information office. At 19 I photographed my first NFL game, by the time I was at a four year college I was a full time employee at a daily paper.
So I can't complain.
What I bring the table today is quality images, professionalism, product, event, commercial photography, editorial photography, photojournalism, portraits (formal, informal and environmental) video, electronic (web and mulimedia) and prepress (print) requirements.