Creative, Story Telling Wedding Photography in Calgary Alberta

Can you spot the professional?

I hate to shave but the real twist here is that I also hate facial hair. There is this point where it becomes just an annoyance, itchy, food catcher etc. So what does this have to do with photography and more specifically being a “professional” photographer?  Or how does one recognize “professionalism”? Is it a quality you can see like the way some one looks? The flash and style of their website? The music on their website (personally I hate websites with music and the first thing I do is turn it off or navigate away)? So how do you know “professionalism” . . . Well . . .

You see I travel many circles, I am a father who takes his son to school every day, a husband that drives his wife to work, an outdoor photographer that spends a lot of time out in nature, an artist who exhibits and visits exhibitions, an avid longboard skater, snowboarder, and a “professional” portrait and wedding photographer. That adds up to a lot of looks! I don’t and cannot mix all the looks it wouldn’t make sense. Outdoor clothes are expensive and technical but look like . . . outdoor clothes, usually not the thing I am shooting a wedding in. Skate clothes are just that, usually T-shirt and jeans and the cheaper the better, somehow looking somewhat in fashion. Work clothes are expensive and need to look “Professional” I tend to save them for work or events or . . . well you get the picture.

So what’s the point? Oh yeah shaving, and er “professionalism” . . . and what does any of this have to do with it?  “Professional” doesn’t come in a store, a size or a colour, “Professional” isn’t your camera, your car, your website or any of this. So what is it? It is an inner quality that cannot be seen but has to be experienced. It is a work ethic, a philosophy a skill, and many more qualities. Professionalism has no one simple definition.

So where does a “look” come into “professional”? . . . Well contrary to popular belief there really isn’t a look but there is a time when one look is better than another. As a “professional” I need to know when it is appropriate to be in T-shirt and jeans and when to be in business clothes. I also need to know my clients if I am shooting a casual beach wedding I cannot show up in a suit and loafers (I’ll never wear loafers!) I need to look like I belong there not stick out like a sore thumb. One of the worst things I could do is out dress a bride and groom.

So what does being “professional” mean to me? Well, being a “professional” has little or nothing to do with looks and everything to do with attitude and some skill doesn’t hurt either. What do I mean by attitude? Well, a willingness to go the extra mile in every aspect. It starts with the first meeting, it continues during the shoot and doesn’t end after the packages and collections have been delivered. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes it’s tiring, sometimes the light or the weather doesn’t cooperate, sometimes the client doesn’t cooperate(but we never say that) . . . a “professional” doesn’t let that stop them from getting the job done. Professionals keep trying, they keep brainstorming, they keep problem solving, and they keep . . . being “professional”!

So how do you recognize a “professional” photographer? If you rely on their look then I think you could be in for a disappointment. Is it their equipment, how about their studio, or maybe their car? If you met me on the bike path with my skateboard I bet you wouldn’t remember my scruffy beard or my tattered appearance but something more about my personality and if you happen to be looking for a photographer, I am confident that we would set up a discovery meeting.  At this meeting I would of course show up shaved, dressed well and looking . . . well . . . “professional” but more importantly I would be “professional” . . .

Jeffrey Wilkins, Professional Calgary AB Photographer

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