Professionalism is a long word that can be summed up as a standard. With everything, we do there is some standard to measure against. Whether that is running a race or grocery shopping the outcome can be compared to the past or others doing the same activity.
With Professionalism it is a standard of excellence. There is a lot of ways to skin a cat, the saying goes, although at the end of the day there are only a few efficient ways to do it that will give you the desired outcome every time. When the word professionalism is stated most individuals think of a man in a suit that is well pressed and matches well with an in-style look. I challenge you to think about professionalism as a standard in almost every activity you complete in life. It could be a Wednesday night dinner or taking your wife out for a date night. There will always be an easy way and a way that takes extra intention and foresight. Professionalism is about using foresight to understand all of the layers of the activity and how they will impact the outcome of the activity. The reason a great looking suit is professional is that it was bought with intention and if it needed to be tailored it was. The owner of the suit also needs to have the foresight to care for the suit by having it dry cleaned and press if it is going to make a great impressing every time it is worn.
As a photographer, I am normally shaking my head at the photos used online to sell products. It is easy to take a photo with your phone with a little practice staging a product. Nevertheless, it will be clear to us the photos and brands that have a professional standard upheld.
When comparing this photo to the standard of needing a photo that shows the product for sale it checks all the boxes. You can read the label and the tone of the photo is “rugged”. The difference for a professional standard is the intention and foresight of understanding the product’s brand and capturing that in the product photo. Some background on the photo below, it was captured on a trip thousands of miles from my home. The time of day and light was carefully thought out. This photo was one of about 20 taken trying different framing of the product and landscape trying to build a story into the photo. In short, it is something I spent hours thinking about and planning.
Most of us know professionalism when we see it though we have a hard time putting it into words. Moving forward from today for every activity you do in the next day take the time to think about the standard you are comparing the outcome to. Maybe even choose one activity you enjoy and work towards that standard known as professionalism. Dust off that gifted cookbook and take the time to go to the high-end grocery store to prepare a dinner no one will forget anytime soon. Yes, it takes time, thought, and effort to be a professional. The good news is that the more items you invest time into the more depth there will be in your life. People will give you more positive attention and you will develop a community around yourself that will help improve almost all other areas of your life.
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