Someone asked me what professionalism meant to me.

I didn’t have an answer right away because to me, professionalism is more a matter of words like integrity, passion, etc., which aren’t really definitive words for most people. These words are more like ideals that are unattainable in “real” life, as I’ve been told countless times. So I wanted to think of a much simpler way to define what I think constitutes professionalism.

For me, professionalism means not lying or telling the truth. A combination of courage and kindness.

What this means, as an example, from a recent experience, is that if you are not going to hire me, you tell me as much. You get brownie points of sharing your reasons and even more chocolatey gooey brownie points if you can deliver the news in a humane fashion. Courage plus kindness.

Professionalism isn’t about capability – whether, as a photographer or designer I can deliver what a client asks for. But it is about whether I am being utterly truthful with the client – if I can deliver their requirements and what I charge and how much and what they will have to compromise on if they bargain purely on a price point. Or if I am unable to deliver and can refer them to someone else without being a bitch.

Truth + Courage + Kindness = Professionalism.