My answer could be really long, so I'll try to summarize as much as possible. First and foremost, I think it's important to be true to your own voice and style as a photographer. There are no rules that say you have to shoot in a certain way, or use a certain type of camera, or process your photos a certain way. It's important to find your own groove and stick with it. That being said, I do think it's important to constantly learn and experiment with new techniques and styles - you can always improve your craft by challenging yourself in new ways.
A photographer takes pictures.
When hiring a photographer you should always look for someone with experience. You should also make sure that the photographer has a good portfolio of work to show you.