David Valdez enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he was trained as a photographer. He served with the 836th Combat Support Group for four years, and then earned a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park. In 1983, he became the personal photographer to then-Vice President George Bush. In 1988, President Bush appointed Valdez Director of the White House Photo Office. During this administration, he traveled to 75 countries and all 50 states with the President. In 1997, he published George Herbert Walker Bush: A Photographic Profile.