I was recently asked by an industry magazine reporter what was the one thing I have tried to concentrate on all of these years in order to separate myself from others. I must admit that my response took a couple of minutes. I finally said "quality."
I see there is an intense desire for producing quality work that I see in everyone who is successful in photography as well as in any career. I'm referring to quality of the product you produce of course, but I am also talking about the quality of the marketing materials you use, the quality of your equipment, the quality of the people you surround yourself with, your "brand" quality, everything. Quality permeates in every area of your business.
Consider the last time you received true quality service at dinner, the airport, a retail store. It made you feel great and you may have even commented on how great their service was. The challenge is to make quality a part of your own business and personal DNA and to do it on a consistent basis treating everyone the same from the shuttle driver to the server, to the client who is having a bad day and taking it out on you. Oh and most important of all....it has to be genuine.
In terms of photography I'll pass along a quote from my long lost mentor and friend Don Blair who said "make every picture as if it is the one you wish to be remembered for." He went on to say that if we look at our work in this manner we will use better judgement, use more care and make certain that we are giving our client the very best quality we can.