Photos are crucial for audience engagement. Getting the right shots requires strong collaboration between editorial and photography. I asked my friend and professional photographer Martha Hoelzer to share her advice for working with photographers.

Photo of decorative gourds by Martha Hoelzer and used with permission on The Word Factory blog.
It's decorative gourd season! (c) Martha Hoelzer

Advice for collaborating with photographers

1. Develop a concept. What images do you want to capture? How are the images going to be used? For the web, print, billboard, promotion? Gather images or ideas onto a Pinterest board to share as needed. This helps the photographer think creatively about angles and styles they may want to capture for you. It can also help them focus specifically on what is important.

2. Communicate expectations. Set up a meeting or phone call to discuss vision and requirements. Share your budget so the photographer can determine how to best work with you and help you accomplish your goals. Review your deadlines, if any, in advance to eliminate frustrations.

3. Keep an open mind. Photographers are creatively vision-driven. For instance, when having a headshot taken, you may be positioned in a way that feels completely unnatural or unauthentic to you. Trust the professional -- usually, the final result looks very different and positive! Also be open to shooting with more (or only) natural light. Mother Nature is often at her best earlier in the morning and toward dusk. Think of amazing sunsets you may have enjoyed watching. Those golden glows can warm a face, product or landscape thus transforming an image.

Creating something is exciting and a fun challenge not only for the photographer and the writer.

Martha Hoelzer is a professional photographer based in Chapel Hill, N.C., and working around the world. Check out her commercial photography.

A lovely seaside scene shot by Martha Hoelzer and used with permission in a guest post on The Word Factory blog.
(c) Martha Hoelzer