When I hire a skilled professional—like the folks who installed my bathtub last year (really sorry about the non-code stuff you found and then had to correct), I like being able to trust that they know what they are doing and can be left to execute the vision as they best see fit. My role generally consists of leaving the room or my house entirely and then showing up hours or days later for the big reveal.
The hands-off, “pro knows all” approach is one that some of my clients take when hiring me, and it works very well for certain types of projects where the outcomes are very clear and precise. But my favorite type of work tends to be more collaborative and made better through creative give-and-take during the process rather than just beforehand (Good examples are my editorial coverage of Maine Gov. Janet Mills’ campaign and the Fish + Game Changers project for the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries).
It’s fun working with agencies, who might have art director types who work closely with me to ensure the vision is evolving in the right direction. Evolving is the operative word here, because almost every remarkable project I’ve worked on has become that way because the creative partners—the client, the art director, and me, the photographer—are willing to start with the vision and then go where it naturally takes us. You have to be open to creative influence, or as author Steven Pressfield might note, you have to leave room for the Muse to do its work. Flexibility and creative collaboration are sure ways to elevate the final results of any photo or video shoot. Rigid, blinders-on thinking are sure ways to kill the creative magic.