Indermaur Media, inc.
Visual Narrative
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Indermaur Media - Visual Narrative Blog by Scott Indermaur

Informational blog about techniques, ideas,industry trends, clients and projects of Indermaur Media. Written by Scott Indermaur, professional corporate photographer.

Posts in Business
Introducing Visual Thrive!
 
iPhone photography
 

Some of the best ideas come to us when we aren’t focused on anything particular – like when we’re in the shower or running…

Indermaur Media is fortunate to be able to work with lots of businesses on their professional photography needs and video introductions. I watch many of them struggle to keep up with the fast-paced demands of maintaining a strong social media presence, often posting unplanned photos and quick captions just to stay top of mind with their customers.

Companies have also shared how employees can be distracted from their job responsibilities when they participate in the company’s social media posting. The lack of consistency in the style of each post lends itself to diminishing the company’s brand with no oversight. Companies also spend hundreds of dollars on social media advertising without a focused goal, and without much insight on their return on investment.

I’ve always been passionate about telling the stories of a business, and I’ve had great experiences producing a wide range of corporate media campaigns. How could I take that knowledge and translate it into a workable formula that would serve the smaller companies?

So one day, I was running in preparation of an upcoming 10K race and thinking about my business – as one does…

How could Indermaur Media provide a visual solution to a business’ social media dilemma at a reasonable price point?

If Indermaur Media could extend its production capabilities and expertise while capturing a visual narrative using the world’s most popular camera, an iPhone, we could maintain a simple and streamlined process aligned with what people are used to seeing on social media. The difference would be, using a professional photographer’s eye and editing experience will develop a strong narrative and deepen the customer’s brand.

Adding strategic research and writing to optimize the posts; and providing analytics each month would show the customer their return on the investment.

And then I came up with the name Visual Thrive.

Visual Thrive combines decades of professional experience to deliver a powerful narrative for your business’ social media presence in a simple format. Visual Thrive takes photographs with professional photographers, writes engaging captions, and schedules content to optimize social media engagement.

While attending a three-month business development class, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, my main objective was to work ON my business and not work IN my business – taking time out to plan for growth, and not spending 24/7 in the daily grind. As part of this objective we needed to create and present a Growth Plan. This was perfect because for over a year I held on to the Visual Thrive idea.

I was able to develop and refine this idea; and introduce Visual Thrive publicly. With a national network of photographers, Visual Thrive is available throughout the United States.

The exceptional combination of high-quality visuals, strategic consistent content, and sound analytics will allow you to focus on what your business needs, while it THRIVES!

 
 
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
10K small business ALUMNI - goldman sacs

Owning a multi-media production company isn’t all about taking excellent photos and video, and working with great collaborative teams. There’s always something new to learn.

I recently graduated from the 6th cohort of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at CCRI. It’s a no-cost 12-week program that helps small businesses grow through practical business education, increased access to capital, and a support network of advisers and peers.

Initially, I felt both excited and apprehensive about exposing my life’s work and business to other businesses. This cohort consisted of 24 business owners throughout Rhode Island. The curriculum, designed by Babson College (the nation’s top-ranked entrepreneurship school), focuses on practical skills that can immediately be applied by business owners. Business owners also receive one-on-one mentoring from a dedicated business advisor and develop a growth plan specific to their business.

My challenge after acceptance into this program was to commit to carving time out of my weekly schedule. Most weeks, we met for a full day and often had shorter clinics. Class topics included: Action for Growth, Money and Metrics, Operations and Processes, and Marketing and Selling. In every class, I learned something new.

Photography For Social Media Marketing

The primary objective of the program was to work ON my business and not work IN my business – taking time out to plan for growth, and not spending 24/7 in the daily grind. As part of this objective, we needed to create and present a Growth Plan. This plan was perfect because for over a year I had an idea to expand my company by creating photography for small businesses for their social media use.

I was able to develop and refine this idea; introduce Visual Thrive publicly. Visual Thrive combines the power of photography & communication to drive a company’s social media marketing presence.

I met a wide range of business owners outside of the media industry, as we worked together to support each others’ growth plans. Having expanded my network and my breadth of business knowledge, I now have a great group of peers with which to bounce ideas off. The value of this group, combined with an educational refresher all focused on my business was well worth my time and attention.

If you are a Rhode Island (this is also offered in other states) small business owner with at least two employees (can include owner), have been in operation at least two years, and made at least $100,000 in gross revenue in 2017, you are eligible to apply. See full details and their online application here.

The Day I Realized I Was a Multi-Media Producer

Creating stories with vision….

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It finally hit me. 

About three years ago, I changed the name of my company to Indermaur Media. I had a thriving corporate photography business based in RI (with clients nationwide), that included commercial and editorial photography, but began branching out into other forms of media. By changing the name I wanted to set the course, and the intention, to operate in the fields of photography, video and full production to create even stronger visual narratives for my clients.

Recently, I sat back to take stock. I had created video productions for new clients, my photography work continued, and I had maintained my corporate work; but something was different. I was trying to find the best description of what I do now. New projects were incorporating photos and video, social media projects, and creating original content to deliver the best story possible. I found myself in a position of Directing and Producing more than before, and not even operating a camera.

Indermaur Media is now a Multimedia Production Company

So, I reached out to my daughter, Caitlin Indermaur, who is a Video Producer on the west coast. She has been a muse of mine, and in addition, my assistant before she even graduated from high school. We've collaborated on many projects through her college years and before she moved out west. For all those years, she always has excellent feedback and thoughtful insight. She immediately said, "Dad, You're a Multimedia Producer." 

For me, a Multimedia Producer is responsible for telling stories using video and still photography. I often manage the entire production process: generating and executing ideas, meeting budgets and deadlines, and expanding the team when necessary to accommodate a client's vision. On some projects, I am primarily a still photographer, on others a video camera operator. Then there are times I am simply the lead Producer, managing and directing the team to create a story. So, I had to agree - I am now a Multimedia Producer. 

For myself, and Indermaur Media, new modern "photography" delivers a much richer story when a tool box of skills and an excellent team can come together to execute and deliver the finest visual project possible. I continue to share the nuts and bolts of this transitional process in my Visual Creative Coach business. 

How A Producer Can Better Organize Your Shoot
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With all the aspects of a photography session in play, it may seem like the greater task at hand is hard to manage. My blog has represented various ways of improving the quality of a shoot, such as hiring a makeup artist or having a solid understanding of visual narrative, and increasing the likelihood of a satisfied client, like my helpful advice for a successful headshot.

When it comes down to it, a photographer and their client may find themselves with totally clear senses of their roles in the shoot, but outside forces conspire against the shoot itself. Changing weather, a multitude of crew members, and accounting for on-site necessities have an effect on everyone involved, and may introduce pressure into the situation. In conditions like these, we need all the help we can get.

I find a producer is critical in many photography and video projects; while some assignments may be as easy as scheduling a subject for the photography session, others are more in-depth and necessitate an experienced producer that allows the assignment to go very smoothly and blossom into a stronger finished product.

I have often collaborated with Stacey Koch in both small and large projects, and I have worked with her for many years. She knows how and when to get permits, negotiate fees, find the best talent, help the crew find parking, make sure we all have food on set to keep everyone from becoming “hangry,” and many other small yet critical tasks. Working on larger projects with Stacey has taught me the importance of a detail-oriented producer and what they offer to our team.

The aspects to a shoot’s success for myself as a photographer, are very much in-line with a producer’s idea of success. Here are some elements of an effective session that are improved with the presence of a photography - videography producer like Stacey:

  • Timeliness: Having a producer on-site to handle the small and big issues, as stated above, allows the photographer to remain focused on what their final product may look like.
  • Shared Vision: As someone who understands what must be done to ensure a good shoot, a producer also has a vision of how the shoot can be optimized, allowing for a photographer to do less guesswork and, by extension, do less unnecessary work.
  • Collaborative Strength: A producer and photographer that work together over several projects can often pinpoint what must be done, what angles work best and how to achieve them, how much equipment and supplies to bring, and what sort of timeframe a specific shoot may occupy. Most importantly, the learning experience is shared, so each shoot makes a photographer and the producer more knowledgeable and more aware of what to expect for their next potential video or photography production collaboration.

You can visit Stacey’s website. She has been a phenomenal help in all my Boston-based projects, and her presence can inspire a better, more efficient, more successful session.

Expanding Your In-house Photography and Video Skillset
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Creatives in marketing departments wear many hats from being a designer, writer, to a social media asset creator with photography and video. With busy schedules, one may not always have time to grow their photography and video skills or learn about the latest technology in digital asset management. Many have visual projects that do not have the budgets for a professional photographer or videographer and need to create these visual assets in-house.

OUTSOURCED OR IN HOUSE?
For years I have trained corporations and organizations with creating better photography, video and managing their visual assets. I offer this training through my Visual Creative Coaching services for businesses, photographers, and videographers. This avoids the greater cost of outsourcing photography and marketing services, as it is much more affordable to have me train their internal staff. 

Recently I worked with a client that creates lovely social media imagery for their brand to promote their consumer products. They approached me because they needed improvements in lighting and photography techniques and wanted to make their small studio more efficient.

We began with a quick review of the equipment they used and the workflow they established around how they created their images.  I then created a list of new equipment that would work within their budget and needs in order to build the imagery they desired for Instagram and other social media outlets.

I visited their offices to redesign their studio space to be more efficient for the team to work in. We then discussed their photography and video challenges with lighting and other skills that needed improving. I suggested we focus on actual examples and asked them to create the next few projects they were planning so we could approach solutions within a real assignment. As they built their Instagram and social media visual setups, we played with different techniques and practices that allowed them to expand their photography and video studio skills.

Teaching them within actual projects allowed me to observe how they approach their visual setups and I could offer suggestions based on their style. These techniques included simple positioning of the camera, how many lights to use and their position, in addition to using tools like bounce cards.

SOCIAL MEDIA ASSET CREATION TRAINING
Another technique we discussed was creating multiple social media images from one setup by simply changing the camera angle and the lights. This way they are more efficient with creating more photography and video to be shared on social media outlets like Instagram.

It was a fun and an information-packed day for the marketing department. The in-house marketing designers are now creating professional level social media photography and video clips.

 

Save Money by Combining Multiple Projects
 
Industrial Photographer time-lapse
 

I often get awarded corporate photography projects that are smaller productions. Then I discover the client has many other corporate video and photography needs that are not being addressed. For example, they may initially call me for a portrait of their CEO, then with some discussion find out they need headshots of executives, a video about one of their associates for their Youtube channel, and a group photograph of the Sales Team.

If you have lots of little visual needs and don't have a large budget, or the time, then combining the projects into one sizable project will allow you to get more photography and video projects completed and save you thousands. I created a quick estimate to illustrate the savings for a corporate photography in Boston project and figured it will save about $5,000 if we combined four half-day assignments into a 1-day project.

Create a full day (or more) jam-packed with 3-4 assignments you may typically complete on different days.

A few tips on combining corporate photography and video projects to save money on your yearly budget:

  1. Keep a project calendar
    1. This is very helpful with planning your current and future visual needs.
    2. When you have a visual need and a tight deadline, look at this project calendar and see what you can also get completed with your current assignment.
  2. Work a few months ahead to allow yourself enough time to combine projects into one more extensive project, find the appropriate photographer/videographer and schedule the projects.
  3. One crucial factor is to work with a multimedia vendor that creates excellent photography and video and most importantly enjoys this type of assignments.
Timelapse of a painter in an industrial painting booth painting the finishing touches on a piece of machinery.
Multimedia Video for A Small Business in Rhode Island
Commercial multimedia videographer for small business in RI

I thoroughly enjoy projects where we mix still photography and video to create a multimedia video and imagery for a multitude of marketing pieces.  This approach allows us to fulfill the client's video and still photography needs for their website, social media and printed marketing pieces during one assignment. Depending on the vision and budget, I approach these projects with a single crew of 2 up to a team with dozens of people.
 
The Savory Grape is located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island where they have carved out a very successful local business based on their friendliness, knowledge and customer service. Most importantly, by creating a pleasurable shopping experience for their customers in their store, that also supports other local businesses.
 
I am a big fan of small businesses, and I was super excited when The Savory Grape approached me to create a video to showcase their local RI business. During the creative processes, we decided to create a video as a narrative story told by their customers, employees, another business owner, and The Savory Grape's Founder on why it is an experience and not just a store.
 
This multimedia approach project worked best with a crew of 2 to keep costs down and a “from the hip” type of approach to matching a more "real life" and “heartfelt” style of storytelling. We completed the shooting in one day with a mix of conversations from customers and employees at the store, another business, and in a home wine cellar.
 
I chose not to use scripts because I wanted all the people featured in this video to speak from the heart. We had a theme and questions to ask, and I approached it with me having a conversation with the subjects. As a commercial videographer, I find this approach makes it more natural and human to speak from the heart versus a formal interview.
 
The still images are in the video, published on their website and printed in their marketing materials. We used some photographs from their past winery travels to help tell the video story. Also, we created three shorter video stories for Instagram, Facebook, and other social media outlets.
 
This video project was a fantastic way to celebrate The Savory Grape's 10-year anniversary. This project is also an example of how Indermaur Media focuses on creating a team to work with budgets and visions to create a product to be used in a multitude of different marketing outlets.

Shorter Videos created for Social Media outlets

What Makes a Great Assistant for Your Photo or Video Production Assignment
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I am a firm believer in creating a crew that you work with often and are able to build a trusting business relationship. An assistant is a significant asset to any photography or video media production assignment. A team that works together often allows for smoother productivity, creates a great synergy on set for everyone else to follow and if the "shit" hits the fan, it is the assistant and myself that works right through it without any moments of panic.

Assistant Nonni Muller is invaluable on many levels. Together we created a list of what a good assistant brings to an assignment:

  • Provides relief by being the second pair of hands onset.
  • Allows the photographer or videographer to be free of the smaller details so they can focus on the creativity, subject, and client.
  • Anticipates the photographer's actions and is ready to spring into action when needed.
  • Listens and is mindful of the project’s objectives.
  • Provides insight with constructive feedback regarding creativity or logistics.
  • Works as an extra set of eyes to make sure the set and subjects look great.
  • Makes the day more comfortable for everyone on set.
  • Helps with moving quicker when needed.
  • Helps with smoothing out unexpected bumps in the road.
  • Keeps track of the gear and keep it organized.
  • Helps connect with the subject(s) when needed.

Nonni has been both assisting and shooting photo or video herself for eight years in the media industry and has worked with both keen and unappreciative lead photographers alike. The dynamic between the assistant and myself is essential for a smooth and successful project.

Assistants may take a back seat, but they are proud of the work that we do as a team. They are an essential part of the process regarding image making and vital to the success of the whole media production.

What is Visual Narrative?
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In recent years, many people express what they do as if they’re telling a story and one way to do it is through visual media or “visual narrative”. Visual narrative is a way to tell a story using visual media such as photos, videos, and even graphics. Wikipedia also defines it as "visual storytelling."

I started my career as a photojournalist for newspapers, wire services and magazines. Back then, I did not use the term “visual narrative” for my work though it is what I have been doing for my entire career. What I learned as a storytelling photojournalist has been of great significance and help to me on corporate and commercial photography, as well as video assignments. 

What is a suggested visual narrative for a corporate mission, you ask? As with any story, there are multiple ways on how to tell it. 

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I have one client in the banking industry. They help other financial institutions by providing a broad range of financial products. These products boost community banks to be more efficient and competitive, contributing to great changes in their respective communities. They give impact by helping those that are in need of their services, allowing communities to practice proactivity

The stories of the residents are important because they actually showcase how the local banks have been a part of their success. This adds up to the contributions of our client who helped make it all happen. We partner their financial product with a multimedia visual narrative of heartfelt stories from residents of the community. 

Some feature the lives of their employees. It can be either in the office or their work area. With video and photography, we can tell the company’s story through the eyes of its employees evoking a sense of belongingness and realness to the audience. 

Fort Morgan, Colorado community has a love of family and pride in the work they do every day. They share stories of how their local community bank, Morgan Federal Bank, stepped in and made things happen and what they mean to their families. Fort Morgan is located in Northern Colorado.
 
Why Having a Makeup Artist is Helpful
 New England Makeup Artist Maryelle O'Rourke applies makeup on an actor before a Boston video assignment.

New England Makeup Artist Maryelle O'Rourke applies makeup on an actor before a Boston video assignment.

I get often asked if we should hire a Makeup Artist (Makeup Stylist) for their corporate and commercial photography or video assignments.
Does it make a difference? 
I have worked with Maryelle Makeup & Hair Artistry for many years on Boston Photography assignments as well as video assignments and New Rhode Island projects. We recently discussed how it makes a difference and these are her insights.

  • An artist will create the right amount of color on the subject's face to allow the photo/natural lights to work with you rather than against you.

  • Save on retouching time and expenses as a result of a makeup artist. Retouching is always more natural and less has to be done when a makeup artist has evened out the skin tone, created a smooth, consistent, nonshiny skin texture.

  • Style, soften and eliminate frizzy and flyaway hair.

  • Makeup appears very different in photographs and on video, having an artist will ensure that you are “camera ready.” It is quite different from everyday makeup and having an artist to apply the makeup for this makes all the difference.

  • Having a makeup artist prep your subject will help them feel more confident and more at ease in front of the camera which creates a more comfortable environment and as a result helps you with natural/healthy body language and facial expressions in front of the camera.

  • Eliminate the bald head shine that is so distracting in images.

  • Wardrobe check: an artist will help with small adjustments to wardrobe (wrinkles in a shirt, adjust ties and gathered material) that make a significant difference in overall appearance and prevent retouching after.

  • Makeup artists have the experience needed to help you look your very best and add to your confidence level during a photo shoot or video production. They will choose and apply makeup for you that works in harmony with the lighting and as a result will create your best look for the photos. Your photo is the first impression people have of you, make it count!

I recommend we use a Makeup Artist because there is much more going on than just applying eye-liner. It starts with creating a relaxing environment for our subject and then applying the appropriate makeup and offering an extra pair of eyes to make sure their wardrobe is in check. Of course, we can also bring in a wardrobe stylist for an additional level of perfection. This extra team player allows us to create a more profession and better quality end portrait or video.

A Diverse Onsite Video Production Crew
Video production project manager Boston

The crews I create for business photography, and video assignments are always cross trained in more than one specialty. The projects I manage are typically more fluid in nature, and I need a crew that is willing to take on unexpected tasks. For example, if an extra person is required to hold a reflector, my makeup artist may take up that task. If the crew needs help setting up some lights, I will jump in and assist. Moreover, when it is time to strike our set, we all jump in to pack it up with a smile.

Recently we had a Boston video assignment with the following production team:

On site video production crew Boston MA
  • Director of Photography - Scott

  • Camera Operator - Mike

  • Sound Engineer - Nonni

  • Grip - Isaac

  • Makeup Artist - MaryElle

  • One client and 8 actors

 

That is the traditional lineup. With a flexible crew our Camera Operator Mike was a big part of the creative discussions with myself and our client. Also, our Sound Engineer Nonni and Grip Isaac switch roles at times since they are both experienced with sound and being a grip.

During our second scene, we decided to add a 3rd camera, and Grip Isaac became the 3rd Camera Operator. Setting up a 3rd camera was a decision made at that time and gave us more diversity with what we wanted to accomplish. Having a crew that is flexible allowed us to shift his focus to being a camera operator.

This flexibility makes it possible to shift gears within an assignment if needed and to make it happen rather quickly. When you are creating your next business video project, keep in mind that a larger team may not always be necessary to create your corporate video. A smaller crew that is diverse in their experience and enjoys working as a team can create a successful video assignment.

Here is an interesting article, Tutorial Videos: Top 21 Tips to Create Better Video (in 2018), by instrktiv.com.

210 Headshots in 30 Seconds

Photography assignments are a full gamut of what some will consider glamorous jobs. Moreover, other times routine, but still fun.

As a business portrait photographer in Rhode Island, I was awarded an assignment to photograph over 200 participant's headshots at an event located in Providence. The client liked the idea of setting up outside, only spending a few minutes on each subject and keeping it simple. We setup under a building overhang to protect ourselves from the rain that occurred throughout the day. Blurred out the background and created professional business portraits to be used for the associate's website and the individual's LinkedIn page.

As a corporate location photographer in New England, I have learned to deal with unpredictable weather, while using all the available tools. Including situations like using the building overhang, taking advantage of window light for inside portraits, given very short time span to work with a subject and creating an entire studio at someone's office.

Building your Multi-Media Team - Behind the Scenes

The intended audience of a portrait or multimedia project only sees the final product, not the stages of its development. In some cases, it takes one photographer to create that image or video, while other assignments it may comprise of a team of individuals. Any projects may be joyful or stressful. In either case, I look for a crew that can go with the flow during the fun and stressful times.

I like to build a team that collaborates and enjoys the day working as a team. When there is a bump in the road, our crew can step up and smooth it out, then move on to the next task. Building a team that fits the tone you prefer on set is necessary for a creative and fruitful project.

When it is time to get serious with a corporate photography or videography production, we do. In between those moments, we enjoy our comradely and synergy. This energy allows for more creativity to blossom and fosters a friendly environment. I Thrive when collaborating, I grew up sailing a forty foot wooden sailboat with my dad, and he taught me collaboration was necessary for survival on the water. I have extrapolated that mindset to my art.

With a sailing crew of five, we all had assigned tasks that required us to work as a team although in a moments' notice, if a teammate needed some extra help, someone would jump in to help them. We wanted to win the race as a team. As with racing, when on an assignment, our crew needs to make a victorious finish happen, so we work together to make the client look like a rock star by creating a superior final product it is a real team success when we can do that while we all get to enjoy the project the experience.

Similar to hiring a new employee, keep in mind your photographer's personalities and their experience and who is on their team. Align this with your vision of how you would like your still photography and video assignment's experience to be. 

Do you want a creative (photographer or videographer) with a who has as their stronger style collaboration, vision, excellent with collaborating or someone who completes the tasks exactly as you request? Do you need a photographer that is decisive or prone to remain quiet with their process, vision and or preferences? Be confident your creative team handles the stress related to your assignment demands?

Communicate for a Successful Visual Creative Project
corporate or commercial visual project photographer in RI or Boston MA

I have worked with visual narrative productions projects with excellent clients, from simple to large scale productions. Even during the conceptualization phase, I am also looking at building a relationship so we can work on future projects together with a deeper level of efficiency, trust, and collaboration together. It is highly advantageous to evaluate the work style of a client so you can maximize efficiency but to the artistic end, to create deeper and more meaningful collaborative chemistry

Here are a few tips for a corporate or commercial visual project that can be helpful in creating a long-term relationship with your photographer. 

The most important action is to be active with your communication. The more clarity you have with the photographer and creative team, the More accurately you can bring a team to full, an infestation of the initial concept. Share your budget, layouts, your original thoughts, technical concerns, short and long term use of the visual assets. All ideas and thoughts should be encouraged. Even what might seem like a bad idea, because it may begin an unexpected creative thread that leads to originality.

  1. Budget - Be open to talking about your budget with your photographer. Much time can be wasted with a back and forth on estimating when there is no budget discussion. If the first choice of a photographer is more expensive than your budget, have that discussion with them and don't just walk away. For me, I am always striving to make the visual assignment a success, and sometimes a simple budget conversation allows for a more realistic fruition of the project with your first choice for a photographer.
  2. Have a vision - I have worked with clients (art directors) with a strong vision and others who just want myself to figure it out. I enjoy working both ways though I mostly enjoy collaborating with the client, art director, and even the subject and assistant. We have to communicate, work as a team, respect each other's ideas, be flexible to change course and at the end of the day, the client needs to be happy. If you (as the art director) does not have a vision, just an idea. Then communicate with the photographer to make sure their vision is in alignment with your idea.
  3. Do not forget details - communicate all your needs during the estimating phase. If your portraits need to have a vertical crop, but you feel there are times it will need to be a square, then communicate that detail. If you want to plan a small thing to be photographed on the side, then discuss that beforehand. I realize some things just happen at the last minute, but the less overlooked details, the better as that helps with the assignment's flow, making sure you covered the potential future use and creating a deeper trust with you and the photographer. 
  4. Be flexible and listen - The photographer is a business professional, and may have some good ideas that match up with your vision. You know what is best for your brand and be open to discussing and possibly implementing new ideas that match your vision and brand.
  5. Compare apples to apples when bidding a project among a few commercial photographers. Sometimes the client calls one photographer, gives them the specs, then during a conversation with a second photographer new ideas arise and the projects are being estimated on different specs. If specs change, drop a quick email to the other photographer(s) to make sure you are getting an estimate based on the same job specifics.

Many enjoyable collaborations and long term clients come from communicating their needs, vision, and budget up front. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.