When I worked as a reporter, I loved collaborating with strong photographers who would always ask me how I planned to approach a story. When a good photographer and good reporter get on the same page, and I'm speaking both figuratively and literally here, the audience is best being served.
When I reported, interviewing sources or listening to a politician/visiting dignitary/bigwig blah-blah-blahing as I scribbled in my notebook, I loved watching what the assigned photographer was doing, how they moved into the scene. The best ones were amazingly good at finding the right moment and the right shot to reveal emotion and action. Just as I was observing and scribbling notes furiously to share what was happening for my readers, the photographer was doing exactly the same thing with a camera. Scribble and click-click, scribble and click-click.
I respect visual artists because (1) I need their work to be powerful if my work is to be powerful; and (2) I don't have the unique skills and creativity they've been developing their whole lives.
When a great photograph or a revealing video gets embedded into a story written by a strong writer, you have a package that can inform, engage, and delight the audience. All creative professionals share the same goals, if not the same medium. When we work well together, and a hard-working, skilled editor packages the work we've submitted, everybody wins and looks good. Don't be the wordsmith who doesn't want to talk with a photographer, or vice versa. Collaborate.
This begs a larger question. Should a writer be able to be a photographer, or vice versa? I think the answer is no. I'm a strong writer but a (ahem) "skill-deficient" photographer. You should focus on your creative strengths, and let others do the same. Fancy cameras scare and mystify me.
At the same time, it helps to know what a photographer is trying to do, and vice versa. If I'm planning to focus my story on a particular interview subject, it's probably a good idea to let the photographer know so he or she can get a photo of that interviewee for the article. Simple professional respect demands no less. If you're working with a visual professional, let them know what your "main idea" is, and have a discussion about how you can coordinate your activities to best leverage the idea for the audience.
I've recently been trying to develop my skills as a visual artist. I believe I have a good eye, that I can understand the power and creativity in a photo or a video or a drawing. That said, I don't have the skills to create that power. I've been drawing with pencil and paper over the last few weeks, spurred on by a friend who's an excellent amateur artist, but the results have been rather woeful. I've been drawing Donald Trump's head (I kid you not, here) and getting the hair right has been an impossible ordeal for me. I'm not "gifted" as a visual artist, and I have very little experience either.
The point is, I've come to understand how difficult it is to draw well, even with pencil and paper. I ask my friend simple questions, and he's kindly answered them, suggesting that I draw the lines lightly at first, and that I should feel free to erase and re-work the lines as I go along. Drawing then, can be as messy and iterative as writing.
Will I ever achieve a level of intermediate skill in drawing? I wouldn't bet on it, my friends, but the idea is to engage in the creative struggle and learn its challenges. No matter how badly I draw Trump's hair (it looks like pasta tossed on a plate in my rendering), at least I know that I'm far along the road as a writer. I'll keep struggling, because we're all learning along the way, but we need to be respectful, curious collaborators too.