Photographs are one of the most essential tools for getting your campaign message across.

Voters prefer to scan printed material, taking in parts that appear interesting. A voter gets more information in a shorter space of time from a photo or several photos than they do from the written word.

In most campaigns where television and radio are not viable options, photos will form the basis of nearly every aspect of the campaign including newspaper advertisements, postal vote cards, brochures, letterheads, posters and how-to-vote cards.

Good photos are a valuable investment for your campaign.

Taking a good photo

Good photos can ensure that your printed material is interesting and informative. Poor quality or boring photos just turn the reader away.

A good campaign photo must meet two tests:

  • Is it interesting enough to grab the reader’s attention and lure them into reading the information?
  • Does it deliver your campaign message?

For example, a photograph of the candidate listening to local residents depicts someone who is in touch.

Use a professional photographer

Have a professional photographer who can also work as a photojournalist to capture you on the run.

If you don’t know a photographer, check advertisements in local papers or the yellow pages and start interviewing.

When you engage the photographer, think about:

  • the number of different photos needed. A door-knocking card probably only requires a head and shoulders shot, but a brochure may need four or five photos. You may also decide you need photos in different situations depicting your stand on various issues.
  • whether the photos will be black and white or colour. Many brochures are printed in black and white and you may have difficulty converting colour photos into black and white.
  • using digital cameras to make reviewing easier
  • your budget. Does the photographer charge by the hour or day?
  • the turn-around time for producing proof sheets and final prints
  • whether you will receive prints or digital files, or both
  • how much time the photographer needs for a shoot and his or her total costs. You should assume the photographer will want to be paid when the proof sheets are delivered to you.

Top tips

  • Head and shoulders photos are a must. Ideally photos would be taken with a plain background that is contrasting in colour to the clothes you are wearing
  • Get your photos done as soon as possible; don’t wait until just before the election
  • Plan your photoshoot in detail – including where, what and who
  • Complete the photoshoot in one block of time but consider outfit and location changes.