Lib Dem tip #27: Taking a good action photo, or why ducks are better than pointing

Welcome to my series of tips and advice for Liberal Democrat members, which appeared first in the email bulletin run by London Region for party members.

Whether it’s for sending out with a tweet or putting in a leaflet, taking a photo on your smartphone of a team of Liberal Democrats out campaigning is now a common part of campaigning.

Here is one very easy way to make those photos look much better, both of which hinge on the same point – we want people to think that that the Lib Dems are a nice, successful bunch of people, not a couple of lost, isolated people wandering around aimlessly.

How not to do an action photo: the Nick Clegg edition

Big policy launch involving highly photogenic subject. And this is the 'action photo' punted out on social media. more

The solution? Get in close for the photo. However close you think you are, you can always take another step closer. You really want the group of people to fill up the photo, not acres of empty space around them. Even if it really has to be just the one person, getting in close nearly always works far better.

It’s only the very rare occasions where you need to emphasise how large something is that the wider view is preferable.

Once you’ve remembered to get in close, it’s also worth bearing in mind:

  • What’s in the background? When you’ve got in nice and close, you shouldn’t see much of the background, but it can still make a difference. Try to ensure it looks like a slice of the area where you’ve been active. E.g. if you’ve been out canvassing it is good to see some homes in the background rather than bits of an empty car park.
  • Think about the possibility of using some sensible (and non-tacky!) props. A battered, lopsided piece of A4 with small writing in Comic Sans┬áis really not what you want… and I exaggerate the point to highlight that quite often the props used are not quite as good as they should be. Given them a bit of care and attention. And if it’s a pothole, go grab some ducks. (Toy ducks, that is.)
  • Does the range of people in the photo reflect the diversity of the party and of the electorate? If the photo is just full of people who look like me, it sends a poor – and misleading – message about who is welcome in the party.
  • When you share the photo on social media tag in the photo/post the people in it, especially if they are (would be) candidates or elected people, as that helps build up their own online audiences.

For more on how to take good action photos, see 101 Ways To Win An Election – and don’t forget, ducks are better than pointing.

You can read the full set of tips for Liberal Democrats here.

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