Pointing isn’t always good for you: political photos 101

I’ve been known to appear in a pointing photo or two and even have had a bit of fun with others with the clichéd ‘person pointing action photo’ that appears in so many political leaflets. (A cliche that even spawned a site to honour it.)

But for all the fun of the cliché, it is only rarely the right photo to take. As Ed Maxfield and I wrote in our forthcoming 101 Ways To Win An Election (available from Amazon here),

Think carefully about the message that a photo really sends. It is common to see in local-level political leaflets photographs showing a candidate standing on their own (often pointing at something in the distance). Yet we have never come across a campaign where the right message is presenting the candidate as a lonely soul. A solo photo can work – but only rarely and only if you have the right appearance and pose.

Instead, it is photographs such as this one from Haringey featuring local MP Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem group leader Richard Wilson and colleagues which work much better. In this case – a happy team celebrating victory for their school funding campaign.

Lynne Featherstone, Monia Whyte, Richard Wilson, Craig Brown and team

If you do organise such a photo, remember to avoid the sort of mistake that happened to Jo Grimond, as we also recount in the book:

The photograph for one of his campaign stops went horribly wrong – he was snapped not with the Liberal candidate but with the incumbent Labour MP!

And if in doubt, use a tank. But not with headgear that makes you look daft.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments and data you submit with them will be handled in line with the privacy and moderation policies.