What to Shoot: Political Footage

Regardless of where you are in the world, it’s hard to ignore the political race dominating headlines in the US. As November looms closer and things continue to intensify, the demand for footage in campaigns, political ads, and news reports only grows larger. If you’re creating video and looking to increase your customers, you won’t want to ignore this trend. To help you focus, we’ve compiled a list of seven common topics covered in political campaigns and the types of footage you should be sure to shoot and upload. (Not a Pond5 contributor yet? Get started today!)

1. Economy

Spotlight economics by incorporating footage of small and big enterprises. Try shots of cafes, bakeries, or bookstores to depict small businesses, and executives or boardrooms to depict big business. You can create footage of transactions at a bank, people paying bills, swiping cards at an ATM, or simply shopping. Unemployment is another hotbed issue, so shots of people in lines, soup kitchens, foreclosed homes, or stacked bills are all ideas. Perhaps a man in a suit walking with a box of belongings? Even more general images featuring people looking stressed or upset can be great to depict financial troubles.

Young Woman in a Coffee Shop by Burlingham

Customer Shopping in Music Store by Chester_Copperpot

Soup Kitchen Volunteers by Hotelfoxtrot

Click here for more examples of useful economy-focused footage »

2. International Relations

Another pressing concern being addressed is international relations — be it foreign policy, national security, or immigration. Footage of police raids, SWAT teams, airport security (frisking, bag checks), or “see something, say something” signs are effective in depicting this. For issues on immigration policy, shots of courtrooms, groups of jurors swearing in, or shots of homeland and border security are highly sought after.

Travelers Screened at Airport Security by VIAfilms

Migrant Workers by pigeonluis

Immigration Support Protest by ironstrike

Click here for a collection of more international-relations themed footage »

3. Healthcare

Endless debates in the election cycle revolve around healthcare. Try hiring actors to be doctors, dentists, or medical professionals for your shoots. See if you can get footage of doctor’s offices, surgery rooms, or senior centers. Shots of medical equipment (stethoscopes, thermometers, EKG machines), home checkups, pregnant women, or people sick in bed all fit well with this topic.

Doctor Advises Couple by rocketclips

Dentist and Patient by kotlyarn

Doctor Listening to Patient by rocketclips

Click here for a collection featuring more healthcare-focused footage »

4. Environment

Many politicians center their campaigns around policies regarding the environment. For issues like fuel-reliance, include imagery such as electric cars, windmills, smokestacks, factories, or gas-pump numbers going up. Shots of polar bears or glaciers melting can illustrate climate change effectively (and the challenge of capturing them makes the footage that much more valuable). Lifestyle shots of recycling, bicycling, planting trees, urban farming, or solar panelling can address environmental concerns in additional ways.

Rising Gas Prices on Pump Screen by icatnews

Hands Carrying a Sapling by wundervisuals

Grandmother and Granddaughter Recycling by VIAfilms

Click here for a collection of more environment-based footage »

5. Community

Politicians often stress community. There are countless ways in which people come together, from social causes to lifestyle choices, to religious groups, and there’s a need to represent them all. Try shooting footage the depicts all different types of groups. Include shots of everything from social activists to fitness groups to spiritual gatherings. Footage of students, volunteers, and unions could all be great for your portfolio.

Construction Workers Discuss Power Lines by Ikonfilm

Students Getting on School Bus by VIAfilms

Smiling Couple and Child by WavebreakMedia_Micro

Click here for a collection of more inspirational community-based clips »

6. Education

Tuition, educational programs, and student loans are all major issues that stay top-of-mind. Go for shots of educational milestones like the first day of school, classroom achievements, or graduations. Depict early schooling with shots of school buses or teacher’s desks and depict universities with dorm rooms or students up late in libraries. For concerns like teacher shortages or overcrowding, showing parents or educators feeling the strain is highly effective.

University Square by skyscope

Teacher Interacting with Children by GrassRootsMediaUK

Nervous Student Loan Application by Ironstrike

Click here for a collection of more education-focused video »

7. Campaigning

Last but not least, there are the campaigns themselves. You can include shots of people canvassing, voting booths, filling out ballots, holding signs, or political rallies (see this article on capturing protest footage). Perhaps stage a press conference by shooting one actor at a podium mic and others as photographers and reporters. You can incorporate footage of real politicians, as long as it’s uploaded as editorial footage.

Political Candidate Giving a Speech by blendimages

Man Completing Ballot at Voting Booth by blendimages

Gun Control Protester by DCnewsfootage

Click here for a collection of more campaign-based footage »

With these tips at your disposal, you’ll be optimizing your portfolio for political season in no time. Just remember that if you want to license your footage for anything other than editorial use, you’ll need to supply all applicable model and property releases for your submissions.

Explore all the clips in this post and more political footage in the full collection below »