For politicians, manufacturing the visual message is just part of the game.
It was after the first televised presidential debate between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon, that politicians got the message: images matter.
Those who listened to the debates on the radio tended to think that the candidates were evenly matched. But those who watched the televised debates overwhelmingly saw Kennedy as the winner.
Nixon's refusal to wear makeup coupled with his tired appearance led many to call into question his health. And it was these images that political analysts consider the turning point in the election. As you know, the rest is history.
Since then, politicians have learned the lesson. Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, President Barack Obama, and the rest of the politicians lining up to take part in the 2012 elections are all now acutely aware of the cameras.
As this election season begins to heat up, so do the attempts by politicians to craft their images. Eat the local food, kiss the baby, pin up an American flag, it's all become an essential part of the game.
And photographers have to navigate those tricky waters as they move from one staged press event to the next, where they are often corralled into special areas designed to force them into taking a certain shot.
And sometimes despite these calculated efforts, politicians make mistakes.
Here are some of the more arresting images that are helping to sway our opinions, and our votes.