Paparazzi Photographer Jobs

Tabloids like the National Enquirer or Star Magazine are full of ridiculous, attention-grabbing headlines. Next time you’re in the grocery store be sure to thumb through one. Extravagant headlines and compromising photos of famous people are entertaining. But who takes those photos?

Paparazzis Taking Photos at Emmy Awards

Paparazzi take photos of celebrities and sell them to magazines and tabloids. Basically, it is your job to invade a famous person’s life and snap photos of them in compromising situations for entertainment purposes.

The word paparazzi came from the Italian word for mosquito or pest. The word now refers to cameramen who swarm around unsuspecting celebrities and annoy them – just like a mosquito that we all want to smack.

The best places to work are Los Angeles or New York – hotbeds for paparazzi. It all depends on where you are, but images of Jennifer Aniston looking overweight, John Travolta crying, Lindsay Lohan doing drugs, Michael Jackson holding his child upside down, Winona Ryder shoplifting or Charlie Sheen cheating on his wife are the images that the tabloids gobble up. They don’t want pictures from award shows or on stage. They want images from everyday life. That’s what sells.

In order to get a good shot, you have to be in the right place at the right time. This can be challenging and is the reason why the paparazzi are great networkers. They know people all over the industry – hairdressers, cab drivers, bouncers, and agents – who know where celebrities will be and when.

Paparazzi often stake out a celebrity’s house, climb a tree, follow a politician to Aspen or Acapulco, or scale a fence. Others cause car wrecks, rent helicopters, or call in bomb threats to get the best photos. There is a blatant disregard for personal space and people’s privacy. You need to be aware of local laws before you get into this career.

To be any good at this job you need to be a pro with a camera. Many paparazzi take photography courses. You will most likely use a digital SLR camera and will need to be proficient with digital imaging software. Once you get a good photo, you have to sell it right away so it can appear in grocery store tabloids while the gossip is still juicy. You need to show a prospective buyer your images, but you also need to digitally protect them to ensure you receive payment.

If you really want a job as a paparazzo, don’t scour the Internet for paparazzi want ads. Look for ads that say photography work or photojournalist jobs. Check tabloid websites for submission guidelines.
You can also sell your images online or through agents both in the United States and abroad.

Most images will sell for between $50 and $250. You’ll be paid per picture and maybe a part of a bidding war if you have a scandalous photo. It all depends on who, what, where, when, why, and how – plus the quality of the image. A truly outrageous shot will fetch more money – a hot shot of Brad Pitt may sell for $200,000, a revealing Paris Hilton image may get $50,000, Britney Spears may go for $10,000. The prices are shocking.

You can make good money in this job if you know the right people, are good with a camera and have no qualms about invading people’s private lives. If you don’t want to make this your new career, but you always have your camera close by and you happen to be in the right spot, it may be a great way to make a few extra bucks.

Quick Facts About Paparazzi Work

Job Title: Paparazzi
Office: With your camera following celebrities
Description: Photograph and sell images of important people
Certifications/Education: No formal education required
Necessary Skills: Knowledge of photography, Insider information on where celebrities will be
Potential Employers: Freelancer, Media Company
Pay: Average is $50 to $250 per shot, Some upwards of $10,000. Depends on who is in the photo and what they are doing

Helpful Paparazzi Employment Links:

Search Paparazzi Jobs on JobMonkey
All Access Photo Agency
Sell Your Photos
National Enquirer
E! Entertainment Television
Star Magazine

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