Life of the Paparazzi

victoria beckham englandWant to make big money photographing celebrities? Better take a number. While celebrity paparazzi garner plenty of publicity for their relentless pursuit of “the shot”, the millions paid for celebrity babies photos, and the seemingly glorious lifestyle they live, the truth is most paparazzo are just getting by. In a simple case of economics, the celebrity photo market is flooded with images and photographers. Too much supply has diluted the amount of money publishers are willing to pay for everyday images of your favorite celebrity. Don’t get me wrong, there are members of the paparazzi that make a great living doing this type of work, but their numbers have fallen in recent years even as the demand from domestic and foreign publishers has increased. But this increase in demand has been far outnumbered by the number of new photographers entering the market.


How much do paparazzi make? Typically, Paparazzi earn around $250 per shot of A-list celebrities. These are the everyday, garden variety candid shots which are taken with several other photogs in tow. This type of image has high competition, due to it’s non-exclusive nature, driving down the price. While the price doesn’t seem bad, you have to consider the expenses involved, the lost time of hunting down the celebs, and how often you are able to score one of these shots. The more established paparazzi can earn in excess of $500,000 per year,  but this comes through developing contacts throughout Tinseltown and other locations, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Keys to being a successful paparazzi.The top performers in this industry come in two forms, a) have a highly developed networks of informants (hairdressers, doorman, etc) which tip off locations and times of where to find the prized celebrities, or b) establish a reputation as a trusted photographer (not my bad side, please) and the celebrity are willing to control how they will appear in the tabloids.

If you thrive on the “thrill of the hunt”, enjoy the “on the go” lifestyle this job requires in pursuit of a lucrative payday, this may be the career path for you!

, , celeb paparazzi, , paparazzo

For more information on Life of the Paparazzi, here’s an interesting read -> The Day I Trailed a Paparazzi

Update – Here’s a great video interview on celebrity paparazzi with photographer Jessica Dimmock

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14 thoughts on “Life of the Paparazzi

  1. I sometimes act like a paparazzi but not for celebrities. Whenever I see something interesting or fell blogging about, I take photos of them without them knowing it. :)

  2. Is that Posh Spice? Look at her tits so FAKE.

    @PwengBee: That’s stalking LOL

  3. I’m a paparazzi, Some of the things said here are accurate and some aren’t. There are a bunch that are just getting by but its more because they are awful photographers, not because they rarely get pictures.

    I usually make $250-$900 per set of pictures that get bought by magazines and $30-$220 that get bought by the blogs.

    I started a blog strictly about the paparazzi, how you can become one, and what our day to day life is like. Its in the link in my name.

    Also, These sales usually are for freelancers only. Many of us earn salary also and 90% of the ones that do are getting ripped off. They get salaries of $2000-$3500 per month while their pictures are totaling up to a lot more. Which is why its worth it to sell pictures on the side. doing this can push a months income past 10k if the photographer is good enough.

  4. Papa – thanks for the insight.It’s hard to determine for the average person what type of income the paparazzi earn. As always, when you deal with a middleman or agency, they’re the ones that get the biggest slice of the pie.

  5. Usually we get 60% of what a picture sells for but there is always that chance of the agency ripping you off. If that happens its usually with a huge shot. A guy I know got the first pictures of Nicole Richie’s baby and it sold for $60,000 but the agency Buzzfoto.com told him it sold for 10k and gave him 6. and kept the rest. So we try to sell direct when the Gods favor us.

    How much freelancers make all depend on how good they are. I know a guy thats been around for 25 years and only makes $500-1300 now because he’s to slow.

    And at the same time there is another guy thats been around for the same amount of time that makes $12,000-$20k a month because he’s got so many contacts.

  6. Papa – great posts. You gave some valuable information into a photographic profession which garners much attention but little real info as to the inner workings. Thanks.

  7. No problem I’m glad to help. Filling in all the unknown area’s is what I’ve been trying to do. People really know so little about us. As far as I know I’m the first and only paparazzo to explain everything in detail as to what the job is like on his own public blog. And definitely the only one to show how anyone can become one too.

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