You Really Can Join The Paparazzi!

Photography: Waponi

When we suggested in our 52 Ways to Monetize your Photos that any photographer can join the paparazzi, we took a bit of flak. Some people thought that it wasn’t possible to get paid for snapping celebrities.They’re wrong.Not only can you get paid for photographing celebrities, people are being paid for photographing celebrities. They’re doing it all the time. And they’re getting good money for it too.

Take a Shot, Win $16,500
According to Candi Kays of, a spin-off from paparazzi photo agency Big Pictures, prices usually range from over $165 for a celebrity shot to more than $16,500 — and they change hands constantly. She told us:

We sell the public’s images on a daily basis and we couldn’t even count how many we’ve sold in total. Tons!!

A number of factors will determine the price a picture will reach on the market, including the popularity of the star, but the quality of the image is not one of the most important. As long as it’s possible to see who the celebrity is and what they’re doing, the media could be interested. Even a photo from a high resolution camera phone would be good enough to print, says Candi.

What is important is that the picture is exclusive. If you can catch a celebrity doing something that no other photographer has captured and which the public doesn’t usually get to see, you’ll be in with a greater chance of landing a sale and the picture will fetch a higher price.

For example a member of the public that lives down on the coast spotted Gwyenth Paltrow surfing and got some pictures of it. Because these are exclusive, they will sell for loads more than something at an event where the stars have hundreds of cameras on them anyway.

The Worse They Look, The More You Make
In fact, it’s when you can capture stars doing the very mundane stuff, such as buying groceries or walking down the street — or even better, eating food, scratching their nose or looking they’ve just had a bad night — that the prices are at their highest:

People like to see celebs in normal settings. They like to see that they are just like us, so looking bad is what sells. People see the celebs looking great all the time so something different is better…

As a rule of thumb if you think the celeb wouldn’t be happy about the picture being printed in papers, the more money it would be worth.


Photography: Mirka23

So if you do spot a celebrity in the street, snapping a picture would be a good start, but you might be able to pick up extra cash if you wait, continue photographing and catch them putting something in their mouth or in mid-sneeze.

That might sound a little exploitative, and MrPaparazzi has a section on its site urging people to “respect [the] celebrity’s privacy” and use “common sense when getting a photo.” In practice though, that’s more likely to mean that you can’t hold your camera up to their front room window than that you should stop and ask if the star wouldn’t mind posing while you shoot a quick snap. As far as celebrity photo agencies are concerned, if a celebrity is in a public place, they’re fair game whatever they’re doing.

That probably means that selling paparazzi photos isn’t for everyone. You have to be somewhere celebrities are likely to hang out, like London or LA. You have to be able to spot a celebrity when you see one. You have to not mind that you’ll be doing something that they really wouldn’t want you to do.

And it’s certainly not art or photojournalism.

But those aren’t particularly high hurdles, and the fact that the $16,500 you might make is a fraction of what the star is worth would help most people clear them. Candi, for one, expects to be looking at a lot more photos of stars submitted by the public.

[T]he more technology progresses the easier it is for the public to be paps. Most people carry a camera around with them all the time, be it on their phone or a little digital camera in their pocket, so once they start to realize they can make money from snapping a celeb, I’m sure there will be no stopping them.

Check out these miniature paparazzi, take a look at Scoopt, which also sells amateur paparazzi images, and find out who’s hot now at TMZ and

[tags] scoopt, paparazzi photography, paparazzi photos, paparazzi photo [/tags]

3 comments for this post.

  1. martin Said:

    I've tried Scoopt they're not really interested in celebrity pics.

  2. Tash Said:

    I got a pic of Gwen Stephonie in the Beverly hills park playing with her son on a high tree. Where can i sell it?

  3. Tom Said:

    Like the article says, if you've snapped a celeb doing something interesting, the best way to profit from it would be to go through a photo agency like Bauer-Griffin. Agencies work directly with the magazines and big blogs like TMZ or Radar.

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