There is no escaping the influence that celebrities and their tag-along paparazzi have on the photography industry. Celebrity pictures drive an entire industry of journalism, websites, and magazines. Although many people speak out about the potential “invasion of privacy” that celebrity photography can draw, in fact, it is these same photos which aid public figures in maintaining their fame and position in popular culture.
Celebrity photographers fall into different categories and may have origins in various types of photography. Some of the most publicly known photographers are independent contractors who work in celebrity-dense areas, seeking out the latest exclusive shots of the rich and famous. Working on tips from friends and acquaintances who work near and around celebrities, these photographers can often track down their subjects with great precision. Other times, they may wait for hours and only be rewarded with distant shots, or, in the worst case, no shot at all.
There are photographers who have become famous for their work as portrait photographers, commissioned by celebrities. Most often, these photographers are highly skilled and spent hundreds, or even thousands of uncompensated hours crafting their portfolio. The payoff for many is little, however, a small percentage are able to break into the industry and become highly sought by both established celebrities and those who are trying to break into the business. The right photographer and photos can add prestige to a rising star. And it works both ways – a burgeoning photographer can benefit significantly from the right celebrity session.

Ironically, the photos we crave are not the planned, carefully crafted portrait shoots – they are celebrities at Starbucks, in the park, or at a restaurant… doing the same things that we do. We can see these photos and say, “They are human, like the rest of us.”

I want to hear from you – what do you think about society’s drive to peer inside the lives of celebrities, with photography as the door that opens their lives? Are the photographers justified in capturing these candid moments? Are consumers justified in buying the magazines and checking out the websites? When is celebrity photography most beneficial? Leave me a comment or drop me a line at

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