Photographer - Life behind the lens

Sensationalism sells. Fact. Everybody loves a good gossip and nothing gets the nation more excited than the latest stream of incriminating photos catching an unsuspecting celebrity at an inappropriate moment.
Press photographers, or ‘paparazzi’ as they are more commonly known, are masters at pursuing celebrities around the world in order to catch that exclusive photo that makes the headlines in tomorrow’s newspaper. They are certainly not well liked by many, the name ‘paparazzi’ is derived from the Italian for pest or mosquito, but they can also be beneficial to society in bringing to justice rogue public figures. Think of Silvio Berlusconimisusing public funds to hold wild parties with his underage guests – allegedly I should say. So if you are interested in the celebrity scene and think you would enjoy the chase and adventure of capturing an exclusive photo that would shock the world, read on.
Lesson 1 : Right place, right time
Really that says it all, getting the perfect photo really is about being in the right spot just at the right time. And it doesn’t have to be something controversial; celebrities going about their daily business are of just as much interest as something more shocking. Everybody loves to check out Jennifer Anniston running in the park or shopping at the local mall.
Lesson 2 : Live in the right locations
The best places to work and spot celebs are Los Angeles, New York and London so clearly it would be helpful if you live there. You need to live and breathe the celebrity lifestyle so you can predict their daily movements. Learn about the latest celebrity haunts, which bars are in vogue, where do Hollywood actors go for botox, what celebrities are due in court this month? Their routine, social life and misfortunes becomes your chance to profit.
Lesson 3 : Networking will pay dividends
While following your chosen celebrity night and day will eventually get you that exclusive picture to sell to the world, it will also tire you out. True paparazzi are masters in networking and use their ‘inside’ contacts to know where a celebrity will be and when. Travel agents, hairdressers, taxi drivers, bouncers and agents will often swap tip-offs in return for small gifts, tickets or bribes. Get close to those who work with the celebrities and your job gets a lot easier.
Lesson 4 : Learn to stakeout
Even after you have received a ‘tip-off’ about the movements of a VIP, you will still have to stakeout the location and get in the best position for an exclusive shot. This may entail climbing trees, scaling fences or even hiding in the bushes. You may have to wait for hours outside in the freezing cold just to get the shortest of glimpses of your celebrity, the pressure is on and there is no margin for error. Miss your shot and you may not get paid this week.
Lesson 5 : Your camera is your best friend
To earn a living from selling photos you need to be a pro with a camera. Most professional photographers will take a course at college or university but it’s more important that you have a genuine passion for photography in order to succeed in this industry. Most likely you will use a digital SLR camera with various long range lenses. Once you get your exclusive shot, you need to be quick and sell it right away so it can appear in the papers while the gossip is still juicy.
So could this be an interesting career for you? Well, if you’re good with a camera, enjoy the chase of hunting down celebrities and have no qualms about intruding in other people’s private lives, then maybe you have what it takes to be ‘paparazzi’. Plus the money can be fantastic too, catch an exclusive photo of Paris Hilton streaking through New York at 4am in the morning and you could be $100,000 richer.


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