Celebrity Photography

What Is Celebrity Photography?

Many of us are captivated with the glitz and glamour associated with the celebrity lifestyle. We often find ourselves reading the headlines and glancing through celebrity gossip magazines while we wait in checkout lines – even if we don’t like to admit it. Some may even be obsessed with the life of stardom.

One of the most common ways that regular folks can get a glimpse into their favorite celebrities’ lives is through photographs. Celebrity photographs are just as their name suggests – photographs taken of celebrities.

In some instances, celebrity photographs are posed. The photographer will tell the celebrity which way to turn and what sort of look she should have on her face. The most popular celebrity photographs, however, are usually candid shots. These types of shots show celebrities in unposed and unplanned shots. Some celebrity photographs capture the normal, everyday activities of celebrities. On the other hand, some celebrity photographs capture the darker side of celebrity life – the scandals.

Work Environment

One of a celebrity photographer’s first jobs is to keep up with the popularity of the stars. A celebrity photographer must be prepared to keep up with the current trends and celebrity popularity.

Since many celebrities enjoy their privacy, celebrity photographers must ensure that they are in the position to get close to celebrities. In most cases, this means that they must live within a close vicinity of where celebrities often live or work. Some celebrity photographers may even work with informants who inform the photographers where and when the celebrities will be.

A celebrity photographer will usually work with several different types of photography equipment. Zoom lenses, for instance, are often a celebrity photographer’s best friends. These types of lenses allow the photographer to get close-up shots of celebrities from great distances.

As mentioned above, candid pictures of celebrities are typically the most popular. These types of pictures typically feature celebrities in everyday activities, such as shopping or playing with their children at a park.

The most popular photographs, however, are the photographs that depict celebrities in less-than-attractive situations. A celebrity photographer must not feel limited to taking photographs of so-called normal everyday life. He must be willing to take photographs of the more unpleasant aspects of a celebrity’s life. For instance, he should be willing to take photographs of a celebrity’s darkest moments, like the drug addictions and romantic affairs. Even photographs of an otherwise impeccable celebrity’s bad hair day are often worth their weight in gold.

A celebrity photographer’s life isn’t all glitz and glamour, however. In fact, it can be downright dangerous at times. Like many people, celebrities do enjoy their privacy. Many of them may feel violated when celebrity photographers take their pictures, especially when they are participating in unsavory activities. It is not unheard of for a celebrity’s bodyguard or even a celebrity to attack a celebrity photographer.

Education Requirements

As with any other type of photography career, the key to a successful celebrity photography career is the right education.

In general, aspiring celebrity photographers should earn photography degrees. Students earning these types of degrees will usually learn about nearly all aspects of photography, including different photography techniques. They will also usually be required to use several different types of photography equipment. Photography schools will allow students to hone their skills and get started in their celebrity photography careers.

Salary and Job Outlook


Estimating the annual salary of a celebrity photographer can be somewhat difficult. Freelance celebrity photographers, for instance, often try to sell their work “on spec”. This means that they take the pictures in hopes that a publication will buy them. The prices of celebrity range anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the average annual salary for photographers in general was $35,980 in 2010. In that same year, photographers in New York and California had the highest salaries, making $48,630 and $41,990 respectively.

Job Outlook

Some celebrity photographers may be able to find full-time jobs as staff photographers for certain publications. Celebrity gossip magazines, for instance, will sometimes have photographers on their staff. The majority of celebrity photographers, however, typically work as freelancers. After they get good photographs of celebrities, they then sell them directly to magazines.

Helpful Resources

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