How to Become a Celebrity Photographer

Last Updated on October 5, 2020

How to Become a Celebrity Photographer

Celebrities Need Photographers

If you carry your camera with you at all times, you may get good saleable action-news shots now and then. Timely shots sell directly or through agencies. Who can buy them? Newspapers and magazine syndicates. 

A talented celebrity photographer friend of mine made a living by doing photo-biogs of show biz celebrities. They often paid her to put together a portfolio of old and new shots for publicity handouts. 

Celebrities always have to market themselves. My friend wrote to various celebrities that she was a freelance photographer and writer. She wanted to do an interview photo-journalism feature story. She took the shots, did the story, and then offered to sell the photos to the subject. Usually, they bought it. Sometimes she sold the feature, sometimes she didn’t. 

Unexpected Payoffs in the Photography Business

celebrity photography

In some cases, the celebrity subject died (rare case) or became involved in a major news event soon after the interview. In those cases, she made a bundle on her feature articles because they were syndicated all over the world. 

Suppose you had done the last interview and photos of Audrey Hepburn before she died. Or took a picture of Marilyn Monroe’s Iconic Flying Skirt. Or had done an interview with O.J. Simpson the day before his wife was murdered.

Edge cases, but they often happen just by doing your thing. You fall into situations that have an unexpected big payoff. 

Accidental Success Story

Simply snapping away or getting live footage at the scene of a robbery, major fire or traffic accident can mean you pick up $25,000 in photo royalties.

For putting bread on the table. Suppose you see a sign that a hotel or restaurant will have its Grand Opening in two days. Why not offer to professionally record the event? Or take shots and offer public relations services by getting these shots into local papers and magazines? 

Next, if the owner says no, then you offer to do it “free” in exchange for let’s say free meals. If the meal is $25, you pick up a trade value of $100 (assuming you get 3 meals throughout the day). Not so bad for a night out where you may sell photos to the attendees, make contacts, pass out your business cards. And munch on free hors d’oeuvre plus champagne. 

Final Thoughts

Becoming a celebrity photographer is fun. You will get out and about—seeing interesting things and meeting interesting people. You will be more acceptable in bohemian or artistic circles than if you are a computer nerd or insurance salesman.

Interested in more ways on how you can earn extra cash as a Photographer? Check out How to Start a Photography Business: 17 Ways to Make Money as a Photographer.