What’s it like to work as a paparazzi?

photographer hiding in bushes
By Alan Chenkin, Learned about celebrities reading magazines at the supermarket checkout
Being a Paparazzi is hours of boredom, moments of action (when a celebrity may be sighted, and photographed), and negotiation for fees for pictures. It is surveillance work, and requires some detective work, knowing people who can give you information on a specific star’s whereabouts, (and sometimes paying for the info). You also can be detested, Scorned, punched/threatened/assaulted, and jailed, if you are too aggressive. You also may be carrying expensive lenses and cameras, which can be subject to damage. If you are good, the reward is cash for your photos. You also have to know publicists, who may compel you to photograph their clients so they can get exposure in the tabloids.
How Paparazzi Work – How Stuff works
Oops! I'm the Paparazzi.
Paparazzi exist to feed the hunger of the press and the famous for more exposure – While I am sure many are professional and have some respect for the subjects, many are invasive and push the limits to get their pictures.  This can mean anything from an argument with a celebrity (or their bodyguards) to a fight that ends with someone arrested, or even loss of life (in the case of Princess Diana).
Reddit discussion– “If stalking is a crime,why are paparazzi tolerated?”
And now, Paparazzi need to be savvy with operating Drones!
Up and coming stars seek out the attention of Paparazzi to get more exposure and celebrity status.  If they are fortunate and become famous, they frequently “turn” on the paparazzi and deny them access, abandoning the resource they needed to get their fame.
So if I have not freaked you out, please hire me to train you as a world-class drone piloting, risk-taking Paparazzi at my famous photographer school. (Just joking, although a kickstarter for this may be fun).  Take a look at my Photography blog: The Good Shots.
Thanks for reading my blog! – Feel free to upvote, like, repost and share!
Edited and expanded from my answer on Quora.

 

 
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Where do websites get the paparazzi photos from?

Alan Chenkin, Learned about celebrities reading magazines at the supermarket checkout


Paparazzi sell their photos to the highest bidder, unless they are contract photographers (like staff photographers- who generally work for one organization). People with desirable photos on their cell phones can sell them too, AND BE PAPARAZZI – on sites like:
Paparazzi work hard at getting celebrity photos, and have to have relationships with middlemen, publications (and their attendant websites), and informers, who “leak” details about where celebrities will be.  This article highlights how many of them work in Hollywood: “How do the paparazzi sell their pics” – Slate.com.
Website Editors and producers are always on the lookout for fresh pictures, so the paparazzi are filling a need, the consumer thirst for anything about their favorite stars!  Candid photos of popular stars and celebrities get these websites more eyeballs, and higher rankings among the fan base and in searches.  This results in more exposure and money from their advertisers.
When a paparazzi has a good photo to sell, He/She contacts the tabloids directly and arranges a price. Or:

Building Your Paparazzi Business -Amazon Books

Thanks for reading this, and keep a sharp eye out for celebrities!
 

(Should you encounter a celebrity, please be polite and ask for a photo opportunity first.  Most are happy to oblige, and appreciate some respect, as you are profiting from their fame).

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