The word paparazzi sends dreaded chills down the backs of celebrities. Paparazzi photographers invade the lives of well-known people and expose their every day lifestyle and rituals. When you look on a gossip style website or magazine or the tabloids, you may enjoy seeing your favorite star up close. You may think “that is the price of fame.” Or you may feel it is invasion of privacy, something everyone deserves at their own home, eating a meal, shopping, or in their personal time.
I never thought much about it until my husband said, “check out these websites.” As instructed, I looked up “Miley Cyrus Orchard Lake” on Google and dozens or articles appeared. At first I had no idea why he wanted me to see these bikini clad pictures of Miley. My kids no longer are into “Hannah Montana” or “Miley Cyrus.” Though Orchard Lake is five minutes from my house, I still was unsure of his point. As I looked at Celebuzz, Memi Support, Celebrity Gossip, and many more websites, I thought “a boat, a jet ski, Miley in a bikini, and a boyfriend, so what.” I am guessing these same images are also in print magazines and tabloids.
Then my husband explained, “those pictures were taken at our friend’s backyard.” Miley is friends with one of our friends and was on her boat, jet ski, and raft this past summer. But these pictures were not snapshots that they took of each other having fun. Photographers took these photos without their permission and without them even knowing!
Once I heard this, I was freaked out. What a violation. What an invasion of privacy. I cannot imagine if pictures of me were blasted everywhere while I was enjoying a day at the lake. Of course Miley Cyrus is used to it, but it does not make it right.
What can we learn from the paparazzi?
At first you may think, “who would look to the paparazzi to learn about photography?” But there are many lessons that can help us grow. We can build stronger photography businesses from observing this style of photography.
Learn from what they do well:
- Persevere: Get the picture you want. If you have something you want to photograph, go for it!
- Lifestyle: Get photos of people in their element doing the things they love. When you capture these every day moments alongside posed pictures and portraits, you will broaden your offerings and appeal to a wider range of clientele. A mix of these images can also increase sales, especially of collages and storyboards, as well as albums.
- Stand back: Use a longer telephoto lens to capture shots at a distance. This works especially well with siblings and families. You can capture them interacting in ways they may not if you are in their faces.
Learn from what they do not do well:
- Ask permission: As you know, the paparazzi rarely asks if they can take photos. Celebrities often do not know the photographers are even there. Learn from this. Ask before you snap a shot of a stranger or on private property. If you get the correct permission, you will not need to worry later. Also, get model releases on everyone you photograph to protect yourself and your business.
- Interact: While it can be good to stand back from your subject(s) at times, it is also important to get in closer. Photographers have more control over poses, the look of the session, and the mood when they are interacting with their customer(s).
- Get pictures people want: Clearly the photos that end up in the media are not the ones most of these star would want for their photo albums, frames or walls. Aim to not only satisfy your artistic side but the desires of your customers. Satisfied clients will spend more than unsatisfied ones.