Chasing Celebrities: A Paparazza Confession


If there were a list of most hated professions, paparazzi might earn the top spot. Few people besides telemarketers earn wrath like these professionals. But Julie Smith doesn't have the cold heart you'd expect.

The freelance photographer and sometimes paparazzi fell into the job on accident. She was working for a now defunct entertainment magazine when she suggested they start covering more movie premieres and celebrity parties. Suddenly she was fighting for a spot with the rest of the paparazzi..

"It was just a few years ago when celebrities were just starting to be hunted," she said..

It's the sort of profession where you truly are baptized by fire. She said you're forced to yell at the celebs to get their attention.

"I once yelled at Matthew Broderick, calling him Andy on accident," she said. "At least it got his attention. He thought it was funny" The rest of the paparazzi weren't so amused, telling her to 'Get it together!' She learned to use her wit and sense of humor. "They do respond to jokes," she said..

While she doesn't mind packing in with the press on the red carpet, she gets butterflies when she goes undercover. But that didn't stop her from photographing a well-known recovering alcoholic at a party with her girlfriend in the Hampton's..

"I was jumping over tables to get a good shot," she said.

The picture is still circulating more than a year after it was taken. Smith gets a check every time it's used, about $50-$100 each month She admits it's not a flattering photo. "It makes her look like she's wasted. But I'm not sure she was even drinking," she said.

Smith said it was once easy for paparazzi to make a living at the profession, simply following the big names around. "It's much harder now. So many kids go out to LA and get into it. There's so many more people following the stars," she said.

So Smith has just taken a nobler job as a photographer at a magazine. She says she may sell photos again, but for now she'll sleeps better at night.

What do photographers make?

Freelance photographer -- $35,728
Photojournalist -- $37,403
News photographer -- $43,001
Fashion photographer -- $48,710
Sports photographer -- $44,686

*Salary data is from Salaries listed are for full time workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses or profit sharing.

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randy albin

you want to enjoy what it is that you do-

April 28 2010 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Real Photog

Where's her confessions? Jumped over a table at a party, yea that's all to the story my six! Sorry but I'm a photographer who has felt the wrath of these smug jerks in another field of photography and get confused with these iditos who do anything to "get a photo" instead of create a piece of work. This isn't a confession, it's a cover up of false apology. Either the writer isn't telling the full story or someone isn't actually apologizing and confessing!

May 22 2009 at 2:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The same laws that allow the papparazi to stalk celebrities, protect individuals who stalk other people. Woman can not even get help from the police when they feel threatened by a stalker unless the stalker has committed a crime or a violent act. WHY is this allowed? Because the press want the right to stalk celebrities. So this allows psychos to stalk people and get away with it. The victims have no protection. Celebrities are victims as well. If the celebrities want to be photgraphed. There should be a time and place for it to be done. No open game for anyone to take pictures, chase you in your car, hound you from a helicoptor, or invade you personal space. Enough. It is not a game. It affect all of us. I can't stop some pervert from staring at my frightened 13 yr old daughter because the paparazzi want to get a picture of tom Cruz in a thong. This is just wrong. Freedom like this is twisted, not constitutional.

May 21 2009 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wow proof read much?!I guess anyone can write for payscale

May 20 2009 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To all you lawyers trying to defend your "profession," give us something to admire. You're hated and despised for a reason.

The reason a law-abiding person needs a lawyer is because lawyer/politicians have made the law impossible for a mere mortal to decipher.

Sorry, I got no respect for you bottom-feeders.

May 20 2009 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Paparrazi can't be banned nor arrested. It's a job and I bet a
fun one. If I seen a star on the streets you bet your ass I would
try to get a picture of them and more if I was lucky, like talk to
them and get an autograph. The actors thrive on the attention and
that's what helps their carrier. The problem isn't with the picture
taking it's with the written articles that come with that pic that
should be penalized, and that's what a courtroom is for. The pic
taker doesn't know why the actor does something unless they actually
talk to the actors themselves.

May 20 2009 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"on" accident? What, are you 3 years old?

May 20 2009 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

she'll sleeps better at night hmmmmmm.... didn't the person who wrote the story read the story before publishing it to make sure there weren't any mistakes.. NO

May 20 2009 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If someone can make money by taking a picture then that's fine by me. Sounds better than being a cashier, mistreated & undertipped as a waiter/waitress, pizza delivery driver etc. These celebrities make millions of dollars per picture. I can't stand their whining about being bothered by papparazzi (sp?) & the public. Let them try one of the above jobs & then their mouths would be shut. I once saw Lisa Kudrow interviewed near the end of "Friends" and the interviewer asked her how she felt about the show ending & she said "It will be nice not to be owned by the masses". Well, those "masses" got her paid $XM per episode and since she rarely works now either she has enough $$ not to or is not considered a good actress. As I said, I get sick listening to their whining. It's part of being in the public eye.

May 20 2009 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

cp....u the grammar police?

May 20 2009 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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