Celebrity Photographer

By TACP Staff on July 10, 2021

Celebrity photography is a branch of photography in which the pictures are taken of a famous individual, usually celebrities. Photos can be taken anywhere and at any time with the celebrity’s permission. The picture is also usually used by the celebrity for the promotion of their work or business.

Celebrity photography became a popular profession for photographers in the mid-1900s. They were considered as “the lucky ones” who had access to the stars. Today, most famous people have their own personal photographer who travels with them and accompanies them on trips around the world.

What Is a Celebrity Photographer?

A celebrity photographer is a professional who uses their photography skills to take pictures of celebrities. A celebrity photographer may work with magazines, newspapers, or any other company that publishes images of celebrities. A celebrity photographer is expected to catch those candid shots that magazines need to print as a story. These pictures show behind-the-scenes action, media scrums, and other moments when the celebrity is not posed and smiling for a camera.

Celebrity photographers are usually hired by a third party such as an agency or a magazine to do photo shoots with celebrities or to take pictures for a variety of assignments. They may be hired by the celebrity to take personal and private photographs, which are not for public viewing. They are also hired by celebrities to travel with them on tours and be present at concerts, sporting events, movies, red carpet events, or any other special event which is private or closed to the public. Some famous examples of celebrity photographers are Annie Leibovitz, Ellen von Unwerth, and Patrick Demarchelier.

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Celebrity Photographer Salary & Job Outlook


Estimating the annual salary of a celebrity photographer can be somewhat difficult. Freelance 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 fees and prices demanded by celebrity photographers can vary widely depending on the subject of the photo, reputation and experience of the photographer, and the exclusivity of the photo taken. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for photographers, in general, was $41,280 per year in 2020, but this amount is a weak estimate for celebrity photographers, given their high level of skill and exclusivity within the industry. 

Job Outlook

Celebrity photographers may be able to find full-time positions as staff photographers for certain publications. Celebrity gossip magazines, for instance, often employ photographers on their staff. The majority of celebrity photographers, however, own their own business and operate as freelance artists. The employment of self-employed photographers is expected to grow slightly as consumer demand for commercial and portrait photography is still very high. 

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