Business of Shooting Celebrities

Posted on 4/7/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Big money is being spent for pictures of celebrities, but how much is going to the image creators?

Recently, People magazine paid $6 million for the first pictures of Jennifer Lopez and her twin babies, which they spread over 12-pages in the U.S. and Latin American editions. The UK magazine OK! bought the rest-of-the-world rights to the images for a similar amount and published a 15-page spread.

What did Hollywood entertainment photographer Tony Duran get for the shoot? We don't know, but the bet is that it was a tiny fraction of the $12 million. Duran has done 20 to 25 shoots of Lopez and usually gets several magazine covers out of every one. Perhaps just getting access to her will pay out in future business. The big money, however, certainly went to Lopez.

According to rumors, Lopez wanted her amateur photographer husband Marc Anthony to do the shoot, but it is believed People rejected the idea. If the magazine was going to pay $6 million for photos, they wanted someone with experience. (Maybe there is some hope for professional photographers after all.)

OK! has also paid $6.4 million for the rights to the images of England footballer Wayne Rooney's wedding this summer. Hopefully, some photographer in the UK will get a little piece of that, too.

On April 12 in Palm Beach, Ivana Trump, former wife of Donald, will marry Italian actor Rossano Rubicondi. Getty Images has paid a paltry $250,000 for exclusive rights to cover that wedding. The photographers will undoubtedly be staffers working on salary.

Last year, Getty's total revenue for News, Sports, Entertainment and Archive photography was about $138.34 million, making it the No. 1 producer of editorial photography in the world, ahead of AP. But only a small portion of that sum was paid to photographers in salary.

Not to be outdone, AP has announced it is adding 21 additional staffers spread between Los Angeles, New York and London to concentrate on expanding its entertainment coverage.

Copyright © 2008 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Jagdish Agarwal Posted Apr 8, 2008
    The story is the same all over the world. In India, photographers are paid about US$1 to about US$25 per picture and then the agencies syndicate the images worldwide.

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