Katie Holmes, Suri, Paparazzi


I've got a question for you: How much do the paparazzi really make?
—Taylor, Minnesota

The biggest money comes from exclusive shots of international stars—Brangelina, Johnny Depp—going about their everyday A-list business. Good photos can sell over and over again, from South America to Australia, earning a smart paparazzo up to $500,000 yearly.

Mediocre paparazzi, however, make about as much as a school guidance counselor. They scrape along on common, $250-a-pop photos of Britney or Lauren Conrad. They're the guys always "chasing" Heidi Montag, snapping away as she grimaces through "romances" and "feuds."

On very rare occasions, there's a jackpot photo, a six-figure photo, one that every paparazzo wants. Right now, that one superphoto is...can you guess?

Why, it's the first picture of Brangelina's unborn, of course!

"If it isn't a setup shot," supposes veteran photographer Brad Elterman of Buzz Foto, "and they were strolling down the street with the kids, and it's exclusive and the first, you're talking easily a million bucks for the U.S. rights alone."

Overseas markets could bring in a few more mil, Elterman adds.

Then again, the incipient Brangie baby may already have an exclusive first-sitting deal with People magazine à la Shiloh and J.Lo's Max and Emme. So a dream payday for a paparazzo in that case is highly unlikely.

"A lot of being a good paparazzo is luck," explains Gary Morgan of Splash News. "It's nine hours of boredom and 30 seconds of excitement."

And many, many days tracking the totally authentic exploits of Speidi.

Got a question about Hollywood? ASK IT!

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