Five fun facts about being a D.C. celebrity paparazzo


Photographer Colin Drummond, getting a shot of Carrie Underwood. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

But more and more celebrity photographers are making a living here in the District, a phenomenon explored in this Sunday’s Post Magazine cover story by Annie Gowen.

The piece is a richly reported, compelling look at a lucrative, competitive, adrenaline-pumping and often humiliating job. It’s also full of fun facts, including these five that I have singled out.

1. If you had managed to capture a photo of Oprah Winfrey’s sixth toe, you could have made $50,000. That’s how much paparazzo Colin Drummond earned from a much-distributed picture he snapped of the talk show hostess arriving to speak at Howard University’s commencement in 2007. And he’s still making royalty money off the image. (Drummond, by the way, is the guy who shot video of Shia LaBeouf throwing coffee at another photographer.)

2. Paparazzi shots of women tend to score better pay days than shots of male stars. This isn’t news to most Celebritologists, but the holy trinity as far as celebrity pictures are concerned involves a star’s baby, her boyfriend and a bikini.

3. Even stars saying inane things can be solid money-makers. Drummond reportedly snagged $1,000 for shooting a few seconds of video of Martin Sheen making ridiculous jokes about the White House.

4. Overly aggressive photographers once got ejected from an event at the District’s Ballou Senior High School. Why? Because Tobey Maguire was there and they got a little out-of-control. (As we all know, dangerous things can happen when Spider-Man is involved.) Debra DeShong Reed, the co-founder of a public affairs firm, remembers of Maguire: “He’s kind of a shy guy, and he kept saying, ‘All I want to do is do some service. This is very weird to me.’ ”

5. Russell Crowe can get creative when being chased by paparazzi. While being pursued by photographers along the scenic Clara Barton Parkway, Crowe got out of the car, grabbed a mountain bike out of the trunk and cycled off along the canal. The ol’ escape-on-a-bike trick — works every time.

When she isn’t at a movie theater or writing about movies, Jen Chaney is ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.

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