Jamie McCarthy, Celebrity Photographer: ‘It’s All About Trust’

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Jamie McCarthy has a job that many people (photographers and non-photographers alike) would kill for: He gets to rub elbows with celebrities and take pictures of them. McCarthy’s been in the industry for 17 years, snapping hundreds of celebrities and getting to know them on a personal level, too.

The photographer was mentored by his uncle, the legendary celebrity and nightlife photographer Patrick McMullan. They worked together for eight (somewhat tumultuous) years before McCarthy decided to give his solo career a shot. He now works for both WireImage and Getty Images.

McCarthy recently spoke with FishbowlNY editor Richard Horgan about his favorite clients, surprising reactions to his work, the ubiquitous TMZ and why building trust with celebrities is essential. Here’s an excerpt:

Has the rise of TMZ affected the way you do your job?
Not really. My team of photographers at Getty, we’re kind of like the anti-TMZ. We’re the guys that are pretty much on the inside. So we’re the guys who want to do the nice photos and make them look good, whereas TMZ and those guys I feel like they’re looking more for the dirt on celebrities. My clients hire me because they know they can trust me and I’m not going to give up secrets about them and I make them look good. I want people who see the photos to say, ‘Wow, she looks beautiful’ or ‘He’s great-looking.’ Also, I only shoot at events where people are expecting photographs to be taken. I’ve never tried to shoot people in their personal lives. That’s not my style.

To learn more about McCarthy and his work, read So What Do You Do, Jamie McCarthy, Celebrity Photographer?

Aneya Fernando