Ever wonder what it was like to be a photographer who captures all of the hot looks from your favorite celebs on the redcarpet, runway shows and more? Well, we go behind the lens with one of the top photographers in the business, Jamie McCarthy(above right with Snookie). He gives us a in-depth image of what it is like to capture all of his notable works. Jamie has been a celebrity photographer since the age of 21 and he quickly made his mark by working with a wide range of clients in music, fashion, nightlife and the young Hollywood scene. He is one of the top photographers for Getty Image and Wire Image. If you want to be a famous photographer like Jamie, check out photogrpahy classes at www.onlineclasses.net for courses. Continue below to see what Jaime had to say about what it is like behind the lens and see some of his most recent work which includes New York Fashion Week.
TFS: How did you get into photography?
JM: I got into photography through my uncle Patrick McMullan, who was already an established fashion and event photographer, when I was 20 years old. When I was younger I always liked to bring a camera to parties and get-together just to have pictures for my photo albums just for the memories, but never really thought of it in terms of making a career out of it. That all changed when I went to visit Patrick one day and he was looking through some slides from an event he photographed. I didn't really know exactly what he did, other than knowing he was a photographer and I asked him, “you get paid to go to parties and take pictures?" This seemed amazing to me because in those days, there weren't many photographers shooting parties and events like he did.This turned out to be a natural fit for me because I often went to these parties and knew many of the players. Long story short, I interned for him fora bit and helped him organize his archive which even further familiarized me with many of the subjects he was photographing. He eventually gave me a camera and sent me on my own shoots and guess what, I was good at it! I worked for him for eight years and helped him grow his company and worked my way through the ranks to become president of his company and not only one of his top photographers, but also coordinated day-to-day operations within the office.Eventually, I wanted to broaden my horizons and go out on my own, with his blessings,and was approached by Wire image, a new company at the time that was making big waves in the industry. There I took my photography to a new level and made an even bigger name for myself and even more clients across the country and even internationally. Eventually Wire image was acquired by Getty Images and I signed on with them and now shoot for both Wire image and Getty Images.
TFS: How do you prepare for the madness that goes on with photographers on the red carpet and at the runway shows?
JM: I've been doing this now for 17 years, so at this point I'm pretty prepared for every situation but most of the preparation goes into what equipment I will need and what I will wear because I believe presentation is a big part of my job. I like to look neat, stylish and fit what the event is about, no one will respect a photographer who goes to a black tie gala in wrinkled clothing sneakers and jeans. I want to look like I belong at the event as much as the guests.
TFS: Is there any particular person (celebrity, model, etc.) that you love shooting?
JM: There are so many great people I've worked with over the years that its hard name a few, but I definitely like working with female celebrities. When they dress up in high fashion and color it makes the photos so much more interesting. Off the top of my head, I'd say Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, Heidi Klum, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kelly Osbourne are some of the people I've enjoyed working with lately, because not only are they beautiful, stylish women, but they are extremely nice and professional which makes my job that much easier.
TFS: When you are shooting, how do you make sure that you capture the right image?
JM: When I shoot an event I look at it as if I'm telling a story. I want the person that is looking at my photos in a magazine or website to get and idea of what it was like to be there. I also think we photographers have an instinct and"the eye" to know what a great photo is. You also get to know what kind of photos the magazines like and you document accordingly.
TFS: Getty Images are the go to place for the best red carpet/runway images. How competitive is the photography business and how do you make sure you stay afloat?
JM: The photography business is super competitive, especially in the digital age,where everyone with a digital camera or iPhone thinks they are a professional.I think there are a few reasons I've been successful for so many year. First and foremost is the quality of my images. I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to my work and I am my own worst critic. I pride myself in never submitting an unflattering or bad picture of anyone out there. One of the best feelings for me is when a celebrity comes up to me and say, "that picture you took of me that was in People Magazine was beautiful, I looked great, thank you". That makes me feel like I'm doing my job well. Another aspect of my success has been relationships. Having a good relationship with celebrities,publicists, managers etc can mean the world in this business. When people trust you and feel comfortable with you, your photos will be that much better, the smiles are genuine. I try to be very polite and always ask nicely if I can take someone picture and people respect that. If someone doesn't feel like doing a photo that day I won't take it, I get it sometimes I don't feel like being photographed myself because I don't feel like I look good that day or I'm just not into it, its understandable. I mean come on, who can say they've never been tagged in a horrible picture on facebook that they want deleted, now imagine if you're a celebrity and you get photographed all the time on a global scale, that's why I'm here to make sure you look good :)
amfAR New York Gala To KickOff Fall 2012 Fashion Week – Inside NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: (L-R)Models Alexandra Storm and Natalia Andrade attend the amfAR New York Gala To Kick Off Fall 2012 Fashion Week Presented By Hublot at Cipriani Wall Street on Feb. 8, 2012 in New York City.
amfAR New York Gala To Kick Off Fall 2012 Fashion Week - After Party NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Actor Alan Cumming attends the amfAR New York Gala To Kick Off Fall 2012 Fashion Week After Party at The Double Seven on February 8, 2012 in New York City.
Tommy Hilfiger Presents Fall 2012 Men's Collection at the Park Avenue Armory - Front Row NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Actor Kellan Lutz attends Tommy Hilfiger Presents Fall2012 Men's Collection show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Park Avenue Armory on February 10, 2012 in New York City.
Tommy Hilfiger Presents Fall 2012 Women's Collection at the Park Avenue Armory– Backstage NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Models prepare backstage during Tommy Hilfiger Presents Fall 2012 Women's Collection at the Park Avenue Armory at Park Avenue Armory on February 12, 2012 in New York City.
Tommy Hilfiger Presents Fall 2012 Women's Collection at the Park Avenue Armory– Backstage NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: General view of atmosphere backstage during Tommy Hilfiger Presents Fall 2012 Women's Collection at the Park Avenue Armory at Park Avenue Armory on February 12, 2012 in New York City.
Photos: Jamie McCarthy/Wire Image/Getty Image