Like the title says, I used to be a paparazzo. I became one out of nowhere and it quickly absorbed my whole life. I quit in 2011 because I originally only intended to do it for one year, I ended up doing it for almost four. I escaped LA and the Hollywood life. I virtually saw almost every celebrity since I worked a lot at LAX (airport) where they all have to go through.

Now I'm a freelance writer, photographer and musician (and more). My webpage is http://matingas.com/ where I keep a blog about celebrities and my crazy life.

Here's an album to proof I worked as a Pap:

http://imgur.com/a/FLloI

Here's an album of me behind celebrities stalking like a creep: http://imgur.com/a/ASotX

Here's my Twitter account announcing the AMA.

Anything else? Well... ask me!

Edit: BRB... need breakfast. Will answer questions and post pictures if requested for a couple more hours.

Edit 2: uhh breakfast was delicious and now I'm here with more coffee replying to you guys, but I should do actual work sometime soon (which is still sit in front of my computer...)

Edit 3: I have to go for now, I have a job interview that I did not expect. Had a very productive morning, besides doing this AMA, I x-posted to /r/Mexico and also ended up writing an article for the San Diego Reader. I'll answer questions later tonight and close the AMA though I'm not sure how... Will make another AMA in the future with a more catchy title so people don't think I'm a fucktard just because I used to be a pap.

Edit 4: Anyone know how to archive this thing? I'm back to my normal reddit activity, except I'm getting a bunch of messages every time I log in.

THANKS to everyone who read what I have to say. My webpage has had over 1,000 visitors these past two days and I even got personal e-mails thanking me and asking other questions. Truly appreciate all the kind people.

Matingas

Comments: 325 • Responses: 79  • Date: 

dayofthedead20487 karma

I heard that Daniel Radcliffe basically made all paparazzo photos of him worthless because he wore the same clothes everyday - making it look like all photos taken of him were done the same day.

What other clever ways have celebrities burned the paparazzi? And what suggestions do you have to celebrities that want to make their photos, "worthless?"

Matingas101 karma

Basically Radcliffe got it right. This though, is pretty difficult with women who no matter what will try to look great in their outfits (I guess not all women, ehem.. Kristen Stewart).

Jessica Simpson ruined a huge sale once. I had her perfect, she was nice and smiling and my boss called me to tell me the pictures were selling.

She decided to tweet a picture of her wearing a wig on the airplane. The twitter picture made it to the magazines as everyone called to cancel the pay. Basically if the celebrity throws the picture online for free (or has a deal with a mag) they destroy the paparazzi's efforts.

Leo Di Caprio is also good at making his pictures worthless (and worth a lot at the same time), but he takes it a step further. I heard that even when he goes out to restaurants he asks for the table that faces a wall, doesn't look up to the waiter and never takes off his hat or sunglasses.

.... are you a celebrity? Cuz there's even more things that you could do to make your picture worthless (or for the paparazzi to be worthless). Good luck to you!

bocol22 karma

.... are you a celebrity? Cuz there's even more things that you could do to make your picture worthless (or for the paparazzi to be worthless). Good luck to you!

What more could a Celebrity do to make the picture worthless?

MNico38 karma

[deleted]

Matingas25 karma

They could still be published blurred and that he did that was a story, so at the same time he was getting more media attention.

Pictures of that are worth more than just simple pictures of Marilyn Manson strolling through LAX.

Dominany42 karma

The Cult of Personality. How demeaning was it to take pictures of celebrities? Here in NYC, we ignore them and they can live a fairly normal life and actually walk around (except John Lennon).

Matingas29 karma

NYC has a lot of paps and they don't ignore them. LA works pretty much the same. A lot of people ignore them, but a lot of people go to the city just to see a celebrity so of course they go wild when they see one.

It was pretty demeaning, especially being an artist myself. But I did get to see awesome people and even shook hands with Paul McCartney.

Salacious-35 karma

What was the most disruptive or invasive thing that you ever did to get that money shot?

Matingas87 karma

The worst one that haunted me for days.... was Marcia Cross' twin daughters birthday with her husband that had cancer.

It was super creepy, worked with a partner, never left the car where I was hidden and took pictures of them enjoying a day in the park. When they went for coffee later, they saw us and they were super chill and nice people. Seriously, I couldn't believe they were so nice. They knew we were always there in the car taking pictures and thank us for giving them their space. Still super creepy. I hated that job.

I'm sure I did more similar things... you know.. being a creep is part of the job. But that's the one I just remembered right now.

Never really did anything "invasive" out of the ordinary that I can think off. Bruce Willis did call the cops on me once because he said I was trying to get into his property. This was not true, I simply was peeing in a bush in Mulholland ave...

chr0s30 karma

Did you ever see/meet anyone from the Chili Peppers?

Matingas36 karma

Yes. I have "famous" pictures of Anthony Kiedis and his son Everly Bear (I think that's his name). I'll link you or post them soon.

Anthony was really really chill and a really nice person.

Also saw Flea and Chad. Both great guys, but virtually worthless in pictures in the paparazzi realm.

Edit: Here's Anthony with his kid.

chr0s5 karma

Cool pic. No sign of John Frusciante? =P

So do you just hang around the gates all day and see who turns up, or do you have vague ideas of who to expect?

Matingas5 karma

More than vague ideas. A detailed list of what flight they were on and constant calls from several sources even giving me more information.

Hanging out at the gate is a waste of time and parking lot money, though some of the best pictures happened this way.

Had to google John Frusciante, I believe I saw him, but never tried to sell his picture. Searched my hard drive as well... nothing.

shofaz30 karma

What's the worst or meanest celebrity you met? I had a chance of meeting a lot of celebrities too, and I have to say that Eddie Murphy is a major douche.

Matingas45 karma

Sean Penn punched a friend of mine in like the second week of the job.

Javier Bardem spat in my eye (and I was so nice to him).

There's a lot out there that are douches, but for the most part, they were nice. They are just like people, some assholes, some regular folks and then the extremely super nice.

I never saw Eddie Murphy, but what you say makes sense. In comparison, Samuel L. Jackson is fucking awesome and nice, and you would think he would be the mean one.

the_minimalist8 karma

damn. i thought javier bardem was cool.

Rosetti35 karma

If Javier Bardem told that story in his AMA, the comments would probably read 'Yeah, fuck paparazzi'.

It's all about perspective.

Matingas6 karma

People love to hate on paparazzi no matter what. I'm sure most of my downvotes came from people just reading the word "paparazzo" and were like "fuck this guy, downvote to hell," and they didn't even bother reading anything I had to say.

Matingas22 karma

He can still be cool. I saw him a couple more times and he was dickish, but no spitting on my face.

Maybe he was having a bad day, maybe he is just a general asshole or has no idea what to be a pap is like, but the dude is a pretty good actor though I hated him on Love in the Time of Cholera. I have a few friends that are a fan of his and got sad with my experience with him. But fuck it, just hope the guy thinks about the shit that he did. I mean, that's like one of the worst thing you can ever do (to spit on someone's face). I think I rather be punched.

mrvegas24 karma

Have you ever played the game pokemon snap?

Matingas52 karma

YES! and it is my main inspiration.

MustardPhilosophy24 karma

If you suddenly became super famous, would you complain about not having privacy, being followed etc. or would you suck it up and say it's part of your life now? Would you smile and talk to paps or openly hate them?

Matingas27 karma

Of course I thought of this before. I believe that privacy is a lost issue now a days with the internet and the NSA. I am not embarrassed of who I am and I believe I would smile and talk to them openly.

I would hate it if I was in my honeymoon or something of that sort and some asshole was shooting me with a 500+ lens. But there's an easy way to avoid this from happening and many celebrities have figured it out (just take pics yourself and throw them online for free, kills the money shot)

I would follow the example of people that admired and were great with the paps. They are just people working for some shitty media that wants some shitty news.

yaph22 karma

Have you ever been attacked by someone who didn't appreciate being photographed?

Matingas55 karma

Javier Bardem spat in my eye and that was about it.

Other people hide or run away, but none really attacked. Justin Bieber and I played a little game of see who can run faster. I won.

Oh yeah, and Beyonce's bodyguards. They push you and attack you, no fucks are given.

LandoCalrissian211321 karma

"I need you step out of the car, sir"

"Would you hold still please"

spits in your face

Matingas52 karma

This was at LAX. He was walking with Penelope and I was giving them distance while saying really nice things in Spanish (welcome to LA, I'm a huge fan, I love your work).

He was about to get in his car when he turned around and I thought he was going to extend his hand to shake and say thank you (like many other celebs have).

Instead he said "Eres basura" and spat in my eye.

I saw Penelope freaking out, I saw his helper freaking out... I freaked out. I yelled back that I was just a guy trying to pay his fucking college debt working a shitty job, but no fucks were given. He got inside the car and left.

I called my boss, he told me I had a lawsuit in my hands, specially because there was witnesses. I thought about it and talked to the police. They told me I could press charges under attack with a biological weapon (yep..) and it was going to be a whole fucking mess. I decided to drop it and leave it to karma.

alfemja22 karma

Based on the years you spent as a paparazzo, I assume you had some experience with Britney Spears? As that was around the time of her 'breakdown' which brought on a major media frenzy. Tell me everything about her!

Matingas35 karma

oh god...

Yep. She was indeed crazy. I tried hitting on her with the fantasy that I would be in someday and I was just 21...

What can I say that hasn't been said before? The camera I used when I switched agencies was the very same one that took the picture of her shaving her head and her vagina. My boss was like "this camera and I have been through a lot, break it and you are fired." (He was half kidding and I loved that D3)

My first jobs as a pap was Britney. She did randomly talk in British accents and was widely unpredictable. It was always a mess with shit tons of people trying to get pictures. One time she drove around in circles in a parking lot as 20 pap cars followed her. She would park, pretend to get out of the car, all the paps would jump out, but then she would just get in again and drive around the parking lot.

This pap told me a story that one day they were outside her house waiting for her. When she decided to come out and invite all the paps inside for a BBQ and a party but with no cameras. They obliged and went inside her house where she went to a different room. He said she then went to a different room and when she came back asked wtf they were doing there and called security to kick them out. He also said that he went inside a room that had random sex toys and shit smeared on the walls. THIS IS NOT MY STORY. Just a story I heard when house sitting some place else.

After her breakdown I saw her at LAX a couple of times. She always seem faded, almost robotic as her handlers took her through security and put her on her plane.

Edit: I actually already wrote about Britney on my blog and tell the stories there of when I saw her.

ArtOfStupidQuestions21 karma

What odd similarities do you find between celebrities and people?

Matingas66 karma

Odd? There's no odd similarities. Celebrities are people. They have two ears, two eyes, a mouth and a nose, two arms (etc. etc.)

ohh ohh

I see your redditor name now.

dnth720 karma

Do you have a most prized photo of a celeb? (more so personally to you, not what everyone else wanted)

.... do you have any pictures of Tom Hiddleston? I'm such a giddy fangirl

Matingas14 karma

One of my favorites was Lindsay Lohan in Hawaii. It was like my first travel job and major sale and the first time using a 500mm lens. But there's a lot of other pictures I treasure (like the aforementioned Paul McCartney).

Never saw Hiddleston, he was not famous when I was around, sorry :(

rakelllama20 karma

Just wanted to say thanks for an interesting AMA. I live in a sleepy northeastern US city where there are no celebrities, so it's a neat perspective to read about!

Matingas15 karma

from all my travels, I still haven't been to northeast US and hope one day I visit your sleepy city. They called me "sleepy" in high school, so it would be fitting to go take a nap over there.

poplols12319 karma

if you are still answering questions, what was the nicest thing a bodyguard said to you or the strangest thing a body guard did?

Matingas62 karma

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's bodyguard was super chill. He always told me how things were going to go down, didn't block my picture, just did his job.

Fergie's bodyguard is like her best friend. He was also always awesome.

Jessica Simpson's bodyguard told me about all the people he had worked with before. He was also a former cop and marine. I asked him what would he do if I was an actual threat. In less than a second my arms were locked painfully behind my back and couldn't move. Super badass.

poplols12321 karma

Holy shit. I wanna meet that last bodyguard. Sounds like that was a lot of fun. Also did you meet anyone that you still keep in contact with?

Matingas33 karma

Uhh.. there's a lot of people I still keep in contact from LA, but not an actual celebrity that I met.

I'm not going to name drop, but a friend of mine is a comedy stand up has been in a few shows and might be getting a movie deal soon.

I slept with a girl who is now in movies, youtube shows, commercials and shows. I keep contact with her, mostly because I want it to happen again. I don't think it will happen again.

PX_This7 karma

Mary Kate and Ashley's (former) bodyguard! I know him, he's my friend! Yay! :)

Matingas6 karma

Bald guy that always wear pink shirts?

They switched bodyguards quite a few times. If that was him, he is a cool dude. Thank him for being a cool bodyguard for me.

TJBAM19 karma

I don't recognize anyone from your proof photos. Go me.

Matingas29 karma

That was me before I started the job. Now I know the names of their fucking kids. Trust me, I'm so happy I quit.

RicsFlair26 karma

They probably are too.

Matingas18 karma

Sadly, some other asshole probably took my job and apparently there's even more paparazzi now.

A lot of celebrities told me I was the only nice one so I hope they remember that there was once the nice tall awkward dude.

neon_skelton18 karma

Did any celebrities call you to take their picture? I heard Hilary Duff does this.

Matingas19 karma

Not me personally. A lot of them do call other paps.

neon_skelton14 karma

Can you say who was calling paps?

Matingas37 karma

Many have at some point in their career...

All the Twilighters. The Kardashians. Lindsay Lohan. Almost everyone from The Hills.

If its not them directly is via a publicist.

Celebrities need paps as much as paps need celebrities (or even more... )

BKHawkeye18 karma

Does the industry establish any limits or unwritten rules when it comes to your profession? Is there a line that most are unwilling to cross when it comes to getting a shot?

I hope my questions make sense.

Matingas28 karma

There are. But now there's too many idiot paps breaking the unwritten laws. So the limits have been disappearing and people will do whatever to take a picture.

For me is plain and simple, to have respect for the human who happens to be the celebrity.

TMZ has pretty basic rules for their videographers about respect and not shoot if they the talent doesn't want to be shot. If you see a video of asshole paps filming and just provoking celebs, they weren't TMZ (or they were and got fired).

jelatinman17 karma

Did you make friends with any of them? If I were a celebrity I'd try to have one paparazzi friend... one.

Matingas29 karma

I would like to say yes... but friendship is a two way street, so I know it's silly to think they were my friends.

I chatted up with many and even hung out, gave them my business cards and what not. But no one ever called me :(

xenokilla17 karma

i've heard that celebs will call pap to tip them off, is this a common occurrence?

Matingas14 karma

Yes, depends on the situation. Some need the media attention at just the right moment.

Gravy-Leg__16 karma

Any Alec Baldwin encounters?

Matingas28 karma

Hahaha... oh yes. The man flies from LAX to JFK a lot. I saw him a bunch. He was never nice but also never a dick.

Never anything bad but I do suspect he has no teeth. He was also embarrassed whenever his daughter picked him up for some reason.

Edamus12 karma

No teeth?

Matingas13 karma

Yes, like he has prosthetic teeth and takes them out at will (like Grandpa!)

Contrary_mma_hipster21 karma

I believe the word you are looking for is "dentures".

Matingas14 karma

AHH yes. I couldn't think of that!

literarybanana15 karma

Which celebrities are the most 'in demand'? Do you think any celebrities genuinely get unfairly harassed or are excessively pursued by the paparazzi?

Matingas21 karma

Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt and Jolie are the top 3 demands and will always be a good sell.

Uhh... its not the paparazzi that chooses who to pursue, is the obsessed audience that wants to know more about a certain person. Some get unfairly harassed when the media only cares about them. I remember Rihanna after the Chris Brown days, everyone was in that case (I shied away from on demand stories). She definitely was pursued like crazy for a while.

literarybanana12 karma

I understand what you mean - that was poorly phrased! My apologies. I guess I wondered if you felt there are celebrities who can legitimately complain about the involvement of the press in their lives. I particularly wondered in light of what you said about celebrities who used to be child stars hating it; I've seen the clips of Suri Cruise telling paps to photograph her doll instead of her, and I wonder how this will impact her later. Do you think there's an increase in how involved audiences want to be with the children of celebrities?

Matingas27 karma

I believe that America and every country should adapt the no baby pictures like in Europe, where they blur the pictures of anyone under a certain age.

It truly is fucked up that Suri Cruise is as famous as she is. BABIES BABIES BABIES. The magazines and my bosses would yell at me for that. I don't understand celebrity obsession, much less celebrity baby obsession.

literarybanana13 karma

Thank you for your reply!

I agree absolutely about the minimum age for taking photos of young children, that seems very appropriate.

I think that's the part of things I've found hardest to comprehend. While I find the interest in celebrity coming-and-goings to be a little off, I can understand it as being a sort of aspirational thing. When it comes to the current trend of knowing what is going on with celebrity babies, and the trend of (some) celebrities creating web presences for their babies via instagram and twitter, I find it really strange.

When I think how many sad stories there are about child celebrities not coping with the work or the fame for something they've done, I compare it to a generation of celebrity children, in particular Suri Cruise, who are famous and magazine-fodder for doing nothing except carrying some genetics. I don't see this going anywhere good. And, like you, I don't understand the celebrity baby obsession.

I have one more question if you have time! Do you think the presence of social media (while obviously making it easier for selfies etc and undermining your job) has made celebrities in general more open and accepting of public scrutiny?

Matingas8 karma

Celebrities that have a social media presence are for the most part better off. But have to be always careful about what they post online, anything can be taken out of context.

For myself, I know there's people that are going to upvote me and people that are going to downvote me. I'm happy for those who appreciate me and don't care about the haters that just hate (unless they have something constructive to say). I think many celebs are grasping this notion. There's probably as many Justin Bieber fans as Bieber haters and he should understand that not everyone is going to like him. This is what everyone should acknowledge and everyone would be fine (or that is my view).

insomn1ac10 karma

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, cos I appreciate you're answering the questions, even the 'hard' ones, which is more than many AMAs, but...

I believe that America and every country should adapt the no baby pictures like in Europe, where they blur the pictures of anyone under a certain age.

... you just posted an un-blurred pic of Kiedis' toddler. What gives?

Matingas6 karma

hahaha

My agency sold those pictures before. The harm was already done, did not think much of it. Also, the only pics I have of Kiedis are with his kid. I wasn't going to get out of my way to blur that out.

But you are right that I would prefer to have that picture blurred out (also, I should be watermarking my pictures, but laziness!)

barttaylor13 karma

Generally, how do you find out when "celebrities" will be at a location? Is it random chance? Or do their publicists tip you off and they just act surprised?

Matingas16 karma

Already answered this in some ways.

Random chance happened a lot (I mean, Aleksander Skarsgard and Bai Ling lived in my same apartment complex)

Anyone and everyone will tip you off. Publicists sometimes give information without the knowledge of the celebrity, so they are genuinely surprised.

16dots11 karma

Do you have any picture of bai ling where she's not trying to nip slip?

Matingas8 karma

Looked through my hard drive. Apparently Yes.

There's a set of her eating at Fish Market in Venice, boring pictures of her just applying make up.

There's another set of her arriving to LAX with a red shirt on. Boring pictures of her again.

I guess the only ones that make the light of day are those that show her pencil eraser nipple.

boomsday11 karma

What sort of car did you use? Is it true that you just rent them because you don't want your own car going through that abuse?

Also if you were a tourist in LA where is the one spot you would go to see celebrities easily?

Matingas18 karma

I had a 2008 GTI in 2008. It was a company lease and they charged me unfairly for it. It had tinted windows and curtains to hide inside, even though it was a small car. I loved that thing.

After that, when I was done "stalking" and exclusively worked at LAX (a deal I struck with an agency), I had a 95 miata.

Renting is much much better.

Uhh... try the usual hang out places? Robertson? Beso restaurant? The thing is.. there's so many celebrities that a lot of people see them and not even realize it.

I had a going away party (for when I left LA) and I chose a shitty dive bar in Santa Monica. Fucking Whitney Port was there.

landmule9 karma

It must be weird to know so much about people that are not really part of your life. Kind of surreal to know the names of people's kids, friends and their habits when they're just part of the job. Did you ever encounter a celebrity's stalker and, if so, how did that go?

Matingas10 karma

only Twilight stalkers. They are so obsessed with everyone in that movie and I found them super creepy. Some followed me for no reason and constantly asked me what they were like. Other (and some girls I truly appreciated back then) gave me free information of where the twilight kids were going to be.

Also met Miley stalkers. SOOOOO weird. They would show up at her house and ask me at what time she's coming out and would be way worse than paparazzi in terms of following them and give them personal space.

johnnynoname129 karma

out of 10 A-list celebrities how many are in the closet? 3 out of 10? 5 out of 10?...it's a cliche question I know but i still need to know

Matingas16 karma

hahaha

This made me literally lol.

I think I have a decent enough gaydar and I would say that is more than you imagine. Tons of Hollywood waiters (wanna be models/actors) like to claim that they have slept with celebrities so I have heard that a lot are.

daebat8 karma

This was a good read, thanks for posting!

Matingas6 karma

Thanks for reading

tinasaccount8 karma

[deleted]

Matingas9 karma

Yes.

and not so "secretly"

diabolizor8 karma

What is the need for all this following around? How's the attitude and how are the people who you work with? There seems to be no care about giving people their space, and their private time is it, and sounds like this is an industry for just people who don't care about others?

Matingas3 karma

There are a lot who are not American (probably do not have the papers to work there) and give no fucks about anything.

It is a dirty industry where people trample over each other to make money.

My last year working was for an agency where everyone was fair and smart, so that was way better.

Kind_Of_A_Dick7 karma

Obviously some celebrities act like they hate the paps, but have there been any in your experience that stood out as exceptionally nice and kind to the people that take pictures?

Matingas8 karma

Besides all the celebrity whores (Kardashians, the Hills, Jersey Shore, Kate and Jon Gosling, etc.) yes.

Al Pacino has to be one of the nicest ones that you would never expect. Hugh Jackman is super nice that every time I saw him I just wanted to brohug the dude. Like I said before, those who you expect them to be super mean turn out to be nice. Some that you expect to be super chill are complete dicks.

tl;dr Al Pacino and Hugh Jackman

ANUS_CONE9 karma

I wish people would stop taking pictures and celebritizing the kardashians. They are seriously the least interesting people ever. They are famous for no reason. I don't even think they're attractive.

Matingas17 karma

Kim is oddly hot.

Seriously, in person she doesn't seem interesting or hot. I would take pictures of her and be like "bleh," then look at my camera and she would look perfect. Oddly photogenic in like the worst lightning and worst moments.

But yeah. I have no idea why they are famous besides Kim having an ass that I could sleep on as if it was a waterbed (and yes, it is that huge in person).

GumSmacker5137 karma

What was the pay like? For example, did you get good money if you were the lone photographer (because I can't spell Papa whatever)?

Matingas13 karma

The pay always depended. I know now a days is way worse and paps fight more for lame pictures.

It could be anywhere between 5 cents and $5,000 or even more.

I averaged around 5k a month. I had horrible months where I made less than 1k. My best month was 12k.

Pay was tricky. The picture gets sold, the magazines don't pay you until months later. Blogs pay a misery. The agency you sold the pictures fuck with the numbers and pay you less. So the numbers were always all over the place. Sales reports included title of picture sold, what it sold for and my commission. Sometimes the report was 5 pages long of tiny tiny amounts that added up to 2,000.

So... it always depends. There is money in the job, its just not easy money (and I hear that now a days is way worse).

jonnierios7 karma

Hello. Did you talk with Diego Luna and Gael Garcia?? As a mexican I'm really proud they are doing so well in the international film business

Matingas12 karma

YES! As a Mexican and a huge fan of all their work I had to talked to them. I approached them to get that picture of me with them at LAX.

Gael was a bit of a dick and Diego was the nicest fucking guy ever. Gael was confronting me because I took more than one picture, he told me that one was enough. I told him that in the business I keep shooting until I get the right frame. Diego calmed Gael and asked me to direct them to the taxis. I helped them navigate LAX while taking pictures and Gael was still being dickish (while Diego super chill)

Iñarritu was there with them as well, but I didn't bug him because he was with his family.

Also saw Diego once in a bathroom in a bar in LA. I was already drunk and walking out when he was walking in. I randomly yelled "DIEGO!" and he looked at me with a "do I know you" type face. I just told him I was a fan, shook his hand and left the awkward situation.

landmule7 karma

Have you known anyone before they became famous - or on the way up? If so, has that been beneficial later on?

Matingas22 karma

Yes. Tons of people. When I started, Twilight was nothing. My neighbor was Nikki Reed and she was awesome. We figured our birthdays were one day apart and we had a lot of similar interests (she going to college for art history which I also partake).

Also, Selena Gomez was just the little girl from Wizards of Waverly place. Miley Cyrus was just Miley. I saw both of them become massive which was super weird. They were both super nice when barely famous, but it changed fast.

There's more like that...

It was beneficial in the way that if they remember who I was, they were super nice to me. Like Vanessa Hudgens. She always smiled at my camera and other paps were always like WTF?! how do you do that?! It sounds super dumb, but I miss her sometimes...

modestmau5_6 karma

Ever get to meet Dave Grohl? I'd like confirmation he's the nicest person in the world.

Matingas6 karma

Saw Dave once and he was past security already, so basically no. I have heard from other paps that he is a really nice person.

PointTakenSayAmen6 karma

[deleted]

Matingas10 karma

Well.. this is going to be a very bias answer since she is also my celebrity crush.

SHE'S AWESOME AND I'M IN LOVE WITH HER.

Yes, I have folders and folders with tons of pictures of Audrina. I used to hang out by her house and follow her all the time.... She was always super nice, her sister and brother were chill too. Her dad tried to sell me their monster truck (as if I made that much money as a pap). Basically, picture that high school crush that you had nothing in common with but still believe you were going to marry her (or at least that's how it was for me).

stoicsmile20 karma

Well.. this is going to be a very bias answer since she is also my celebrity crush. SHE'S AWESOME AND I'M IN LOVE WITH HER. Yes, I have folders and folders with tons of pictures of Audrina. I used to hang out by her house and follow her all the time.

I would like you to read this passage out loud to yourself and think about it for a minute.

Matingas16 karma

Yes, Audrina brought out the true stalker in me. No fucks were given by her. No fucks were given by me.

ReddifordPSlapnuckle6 karma

I always think these famous people are out doing awesome rock star things all the time, but I know that's just not true. Do you happen to have an example of what a successful and famous actor would be doing on a Tuesday night (assuming they're not doing some sort of working 100 hrs a week for a movie thing)?

Also, did you ever try to make deals with any actors ahead of time to take photos?

Matingas3 karma

uhh... probably reading a book.

Celebrities are just normal people. It depends on the celebrity, depends on what they do Tuesday night.

Yes. A lot of deals were like this, especially upcoming actors or reality celebrity whores. I personally never struck a good deal, but many others have done deals, like Lohan (which shouldn't be surprising).

Also, Heidi and Spencer from the Hills had a deal with PCN, which is a pap agency (I'm guessing/hoping they Speidi aren't relevant anymore).

benofepmn5 karma

what would a famous B-list celebrity have to do to get unfamous / uninteresting enough that the paparazzi would stop following them around everywhere?

Matingas8 karma

And continue to work... ? That would be really tough, because they have to be public figures after all.

There's plenty of famous people that never make it to a magazine or people don't even know who they are. No one knows who Hugo Weaving and he keeps his personal life intact. I knew this girl who was an autographer who has an LOTR shirt with everyone's signature. AND I mean everyone. The whole cast, camera crew, random staff. She is missing Hugo Weaving's signature and told me she's been trying for years.

So... be uninteresting. Don't date another celebrity. Don't do public appearances. Be as boring as you can be. If people don't want to know who you are, the paparazzi won't either.

B1icious5 karma

I Hope I'm not too late and someone already asked this question and I missed it! Has your past as a paparazzo affected any possibilities of new jobs, relationships, etc? I. e. Someone not hiring you because of it.

Matingas4 karma

This is probably the best question of them all and I had a job interview yesterday.

I tell them I was a photojournalist and avoid the subject about paparazzi. After all, pictures were in newspapers all over the world.

It has affected me job wise a lot. Because I don't want to do a lame ass entry job. I've gotten in to several, but then I just don't show up. I don't see myself doing a regular job.

Now that I'm freelance writing, musician, photographer and tour guide... things are looking up. I have more jobs lined up for 2014. But it did it take me a bit to get over it and I never mentioned it to anyone.

Relationshipwise... well.. It's not like I meet girls and say "hi, I used to be a paparazzo." When they find out later on the road they think its awesome, ask a million questions (similar to the ones here), and then they get over it.

When I was living in LA it was hit or miss. Some girls would think it was awesome and wanted to know more. Other girls (wanna be famous girls/name droppers/shitty LA people) called you a parasite and stopped talking to you.

altimalove5 karma

Which celebrities pay the paparazzi to take their picture?

Matingas6 karma

None that I know off. Magazines pay the paparazzi, the celebrity might have an agreement to pose or give out a certain story for a prize.

I don't think celebrities have to pay someone to take their pictures. There's that redhead that think's she's a celebrity and is always craving the attention.

regurgih8er5 karma

Phoebe Price?

Matingas13 karma

HAHA Yes!

Someone asked for an upskirt... looked through my hard drive and I got some of Phoebe.

dmilby4 karma

Which celebrities smoke cigarettes? Any idea of a percentage? Also any celebrities that seem tame but actually party hard?

Matingas11 karma

I caught a few smoking and some asked me to delete the frames because they don't want that image.

It wasn't that often. Complete guess of a percentage, 30%. And from that 30% only 5% are closeted smokers.

uhh.. The Jonas Brothers? probably not the answer you were looking for.

BaroueDreams4 karma

Was there ever a great day or photo or moment that made you feel like, "yeah, this may be the thing for me!", aside from the potential payout of a lucky shot?

i've read all your answers (thank you for doing this, by the way) and you haven't really touched on any personal satisfaction. WAS THERE ANY? your family kind of got you into it but was it always just a job or were there moments that could have carried you further?

Matingas4 karma

I still look at it as this awesome thing I did for some years. There was a lot of moments I was like "fuck yeah, I'm the best at this shit." There was times that with more than 50 photographers around, I would figure out where the celebrity would come out and I would get an exclusive. The guy I worked with was really good at faking everyone out to go to the wrong place while I snapped (or the other way around).

There was the day I saw 27 celebrities in LAX in less than 5 hours and 23 of the sets were exclusive. It was my record and according to my boss who claimed to have the previous record of 21, it was the LAX record. I'm proud of that.

Also, seeing your pictures published everywhere feels nice. Some even made newspapers which made me legitimize my job as actual journalism (though the worst kind). My mom watched TMZ often just in case she spotted me on the background (I was on at least once a week... )

samovolochka3 karma

If either of these questions have been asked already, I apologize. Interesting AMA for sure :) 1. What's the most violent thing a celebrity has done to a pap you know or know of? How violent can they get? 2. Total girly girl here. Did you ever get pics of Dita Von Teese? If so, pics pleeaassee??

Matingas3 karma

  1. The Javier Bardem spitting on my eye was the worst. Other friends got punched and more (and they sue successfully)

  2. I had history with Dita Von Teese. It was the only person I freaked out and I was a total dick and mean to her. She twitted about me how rude a pap I was and stuff. I apologized via Twitter, then saw her a couple more times and apologized in person. We talked and we were cool. I truly regret yelling at Dita, I was having a horrible day and so was she, but that was no excuse to flash her on her face like many other retard paps do now a days.

Doug_3 karma

What are some of the crazy things that happens to a paparazzo? Anyone do something that caught you completely off guard?

Matingas5 karma

uhh.. Javier Bardem spat in my eye.

A lot of crazy things happened almost daily...

dk98381cmck3 karma

What is the aesthetic you go for when you're shooting/editing?

Matingas5 karma

For the celebrity to look the most natural possible. Get a lot of different angles and switch from horizontal to vertical to leave space for the magazines to write stuff. Variety is important, you never know what the magazine wants.

Obviously have the person completely in frame and centered is a standard goal. Sometimes for horizontals off to the right or to the left in case the magazine wants a two page spread. To try to narrate a story instead of just taking a picture and done.

Agency usually took charge of the editing and I send them raw pictures. Sometimes I had to do my own edit (and after hours of work, editing hundreds of pictures is annoying).

I hope this makes sense, not sure if it was the answer you were looking for.

downunderguy3 karma

Which celebrities had the best or worst temper when they got their photos taken?

Matingas5 karma

None and all at the same time.

Whoever you think will be mean, is actually super nice. Whoever you think will be super nice is the opposite.

When a celebrity has a movie coming out, they are super nice. When they have negative press they become assholes.

For the most part, everyone was awesome to me. "Real" celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Paul McCartney, Al Pacino and more were super awesome. "Whore" celebrities, reality show people and stuff like Audrina, Kim Kardashian, Jersey Shore kids and the like were obviously super awesome, they live for their popularity and lack of talent.

Celebrities that were child celebs usually hated it with the exception of Elijah Wood who is one of the nicest people ever. But the likes of Natalie Portman and Leo DiCaprio were really really difficult to get.

Frajer3 karma

So I always wondered how exactly do you know which flight someone is on does Delta call you and say hey Kanye's on our flight or what?

Matingas12 karma

Basically...

Either someone that works for Delta. The driver who is supposed to pick up Kanye or Kanye's PR gives you the flight #. Sometimes is the obvious celebrity gets on a flight from LHR and people get pictures. There's only a few flights from LHR to LAX, you figured out which one they are on.

One time I saw Ann Coulter randomly and took her picture. She asked me how I knew and guessed "someone in JFK told you!" I was like... "sure Ann, because you are that important"

greenmask11 karma

Taking pictures of Ann Coulter is a waste of ink and paper. Should have beat her with the camera instead

Matingas6 karma

I snapped four (digital camera) The flash didn't go on for 2 of them. Sent the one semi decent pic to my agency just in case.

Here's that she-devil

TheMartian_3 karma

Do you consider paparazzi work "photography"? Why or why not?

Matingas1 karma

I consider it one of the toughest photographies next to National Geographic stuff. Animals are tough creatures to get perfect pictures of, so are celebrities. Think about it, we get pictures of people that don't want their picture taken, similar to polar bears that are looking for a meal and much rather eat the photographer.

Sport photography is an a controlled ambient. You know the light, you know the sport, you know what is going to happen, you just better be a good shooter. Model photography is very controlled. Pretty much every ambient is nice and controlled except photojournalism (or paparazzi, which is its lowest form) and nature type awesomeness (which someday I hope to do).

popcorny272 karma

I'm curious, how does someone get started in this business?

Matingas5 karma

My brother got me into it.

My brother started because my grandma (RIP) was watching a documentary about paparazzi and told him about it. My brother was working for the Houston Chronicle as a photographer and he happened to get pictures of Juan Gabriel (Mexican singer) falling off stage during a performance. After doing research, he figured out that what the paper paid him was nothing compared to what he could have sold the picture. He called an agency, they flew him to LA, he started working right away.

ScottVanPeltShow2 karma

Have you met Bill Murray? How was he?

Matingas2 karma

I wish I did, I'm a huge fan. He is good at keeping a low profile.

Crash9112 karma

Did you ever meet Cory Monteith? I really enjoy your honesty in answering these questions.

Matingas4 karma

Thanks.

Yes.

aceafer2 karma

How do you know where people are going to be? Is it mostly PR tip offs and obvious things, like being at the airport, or is there more to it?

Matingas6 karma

Its that obvious. When you are in LA and the business, you can't escape it. I would see celebrities when I DIDNT WANT TOO.

Being at LAX to just be at LAX can get you some luck, but its dumb and pointless. Limo drivers and their agencies are more than willing to sell some information. Same with airline people.

Many paps have the city "wired". Valet parking people, managers of restaurants, or virtually any one that wants to make a quick buck can make a call and sell out a celebrity for $50 or so. I had tons of people that also called me for free.

When the twilight craze was going full speed I befriended some Twilight crazy fans that send me information constantly. These girls knew everything and messaged me for free the information.

ExoticDonkey2 karma

Would you take pictures of Kanye West? (I heard he'll get all aggressive)

Also, have you taken pictures of any rappers?

Matingas5 karma

A lot of rappers, I already shared a story about 50 Cent.

Yes, I saw Kanye West. He punched a friend of mine and he is a total douche. I saw him several times after the incident. This one time he was telling me to take pictures of his shoes or as he called them "kicks". He was like "yo, look at these kicks, take a picture, get a good angle," trying to be nice but it was obviously super fake nice.

DanXman092 karma

Have you ever gotten in a fight with a celeb, if so who?

Matingas4 karma

Nick Lachey and Justin Timberlake like to challenge you to fights. They both work out way more than I do and could probably beat my ass. But I put my camera down and did the classic manly stupid thing of standing tall with my chest out and asking for the fight.

Neither took the fight (and I'm glad). But they did shy away and run, so it felt like I scared them.... (uhh... lol)

credy1 karma

What kind of glass do you use? All of your shots seem to be taken at a good distance with alot of bokeh and a crisp focus. Long prime lenses cost alot, do you supply your own equipment or does your employer swallow those expenses?

Matingas2 karma

My employer was the owner of my equipment.

My favorite camera was to shoot with the Nikon D3 and the 70-200mm/2.8f lens. It's the perfect combo.

I've answered what other equipment I used in another post. The longest I used was a 500mm/2.8f (for travel jobs)

AnthonyG231 karma

Why did you leave LA?

Matingas3 karma

I needed a vacation and I went on a roadtrip.

When I came back to LA I realized I hated it. It is like all the people I hated from high school put together and thrown into one city. Everyone thinks they are the biggest shit in the universe, I was guilty of this myself. Then I realized how I never left the west side because of the 405 and the 10. I lived in Marina del Rey and my brother in Downtown, visiting him was like going out of town. I love/hate LA but for the hate beats the love for it.

I miss the great awesome food and the girls. The scenery is beautiful as well. But there's so many things I hate about that city, I could never live in it again.

Also, I don't think I could have done another job besides paparazzi in LA and I wanted to escape that badly.

WeAreStillLife1 karma

On a scale of 1 - potato how awesome is Gary Busey?

Matingas2 karma

I saw him with his son. They smelled like gin and were a fucking blast in the airport while waiting for their bags.

potato.

MrDL1041 karma

Photographer question: what's up with the big-ass flash brackets paparazos are always using? They seem so clunky and obtrusive.

Matingas2 karma

I used a Chinese clunky obtrusive thingy that my brother ordered in Amazon. It protected the camera against banging against other photographers and is mainly for vertical pictures for your off-camera flash (no shadow behind).

Some idiots put more gadgets in their already clunky brackets. Adding more lights, a videocamera or even another camera.