“We are the creators of the personal paparazzi phenomenon,” says Reggie Waller, president of Private Paparazzi, which he calls “the first company to offer an authentic paparazzi experience.… They’ll never know you aren’t famous.” The company provides photographers who’ll follow and shoot anyone they’re hired to cover, creating the illusion that their subjects are glamorous celebrities rather than, say, a middle-aged English teacher celebrating his 50th birthday.
The local firm, launched in 2005, charges $75 per hour per paparazzo. Deluxe packages include limo service, photogs who’ll pretend to chase you down aggressively, make-believe “fans” demanding autographs, and pictures of the entire performance.
“Your Private Paparazzi averages over 60 shots for every hour of service,” says Waller. Same-day bookings cost more, and clients must pay half in advance and the remainder within 24 hours of their experience.
According to its website, Private Paparazzi also does “Celebrity-style photo editing,” including “complete removal of an image background or unwanted images in background” and “skin flaw correction, face, and body touch ups (Nip and Tuck).”
Locals on the Private Paparazzi payroll include former Union-Tribune ad artist Leonard Calhoun and North County Times photographer Robert Benson.
– Jay Allen Sanford