Snap a good photo. Magazines and gossip sites are not going to pay big bucks for any random photo. They are looking for up close and personal, out-of-the-norm, even juicy shots of big names and hard-to-catch celebrities. This includes photos of celebrity children and babies normally hidden from view. Make sure the photo you want to sell has some star power and aim for catching awkward poses, cat fights, breakups or anything else the general public would devour.
Connect with a big name. The bigger the brand name, the larger the paycheck. Magazines like People, U.S. Weekly, Star, and OK! are well known for paying thousands for celebrity snapshots. Never limit yourself to just one magazine and welcome any bidding wars that ensue. When a magazine knows a coveted photo is getting offered to other publications, it will be more willing to raise the ante to acquire it. Some of the bigger magazines in the gossip industry are:
Watermark your photos before marketing. The gossip industry is unscrupulous and editors will try to save money wherever they can, even if that means taking advantage of your hard work. To protect yourself and your bottom line, add a large watermark to every photo you try to sell, before you start the bidding wars. You can add watermarks digitally using any standard paint program. Just make sure you save the original in its untouched state. Learn more about how to watermark your celebrity photos before trying to sell them.
Keep your rights to the photos. Celebrity gossip magazines will try hard to get you to pass over the rights to your photos; don't do it. They want to keep the photos for themselves to make sure no one else gets their hands on them. This can prove to be fruitful later, when they sell them for many others to reprint. Instead, offer exclusive usage rights to the photos for the first 30, 60 or 90 days the photos will be in print but don't sell your ownership of the work. After the time for exclusive use has elapsed, you can try to make more money selling your photos again at a lower rate to other publications.
Sell while the ink is still wet. You are not the only one vying for a celebrity money shot and the competition is hot. The sooner you can sell your photos, the better. That means you need to start making calls within hours of catching a celebrity on tape, because it is likely that someone else got a similar photo and will try and sell it first and for more money. The sooner you can get a deal on the table, the higher the odds you will receive a big payoff.