How to Take a Photo With a Celebrity


Print If you meet a celebrity and didn’t post a picture on Instagram, did you even meet that celebrity? Gone is the era of precious autographs scribbled on napkins and here is the digital age of bragging rights forever.

Two weeks ago, I got to meet Jesse Williams, who is an actor on Grey’s Anatomy as well as a social justice activist. Although I was freaking out beneath the surface, I was able to approach Williams and get a picture without dripping sweat on him or admitting to my endless love.

From rappers and indie bands to trailblazers in every academic field, Syracuse University has cool, notable people on campus 24/7. Even off campus, SU students are the kind to end up meeting celebrities anyway.

Here are the seven steps to snapping pics with celebrities without coming off like a creep:

1. Assess the situation. As much as you would like to stroll over and get that coveted photograph, not every situation is suitable for taking photos. Are they preparing for an event or trying to enjoy a meal? The best thing to do would be to give them space and let them live. If they are chilling out and looking bored as they scroll through their Twitter timeline, then go for it

2. Approach them calmly. Celebrities should not be able to tell if you have a camera roll full of paparazzi candids, or grew up with their face in your middle school locker. Due to the nature of the Internet, the danger of crazy passionate fans is so real. When you walk over to the celeb in question, don’t make it seem like they need to call security.

3. Say what you need to say. A polite and appropriate compliment such as “I love your work!” or “Thanks for coming!” goes a long way. Showing the right amount of enthusiasm will put your fave celeb at ease and help you transition into the big question.

4. Ask for the picture. With utmost confidence, ask the celebrity for a picture. It’s really that simple. Most of the time, celebrities will agree. There is a chance, however, that they will decline. Don’t whine about it or push it. Although photos with strangers come with the territory, celebrities don’t owe you anything. Everyone has days when they want to be left alone, so you have to respect that.

5. Jump in. Once you have the green light for a picture, go for it. You can either gather your squad around the celebrity to make things quick and easy or take turns with selfies. Do whatever feels right under the circumstances. Also, don’t worry too much about the composition of the picture. Celebrity encounters can be anticipated, but are seldom planned. There is a good chance that the lighting won’t be perfect and no amount of angle-shifting can change that. That’s why God gave us filters, after all. Limit yourself to one retake to avoid being selfish and annoying.

6. Thank the celebrity for the picture. “Thank you for indulging me in this curious but essential human ritual.” If they were willing to take a picture with you and they were not in a big rush, then there’s a good chance that you can continue to chat them up. Keep it light. Don’t pry. Bring up your favorite parts of their talk or the really rad project that they’ve been working on for the past year.

7. Leave. Bounce. Peace out. Feel free to strut away into the sunset. You’re about to reel in all of the cyber-love, be the envy of your social circle and have a #ThrowbackThursday to remember.

Art by Shawna Rabbas