Erin Horgan is more than a casual John Mayer fan. When she learned about a Caribbean cruise being offered earlier this month with the singer as the featured entertainment, the 22-year-old worker at a Hyannis, Mass., scrapbooking store didn't hesitate to drop $1,000 for a ticket.
As it turned out, she got even more contact with her favorite singer than she expected: Mr. Mayer, hamming it up for fellow passengers, donned a neon green thong-style swimsuit as Ms. Horgan and others furiously snapped photographs. In a blog post after returning home, Ms. Horgan joked that she was going to send the pictures to celebrity magazine Us Weekly.
She didn't have to. Within days, Ms. Horgan heard not only from Us Weekly, but also from MTV, VH1, Rolling Stone, Blender and Newsweek. She ended up selling photos to Newsweek and VH1 - she says she was offered "a couple hundred" for each photo, but declines to be more specific.
Ms. Horgan is part of the changing face of the paparazzi trade, an Internet-fueled industry that feeds on the public's seemingly insatiable interest in entertainment news. Photo agencies are increasingly relying on submissions from regular folk who either happen to bump into celebrities while carrying digital cameras, or who have injected themselves into the cat-and-mouse game of celebrity snapshots, despite any formal training.