POPPING THE QUESTION. AND A FLASHBULB
James Ambler had been a paparazzo for years, but when he proposed to his wife-to-be, he didn’t snap any photos. This upset her family. It also gave him the idea for his New York City–based Paparazzi Proposals, which combines his skill at stealth with the growing demand to document and share, well, everything. “It’s the devil I know,” sighs Ambler.
For $495, a customer can consult on proposal plans, and receive 80 to 125 photos three days after the event. Roses and musicians are extra, as are fancier approaches, like horse-and-carriage rides in New York City and private helicopter tours over Los Angeles. Revenue is in the six figures, Ambler says, and has grown 2,900 percent since the business launched in 2013.
It’s wedding season now, but Ambler’s also busy in March, when bonuses hit and big-city bookings surge; in winter, when northerners descend upon warm-weather locales for getaways; and between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the peak season. And, since you asked: As of presstime, no paparazzo’d askee has turned a suitor down. “We’ve never had ‘I can’t. I’ve been sleeping with your brother or sister,’ ” Ambler says. Though there has been one repeat customer—his first engagement went south.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA We think he said yes.