Expectant couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.(Getty Images)
Since Kardashian only confirmed her pregnancy on December 31 and has several months go to before giving birth, perhaps the couple is waiting to see if they receive a higher price for their baby’s precious first pics. After all, celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie raked in much more selling images of their offspring. J.Lo received $6 million for photos of her and her twins, Max and Emme, in People in 2008. Brangelina used the opportunity as a way to raise money that they donated to charity: $4.1 million for photos of the couple and their daughter Shiloh in People in 2006, and an estimated $11 million for twins Knox and Vivienne two years later in the same publication.
But Kim and Kanye could be waiting a long time for a payday like that. Nowadays, even couples as famous as Kimye aren't being courted by photo agencies and magazines to sell their baby's first photos like they were before the economic recession, says Kevin Mazur, the co-founder of photo agency WireImage and director of the new documentary, "$ellebrity."
"The public is definitely interested in these baby photos, but now the magazines don't have the big budgets like they used to [in order] to go and compete with each other," notes Mazur, whose film can currently be seen in select theaters and on-demand.
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Why Celebs Are Sharing Their Own Photos Online
At the same time that magazines are less willing to shell out the big bucks, more stars are choosing to control their own public image by posting news about themselves on Twitter, Instagram, and other social websites. Sure, they want to feel more connected to their fans, but many of them also want to get some photos – like baby photos – out there, so the paparazzi will stop chasing them for that first image, Mazur says.
Kim and Kanye's pals Beyonce and Jay-Z surely could have landed the cover of almost any magazine they wanted. Instead, they shared pics of Blue Ivy on Tumblr – one month after the highly-anticipated tot was born last year – so that the paparazzi could not steal the first snaps. While the famous 'rents couldn't stop the media frenzy surrounding the baby, at least they had the chance to introduce Blue to the world on their terms – not while being pursued by a herd of photographers.
A glowing Beyonce gives fans a glimpse of Blue Ivy. (Tumblr)
It seems unlikely that the entrepreneurial Kardashian would give anything away for free. This is the same woman who married NBA player Kris Humphries in a much-hyped, over-the-top TV special in 2011, then filed for divorce just 72 days later.
Even Kardashian must realize that she has to make her next move carefully – West, too. Rob Stone, vice president of licensing at Excel Branding, a firm that's worked with clients such as Coca-Cola and "Baywatch," says that when handled correctly, motherhood often gives the public a more favorable impression of a celeb. He cites Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie, and Jenny McCarthy as women whose brands were strengthened after baby, while Britney Spears is someone whose brand suffered as a result.
[Related: Celebrity Babies of 2012 in Photos]
How Motherhood Will Affect Kardashian's Brand
"I think this could be a real advantage to Kim, because obviously she's poked and made fun of plenty. Her brand, for better or worse, has kind of had its day," Stone says. Parenthood, he adds, "just changes the mindset of the consumer, so that now the person is almost respected."
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie tote the twins. (Splash News)
But the Kimye baby could quickly turn into a bad thing for her image if she's seen as using the child as a money-making opportunity. "If they take the money [for baby photos], I can tell you that anything branding with both of them will be over," Stone says. "No one will support their brand. If they got $3 million and pocketed the money, it would be an insult for me to go buy a Kim Kardashian product."
Stone suggests that if Kardashian and West do indeed decide to sell the first photos of their child, they should donate any money they make off the pics to charity – like Jolie and Pitt did. But at this point in time, it looks like that might not even be an option.
An unnamed source told Us Weekly that Kardashian "doesn't even want the baby to be seen for the first six months" and that he or she will not be featured on the family’s many TV shows.
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