Letter from the Editor: Photo Issue -- EW's managing editor gives his take on this year's collection

What does it take to get a great photo? Well, in the case of EW’s annual Photo Issue, it takes an army, led by our photography director, Fiona McDonagh. Back in the spring, when we asked Cameron Diaz if she’d pose for this cover, our offer came with a big catch — the actress, who has had several well-documented run-ins with paparazzi, would have to endure a two-day shoot in which we’d create a diary of famous paparazzi images from over the years. Not surprisingly, given that we’re talking about an actress game enough to brave both the Farrelly brothers and that awful perm in Being John Malkovich, she agreed.

On June 28, in a Los Angeles studio, our army came to work: one set designer and his crew of three; one wardrobe stylist and her assistant; one hair stylist; one makeup artist; one manicurist; and one groomer for the 30 models and actors who played the parts of paparazzi, dinner guests, and companions. Add to the mix photographer James White and his three assistants, one producer, one publicist, and two photo editors, and you get one very large catering bill for two days of meals!

On the second day of the shoot we hit a Malibu beach. As we were shooting Diaz, surrounded by our hired group of ”paparazzi,” the real thing appeared out of nowhere. One shot her from behind a garbage can, others halfheartedly pretended to be shooting surfers, while still others posed as casual beachgoers — armed with extremely long lenses on their cameras. The picture you see above was shot by one of them and ran in several tabloids over the next couple of days.

The shots you’ll enjoy in this issue are, thankfully, a cut above. They reflect the range of great work that Fiona and her gang of editors (working with the amazing Mr. White and our other terrific shooters) deliver each week. That’s why we ginned up two covers for this particular issue: for our loyal subscribers, a classic, elegant black-and-white shot; and to pull in some of our newer friends out there at newsstands, a color cover that captures the feast you’ll find inside this issue. Enjoy.