A flattering profile of ubiquitous party photographer Patrick McMullan in today's New York Times pins the secret of success on the fact that he treats the social crowd so well. Then why is he charging to take down unflattering photos?

The whole premise of the story is that McMullan (and the freelancers he hires) aren't like the big bad paparazzi making their ducats off of embarrassing pictures of celebrities. No, instead he shakes hands, kisses babies, and only gets nice shots. Then what's up with this?

But perhaps his biggest asset is that the well-to-do trust him to present them in the most flattering light. If a client doesn't like a photograph, Mr. McMullan will remove it from his Web site for a fee.

If he's Mister Nice Guy, why not take the sloppy snap down for free? We don't begrudge him for trying to make his cash, but it seems like something close to blackmail doesn't jibe with the portrait the Times is trying to paint.

[Image via Getty]