I normally don't share anything on this blog other than my professional work but I think it's my responsibility to alert other photographers of any possible scams. I find the photography community in Toronto very friendly yet at times competitive because of its saturation of talents. Being a full time freelance photographer isn't easy. It's a shame that some take advantage of our vulnerability.
So here's a recent scam that's sent to my inbox from Terry Woodley (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
I saw your photography portfolio on Yelp, Your works are really impressive and would like to learn more about your services. I’m looking for an experienced photographer to work with on an ongoing blogging and articles.
I’m compiling shots for Fashion magazine “fashion page” segment and the online fashion magazine is looking for professional and reliable photographers who want to create stunning images to feature on our website. We are particularly looking for outdoor and urban looks. If you’re interested in this project, it is important to understand few details about the project. These are:
1. You will be required to work with 2 models.
2. There will be 3 outfits per model, 5 looks for each outfit,
which totals 30 looks/images.
3. Outfits/Wardrobe will be supplied by us.
4. Location, date, and time will be fixed by you.
5. We want 30 professionally taken pictures in High Res Digital Copies.
6. Delivery date: June 18th.
7. Compensation: $2200 ($700 upfront and $1500 final payment).
8. You will hold full image right (Licensor)
As the photographer we want you to handle other aspect of the gig and dictate the creative direction. If you can handle this, please reply with your full name/Business name (to be written on your payment and contract), phone number, and address. Click on the link for a sample of my work https://fashionmagazine.com/author/terry-woodley/ . I will forward a contract to be signed by both parties.
email@example.com | Editor."
If you searched this Terry's email address on Google, fellow photographer Yani Macute also received the same scam and wrote about it - https://www.yanimacutephotography.com/for-photographers-photogrpahy-tutorials/fashion-magazine-photography-terry-woodley-scam-yani-macute-photography.
I responded to Terry for clarifications and tried to negotiate on price and Terry wrote -
Thanks for the reply and the interest to work with us on this project. Your works are really impressive and aesthetic; I would like to work with you on this gig. There are few details you need to know:
Wardrobe will be picked by our stylist based on urban trends for the season. We expect you to shoot in an urban gritty or/and natural outdoor look with clean product focused images.
You will have to do little retouching if pictures can be taken with natural lighting. Final images will be 300dpi or larger, mix of rectangular and verticals, to be delivered via file share. Images will be used as an editorial content on fashionmagazine.com for 12 months.
An agency will provide a male and a female fashion model, makeup and hair stylists. The budget for the project is $5000 (photographer gets $2,200 and $2,800 for the talents). You will be paid $700 upfront plus the talents budget while your balance payment will be paid after sending us proof that the job has been done; usually watermarked images.
Photographers we hire usually take on the responsibilities of
coordinating the shoot, selecting location, and disbursing fees. An advance payment of $3,500 will be issued prior to the shoot; this covers your $700 upfront and fee for talents’ fee payable to their manager.
If you’re comfortable with the above, please reply with.
Terry's response started to seem repetitive and Terry didn't address my negotiation in price. I responded again for clarifications to see what this lead to -
We normally let photographers work with their own team but the magazine decided to dictate some of the input regarding this shoot. You will still be in charge of the shoot but we are recommending the talents' team we feel best represent our content.
You are permitted to edit or retouch because you will be credited for the images and I'm sure you want the world to see beautiful images linked to you. The images will be 300dpi or larger, mix of rectangular and verticals, to be delivered via file share.
But we normally issue a single budget/ check and you will be responsible for coordinating the shoot, selecting location, and disbursing fees. An advance payment of $3,500 will be issued prior to the shoot; this covers your $700 upfront and fee for talents’ fee payable to their manager.
If you’re comfortable with the above, please reply with your name (to be written on your payment and contract), phone number, and address.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Editor."
Terry again didn't answer my questions directly but rather repeated their budget and such. I guessed Terry thought that this's good enough money to cover up the suspiciousness in the conversation. As fellow photographer Yani had mentioned and here I linked to again, Fashion Magazine had stated on their Contact page of possible email scams-
Here you have it.
Always reach out to the original publication if anyone uses their name and offers compensated work. Ignore the scams if you will but better still share a warning so together we build a stronger community.