Photographers, Beware These Fake Gig Scam Emails

Some of you are familiar with the “Family Reunion” scam email that floated around a couple of years ago. Well, I recently received an email and after some digging, I wasn’t the only one to have received it. Many other photographers have received this same new email.

The first email went as follows:

I saw your photography portfolio online 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 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- Hypebeast is particularly looking for outdoor and urban looks.
If you’re interested 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: Oct 30th.
  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 of the link for a sample of my work: I will forward a contract to be signed by both parties.

Patrick Montes

A couple of things caught me a little off guard on this email: grammar, spelling, and the fact that he saw my “portfolio” and yet does not know my name or my studio’s name… So I sent him a few questions to see what the reply would be…

Hi Patrick,
Studio’s name is *****, I have a couple of questions for you just to clarify things.
Do you want us to handle finding and hiring the models?
Would you like the images digitally delivered through dropbox or similar.
Will you ship the outfits to our studio for the models and do we ship them back at the end of the shoot.
Our studio’s mailing address is ********
My direct number is listed below.

His reply was even worse than his first email….

Hello ***(Actually found my name),

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 fall season and delivered to you. We expect you to shoot in an urban gritty or/and natural outdoor look with clean product focused images; I’m attaching some pictures as samples.

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 or dropbox. Images will on be used as an editorial content on for 12 months.

An agency will provide a male and a female fashion model, makeup and hair stylists. The budget for the project is $6800 (photographer gets $2200 and $4600 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 $5300 will be issued prior to the shoot; this covers your upfront ($700) 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.


After visiting with a few people about this, this email has been floating around with some variances — there are “different people from different publications” sending it out, but it seems like they are targeting more professionals with this one than with previous scams.

Always be wary and on the lookout for scams. If it seems too good to be true it probably is. Also, Nobody should be having YOU the photographer forwarding any money to anyone.

About the author: Jim Bunger is a director of Professional Photographers of Nebraska (PPofN). Bunger went to college for digital video production in 2007 in Arizona. After returning home to Kearney, he started his video production company in 2009 and after transitioning into DSLR’s for video work, he added photography to his studio in 2012. Bunger specializes in commercial work and off the wall projects and enjoys challenging himself to learn techniques in lighting and post-production then breaking traditional rules that create unique works of art. He is a father to three great children, Marissa, Corey and Marrae. This article was also published here.