For Photographers

Head on over to my new blog Shoot IQ if you want to learn how to THINK like a photographer.


My ongoing scam alert:

There is a common scam, not exclusive to the photography business, that is used to rip photographers off. It involves a client who books a wedding, and then sends an overseas money order or cashiers check for larger than the amount “by accident”. The check appears to clear, and the client requests the difference to be sent back. Meanwhile, several weeks later, the check turns out to be phony and is returned. The money is removed from the photographer’s account, and he or she has lost the money that was “returned” to the phony client.

Here I post the names, email addresses and messages of seriously fishy inquires.


Received 04/14/13:

Subject: INQUIRE

Good day,

I am Miss Doris Clack from United State, i am getting married to Mr
James bills on the 31 0f May 2013 at 1515 W Laskey Rd, Toledo, OH 43612
i needed a special photographer who  will take a place at the
event next  months  i will like to know all what it will cost
you  to get to the location here and the actual amount to take a
coverage of  7hour from the church to the reception i really need to
know this so  that i can contact my father in-law about this because he
his the one paying for this coverage await your response immediately.

Thanks & God bless
Doris Clack

I said:

Hi Doris, and thanks for your email. I am available that day for wedding

Please note that I do not accept payment for amounts larger than the
billed services, nor can I refund any money that is paid in excess of
the invoice. This is to prevent a common fraud perpetrated on photographers.

If you’d like to discuss your wedding photography further, please give
me a call!


She said:


I said:

Seven hours would be $2821.88 including sales tax, plus travel/accommodation expenses. If you’re interested, I can get you a quote on that.

Have you seen my website yet? What package were you interested in?


She said:

Hello Mr Matt,

Thanks for the mail,we would pay $2800 for the photographs and other expenses but we will pay you $1400 first for commitment regards our wedding photograph, and the full payment will be made before the wedding date, the payment will be made for bookings for the day, well my father in-law has issued a cheque of $4500 for wedding photographer commitment fee and wedding planner. right now he his out of location and we need to be booked by the photographer, well….cheque will be made out to you and the balance will be for the wedding planner .i will like you to get back to me with this details to make out payment .

Name on cheque .
Full postal address
postal code
phone number for easy contact and other arrangement .


Doris Clack N.B…..Your balance $1400 will be paid before 2weeks to the wedding day.


Received 04/18/12:


Hi! I’m Robert Brown. We will be needing some one ASAP to take up the photography aspect of our wedding

occasion scheduled for June ,
9th of June 2012 starting from 10;00 AM – 04;00 PM . So what I am asking is-;A package which includes an

eight hours of shooting time plus a 20page custom designed album .

*  6 hours of photography;  Mix of color and black and white, creative effects.

*  250+ professionally processed wedding photos, in print and on
copyright-free CD OR USB.

*  20 page custom wedding album – all prints on archival quality .

Album in top quality, elegant and built to last a lifetime for the memory of our kids and families.

11×14 Portrait Print – We’ll choose any image from the wedding photos .

So some questions I have are ;-

– What is your base price fee for what I am asking? Is that negotiable?

– Your availability/ schedule for the coming month? You available?

– Are you willing to travel ? considering both the lodging and the travels will be taken care of .

Thank you



received 3/20/12:
Lawrence Moses

Wedding Date: 04/20/2012

I am lawrence moses ,I want to know if you are available for a shot on 21
April 2012 for my daughter wedding.if you are available let me know we
can discuss better about it .
Warmth Regards

I don’t normally respond so curtly, but I already suspected something. Small lead time on the wedding, the father is doing the research, bad spelling and grammar, and he didn’t immediately ask for price. Oh and it came in through a wedding photographer listing site, not my site’s contact page.
After I responded, he wrote back:


Hello  Matt,

Thanks for the message,  I would have called you but am physically impaired (Hearing Impaired).i really appreciate that you like to come for the wedding..the wedding is going to start  9 am .please can you tell me the quotation of the shoot you are going to work for 5 hours.2 hours in the church and 3 hours for the reception.making 5 hours and the  pictures professionally edited in a disc ready to make prints in different sizes up to 16X24″ (4X6″ 8X12 16X24″) .let me know how much this will cost ,I will pay for your flight and give you accommodation a day to the wedding so  you don’t have any problem about the accommodation and transport the wedding is going to hold in  Denver,Colorado.So please send me quotation and let me see if it’s a thing i can afford .It’s a pleasure doing business with you .Looking forward to read from you soon.

Best Regard,


I told him to have his daughter call me, and we could work out the details. I bet no one calls.

Here’s a link to an earlier post on this issue.


15 thoughts on “For Photographers

  1. You’re welcome! I figure it can at least help a few photographers who are suspicious about it.

  2. Hey,
    I just got the same email. Thank you for posting!! this guy sent me the exact email like you got. I’ll post this on my blog as well to protect other photographer.
    Again Thank you very much!!!

  3. Hey Matt,

    I got the email too. Here’s the first one.

    It looked a little fishy but I responded. This is a sophisticated scam. Whoever it was that is sending it waited until after I gave them a price and then said they would be sending a check for the whole amount plus $1,000 for travel and accommodations. Of course they want me to “forward” the money to the “traveling agent”. BTW the $1,000 was for me and an “assistance”.

    I sent back an email stating that I would use the $1,000 to make the arrangements myself. I bet I never hear from him again. Lesson learned.

  4. I just got the same thing. I am based in TX. Thank you for posting, I am reposting as well. I knew there was something strange when I got mine. If only whoever was doing this would put as much effort into getting a job like everyone else instead of trying to scam people.

  5. Also that guy is using same fake email address on random dating websites in TX. Creepy.

  6. I’m a personal chef and I as well got an email from the same guy. After a while talking with him all he cared about was the money. He sent a check with extra money and said send half to his agent. Don’t trust this guy…

  7. Interesting that “Lawrence” took the time to respond. Although I don’t know which response he really means.

  8. I received this scam attempt this week. The email originally came through my website. You would think they could come up with more original text!!! Maybe I should tell him I only accept BitCoin?

    Hello James,

    Thanks so much for the swift response,,I really appreciate that you like to come for the wedding.please can you tell me the quotation of the shoot you are going to work for 5 hours.2 hours in the church and 3 hours for the reception.making 5 hours and the pictures professionally edited in a disc ready to make prints in different sizes up to 16X24″ (4X6″ 8X12 16X24″) .let me know how much this will cost, can you please let me know if there is any contract to sign ? and also I will like to know how much i need to pay as initial deposit to get the reserved by you. Cos I want you to send me a contract, you can send me your name and address for me to make arrangement and send you a check for the initial deposit. I would have called you but am physically impaired (Hearing Impaired). Concerning the flight and the hotel accommodation with the car you are to hire, I have my booking agent , he will take care of that from here and get everything done for you and
    will send you the booking details once the booking has been made. I will like you to send me how much you will charge for the event alone. Here is the location address that the event will take place. 6009 Northwest Expressway Oklahoma City, OK 73132 and I plan for everyone to arrive by the 14th. Please get back to me soonest.

    Best Regards


    On Tue, Jan 14, 2014 7:24 PM PST James Edward Bates wrote:

    >Michael, Thank you for asking about our wedding photography services. Can you please tell me a little more about any plans you have for your ceremony and reception? What is the name of the bride and groom? Do you have a date(s) in mind? Location(s) including the city and state? Start and end time? Number of people in the bridal party? Estimated number of guests? With the answers to these questions, I will better be able to provide you with an accurate quote for appropriate photography coverage. Thank you, James

    >——– Original Message ——–
    >Subject: Wedding
    >Date: Mon, January 13, 2014 4:50 pm
    >To: “James Edward Bates Photography”
    >From: “Micheal” Hello , Am Micheal by name i just to confirm if you can available for my daughter wedding is going hold on March 15, 2014.Please get back to me so that i can know if the date is open for you..Thank you so much. Micheal.

  9. I’m always puzzled by their weird specificity too. Like the three different print sizes. What’s with that? Anyway, thanks for passing this along. Hopefully others will do their due diligence and find this via search engines.

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