This email hit my inbox this morning. I knew it was a scam. Photographic jobs just don’t happen this way. I was ready to junk it when several of my fellow photographers responded in humorous and somewhat sarcastic ways. I’m sharing this because photographers new to our business might not see it for what it is. Here’s the email with all of the addresses, except mine blurred out.

If one like this appears in your business inbox don’t respond!

It says “Hello, How are you doing today? I want you to know I need your service for our Family Christmas party. I would like to know the date’s you will be available so get back to us to make proper arrangement for this Event. Thanks George.”

Take it apart

  • First, no one has ever scheduled a family Christmas party around a photographer’s schedule.
  • Second, if they really wanted you to shoot the party and were setting the date based on your availability, why would they send it to 39 other photographers?
  • Third, available “date’s” would not be possessive as indicated by the apostrophe. It would be plural as in “dates.”
  • Fourth, it certainly takes more than one arrangement to book a photographer for this (or any) “Event.”
  • Fifth, No phone number.
  • Sixth, no location information. As a matter of fact one of the photographers is my friend, Lou Jones who is based in Boston.
  • Seventh… THIS IS SO BOGUS!

Replies from the group

There are a lot of replies from the photographers to which this bit of spam is addressed. My two favorites follow.

“Hey Colleagues, You ever plan a last-minute holiday party and schedule it around a photographer’s availability? I suspect a bank check is next (but I expect you pay the band).”

Dang… was really hoping THIS one would pan out… now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Nigerian prince with a bit of financial problems that need sorting…”

A cautionary tale

The old saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely isn’t” fits this email like a great pair of shoes. Yes. Photography is a tough business. Yes. You want work. We all do. Yes. There are holiday parties whose organizers want the event photographed. Yes. The might contact you. What they won’t do is email at the last minute, hoping you are available. The party will be booked weeks if not months in advance. So will you. When these pleas for your services come unsolicited (in other words you don’t have a clue who the author of the email is) the right move is to click the JUNK button. It’s just common sense.
Yeah. I know. If common sense is so common why don’t more of us use it?