Photographers Beware of the Hypebeast Scam

If it sounds too good to be true..

It probably is.

I received a text message from “Karl Smith” wanting to work with me. I am always suspicious of text job solicitations. No one legit will approach me that way.

The text message:

Hello, I’m Karl Smith
I saw your portfolio on 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 blog for various online platforms and would love to collaborate with photographers on genre such as beauty, vintage, art, lifestyle, and outdoor.
I am compiling shots for “fashion page” segment and the online fashion magazine is looking for professional and reliable photographers who want to create stunning images- Hypebeast is particularly looking for outdoor and urban looks.
If you’re interested in this project, it is important to understand few details about the project. you can email me for further details.
Thank you

<just enough grammatical issues to be suspicious>
<Again – no legit job offer has ever come from a text>

So, being naturally curious I sent “Karl” an email directing him to my website and received the following reply:


Thanks for the response. I checked your work and they are lovely, I would really love to work with you.

These are the informations:

You will be required to work with 2 models.

There will be 3 outfits per model, 5 looks for each outfit, which totals 30 looks/images.

Outfits/Wardrobe will be supplied by us.

Location, date, and time will be fixed by you.

We want 30 professionally taken pictures in High Res Digital Copies.

Delivery date: March3rd.

Compensation: $2000 ($500 upfront and $1500 final payment).

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), phone number, and address (to be written on your check and contract). Click of the link for a sample of my work:…/lanvin-matches-fashion-collection-l…

I will forward a contract to be signed by both parties.


So the red flags here are:

  • Grammatical errors.
  • Willing to pay money up front to someone they’ve never worked with.
  • Short turnaround time.
  • Lure of working with an allegedly mainstream publication.
  • Photographer retains all rights.
  • Too good to be true.

This is a SCAM.

They will send a check for a LOT more than you negotiated and ask you to write a check for the difference to their makeup artist or some other fictitious entity. By the time you find out their check is no good, the one you wrote has been cashed and you’re screwed.

Common overpayment scam.

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