Beware of Photographer and Full-time Scammer Tony Le-Britton
More like Tony Le-Fraud, this acclaimed British photographer is actually the hair, beauty, and fashion industry’s top scammer. Sure, he does have an impressive portfolio and is known for his talent, but you must interact with him as cautiously as you can. Better yet, just do not—AT ALL.
My name is Whitney Minthorn. I am a high-end retoucher based in Vietnam and USA. I have worked with clients across the world including ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR, L’Officiel, and Samsung, as well as with many successful and honest photographers, with the exception of London-based photographer Tony Le-Britton. Tony, who is growing a brand as a multi-award winning photographer in the hair, beauty, and fashion industry, is building his success by scamming retouchers.
No matter how difficult it may be, being a team player is a must.
An editorial shoot, for instance, will only be successful if a team of models, fashion stylists, make-up artists, creative director, photographer, and retouchers all work together harmoniously and professionally. Harmonious, meaning, there is professionalism at all times: before, during, and after the project. Professionalism is not just about showing up on time for a meeting or being able to meet the deadlines; it is also about respect, honesty, and commitment.
It is important for all members of the team to recognize each person is an essential ingredient to serve the best recipe. Honesty is the name of the game. For example, if a photographer cannot pay the retouching fees on time, he should speak nothing but the truth. Unnecessary alibis will only ruin the working relationship built on trust. It will also only prove that the photographer is someone you should cut ties with, and never work with again.
Above all, commitment closes the deal. Once a client sees that we are committed to the job we do, we earn the chance of being booked again for another magnificent project. In relation to nonpayment of services, being committed that you will pay on time really keeps the trust alive. Once you fail to actually commit, it will always be used against you.
Retouchers are essential to the success of a project.
Retouchers, like myself, are members of the team who are becoming more commonly known to the public. We have studied for years to perfect our craft. We also invest heavily in our tools and software used to transform photos by retouching them beautifully. Being unpaid for the services we render is clearly an abuse of talent. Chasing clients who do not pay us is a great insult to the high-end retouching that we do.
In the fashion industry, there are two types of retouchers:
While an amateur retoucher will request a small paid in advance fee, a high-end retoucher often tends to wait until the work is complete and the photographer is paid on their end. This is perfectly normal when the working relationship and trust are deep-rooted. Plus, if you’re well known, why would you want to ruin it with a bad reputation?
Tony Le-Fraud is for real.
I had a solid, trust-based working relationship with Tony Le-Britton. We even used to applaud each other’s work. Sure, he was quite picky, demanding, and sometimes slow with payments. But that was fine with me. I understand that making some compromises to achieve harmonious work is always there. Moreover, at the end of the day, he always came through with the payments, until recently. And by recently, I mean one year as of July 2017, and still unpaid if you’re reading this.
It started by being delayed with a single payment. I questioned Tony about its status and he gave an understandable excuse. I shook it off my head as more projects were thrown my way. Plus, I trusted Tony and I never thought anything negative about him.
Tony Le-Britton is a scammer of retouchers.
Later on, I realized that giving me more projects to work on was his strategy to divert my attention. I was focused on creating quality work for him, rather than chasing the money he owes me because I believed he was paying me very soon.
Three months after waiting, I noticed that a close friend of mine, Pratik Naik, who is one of the top retouchers in the world, had done works for Tony as well. I often reach out to Pratik for guidance with anything retouching related. I asked him about Tony and it immediately came to my senses that I am not alone.
Aside from the strategy I first discovered, it’s clear that Tony Le-Britton only pays for the first few projects and then just stops. He tries to instill in your minds that he is a professional photographer by paying on time for the first projects he gives you. When you finally trust him, as Pratik and I did, that is the time he starts taking advantage of you.
Tony Le-Fraud would even use up the “waiting for the client to pay” card as often as he could. He treats retouchers like ignoramuses as if we cannot decode his treachery—which is not the case.
With Tony Le-Fraud, scamming is the way to excel in the industry.
What a shame! True enough, I am self-employed. I am my own boss. But in a sense, I was hired by Tony Le-Britton to retouch his photos. Delayed payments, which he may actually not ever give me, broke the terms we agreed on. It is most of all against the law in both of our countries.
Making up stories that clients have not paid yet, for a year now, makes it worse. Above all, respect for colleagues is missing in action, just like him. I treated Tony Le-Britton as a friend, but he treated me as someone he can use to extract sums of money from his clients.
As shown in the conversations, I attempted to give him an extended deadline for the payments after receiving all the “Pushing hard; soon, soon!” type of replies. The initial deadlines as shown on each invoice are the 21st and 25th July 2016 and the 27th of August 2016. I even apologized for “bugging him” and sent him the invoice as often as he requested.
A name built by scamming retouchers, Tony Le-Britton!
When working in the fashion industry, your reputation is everything and greatly determines your brand position, clients, and income. This is no secret. I’ve been very patient with Tony Le-Britton as I waited for his payments and “clients to pay him.”
The scamming he does is probably yet to be discovered by other retouchers in the world. Because who knows, maybe he is also taking advantage of other people in the industry to boost his career? (Let us know if you are one of them!)
I may never get my hands on the accumulated money he owes me, but I’m happy to share my story to make colleagues aware. He is not to be trusted and no one deserves to be scammed.