I like to think I’m a regular guy; a husband and father who loves traveling, food, movies, and music. But of all my passions, photography sets my soul on fire, and I always wanted to turn my biggest passion into a career.
I took my first steps into the industry working as a second-shooter for other photographers, but after a while, I wanted to go my own way.
It took me some time to find my own style and identity as a photographer. It was a steep learning curve, and there was a lot of trial and error, but eventually I settled on my signature style – candid, cinematic, and deeply emotive images.
I took the plunge and launched my own brand, Weddings by Qay in 2017, with only one wedding on my books. Nowadays, I shoot along with my wife since last year.
Because my style is so different from a lot of photographers in my native Malaysia, I got a lot of criticism from the local photography community when I first started out. I was told I’d never make it, and that the tone of my images was so dark that you’d need a torch to be able to see them. When I wanted to do my first photography workshop, they dared me to show my work to people beforehand.
Even now, I still get negative comments, and some of my critics have even claimed that I buy awards and recognition. I don’t let myself get too affected. This is my journey, and I know that I would never be happy if I wasn’t being true to myself, and taking the kind of photos that I want to take.
Being a creative photographer is different from being a businessman, and I learned about that side of things from some amazing photographers who I consider to be my friends and mentors.
I learned about marketing from my friend, Marko Marinkovic, and I jumped at the opportunity to do a mentoring session with the amazingly talented Eric Rene Penoy when he was shooting a wedding in Kuala Lumpur.
I was lucky enough to be able to second shoot for Eric in Scotland and Finland, and that’s when my career as a destination wedding photographer really began. From then on, my career has gone from strength to strength.
I did my first local workshop last year with Merve and Nils from Dirty Boots and Messy Hair, and following that, I established my own photography community, The Rebel.
I’m passionate about photography, and I work so hard, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the accolades and recognition I would receive.
I was the Rangefinder Magazine Rising Star in 2017, US Brides Magazine named me as the Best Wedding Photographer Abroad, LooksLikeFilm awarded me Best Wedding Photographer 2018, and I also became a mentor myself, at the Rise & Shine Program at WPPI 2019 in Las Vegas.
I’m always excited to see where my career is going to take me next, and my next stop will be speaking at the El Cosmico Workshop in Mexico this November. Among the speakers are Oscar Castro, Pablo Laguia, Froydis Daisy and many more. More info at ElCosmicoWorkshop.com.
But whatever comes my way, I know that I wouldn’t have achieved even half as much if I didn’t have the constant support and encouragement from my wife, my close friends and the desire to give my kids a good life. They are my motivation to keep going, and I will.
To anyone who wants to chase their dream, I’d say never give up, even the journey is rough. Work hard and earn it. Don’t be afraid to set big goals and be true to yourself, whether or not other people like it. Work on your mindset and use it to deal with the negativity that’s always going to be around. What other people think of you is none of your business, your job is to push yourself to be a better person.
Qay Majid is a destination wedding photographer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who travels around the world photographing weddings. You can see more of his work at WeddingsByQay.com, and keep up with him on Instagram and Facebook.