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.
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.
It’s a funny old thing, photography. There’s a bunch of photographers who are keen to share, but there’s a larger group who aren’t. But why?
It seems to me that a lot of photographers really don’t want to share their ‘secrets’ with others, as if they’ll lose out because of it. Is there actually any real chance of loss through sharing ideas and creative processes with others? Let’s tackle that first: I certainly don’t think there is, and here’s why.
When you share an idea in, say, the field of real estate photography, what would have to happen for you to lose? Basically your idea would have to be put into practice by your nearest competitor. That is to say the competitor in your town or area, attracting your clients, hunting your target market, and shooting the same style as you would have to be the person causing you a loss owing to you sharing your ‘secrets.’ The offs of that very specific set of circumstances becoming a reality is extremely slim, as I’m sure you’d agree. In sharing your idea you’re helping other photographers in your field but (noteably) out of the scope of your target market to grow and to develop their skills, knowledge, understanding, and creative abilities. I don’t see any loss there at all! So as they say, sharing is caring.
Photography is challenging enough already as an industry with the pressures and nuances coming from the outside, with a completely unnecessary spanner sitting in the inner works that we need to lose. We need to grow as individuals in this industry, and also as a community. We all started somewhere, and we all grow from that place. In order to achieve that growth we need to take some chances, show some vulnerabilities, and from that foundation we need to move onward and upward. The vulnerable side of us in that growth is the side of us which is taking chances on releasing what is becoming a progressively better portfolio, where each image is better than the last. Retrospectively this makes the last photo worse than the current and so it shows those “bad shots” in broad daylight. This cycle never really stops – we’re always showing this vulnerability because we’re always releasing better shots and thus, through time, revealing those same shots as getting progressively worse as the next good shots come to the surface. So here’s the next thing: –
That cycle links in to the need for critique. Not heavy, harsh criticism, but creative, objective critique. It helps us to grow and it helps our community to grow. It leads us to achieve better things, better shots, and reveals new talent. We all started somewhere, as I said, and we’ve all needed guidance whether we sought it or it came unsolicited to us. It’s done from groups, communities, and from more experienced photographers. We’ve all been helped and as such we should all pay it forward.
Help people. Show strengths rather than pointing out weakness. Encourage growth, offer solutions, and add value to work that needs improvement rather than devaluing and discouraging through focusing on negatives. We’ve been in positions in our own growth, be it in photography or otherwise, where we’ve felt like throwing in the towel, and a little skill sharing and positive contribution to steer us back on course always helps – let’s make sure it’s strong in the photographic community and remember where we started, and as I said, that we lose this fear of giving away too much. There’s actually nothing to lose.
If you want to save $100 on your Photoshop World Conference Pass, there’s only a week left!
I can’t believe it’s only a little more than a month away, and while the conference is almost here, the deadline for the Early Bird discount is even closer — this is the last week to save that extra $100 on a full-conference pass, so get your tickets right now (and don’t forget to snag a room at the official conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency Orlando — it’s where all the instructors and staff are saying, and the conference itself is in their convention center). First, watch this short (around 33-seconds) video to get you ready!
Here are the details:
Who: Landscape photographers, portrait photographers, Lightroom users, wedding photographers, designers, Photoshop freaks, creative people, newbies, pros, street photographers, social media content creators, Web developers, lighting lovers, and the best instructors in the world.
What: The Photoshop World Conference, produced by KelbyOne
Where: The Hyatt Regency Orlando Conference Center
When: May 3o-June 1, 2019
Why: Because we all need to keep learning, keep laughing, keep being inspired, recharging our creative batteries, and getting away from it all for three days where we shut everything else out and just focus on our passions, our career, and ourselves.
I am so, so excited about this new full-day seminar — and here’s what’s it’s based on; if I could spend just one day with a friend, and I only had that one day to give them a giant leap forward in their photography, what would I teach them that would have a real, immediate impact on their photography. What could I show them, that would change their photography from that day forward. That’s exactly what I put in this semimar.
Check out this video and you’ll totally get it.
Who should attend this new seminar?
It’s not aimed at pros (though there will be some pros there for sure); but it’s for landscape photographers, portrait photographers, travel photographers, flash shooters, natural light portrait folks, wedding photographers, and street shooters, fine art photographers, food photographers, and anyone who is just tired of struggling along, and knows there’s got to be an easier, faster, better way to make great images.
It kicks off next month in Indianapolis and Minneapolis
…and I want you to come out and spend the day with me. You have nothing to lose — it’s risk-free because it’s 100% money-back guarantee if it’s not the best photography seminar, you’ve ever attended, at any price ever. Period! Don’t spend the next five years “paying your dues” and learning everything the hard way, or not learning it at all. If you’re ready to make a big jump in your skills and start taking great images now, this is the one day that can change everything.
It’s just $99 for the full day of training and includes a detailed printed workbook (the biggest one I’ve ever written by the way) bonus videos and more goodies. It’s a kick-butt day and you’re going to learn a lot no matter where you are on your photographic journey.
Here’s the ticket info for Indy (Tuesday, May 7, and Minneapolis, (Thursday, May 9). I hope I get to meet you in person next month for a day that’s going to change everything!
Have a great Easter weekend, everybody!
P.S.More cities and dates to be announced soon, but we’re going pretty much everywhere in the US, so hopefully we’ll be in your hometown soon. :)
Advanced Photoshop Compositing: The Art of Storytelling with Kirk Marsh
Step right up, step right up, and welcome to the big show! Join Kirk Marsh at the Vernardos Circus for a class on conceptual composite photography. In this class Kirk goes through his process of separately photographing a circus strongman and a juggler with the goal of compositing them both together into a fantastic and magical final image. Kirk goes through the gear used, his camera settings, the location set up, props, wardrobe, and how to approach creating the elements for the final composition.
After the strongman and juggler shoot is completed, Kirk has an additional shoot with just the juggler in a variety of positions to create a fantasy composite of her in multiple locations within the final image. After the images are captured Kirk heads into the studio to share his compositing workflow. By the end of the class, you’re sure to be inspired to create cool composites of your own or maybe even run away and join the circus!