Wedding Photography Fee too High?

November 19th, 2014 by kamkuey

I came across an interesting article recently. This photographer wrote on his blog about his recent experience with one particular client, or would be client, who wrote a nasty email about how his exorbitant photography fee is a deal breaker. The client was comparing his peers’ hourly salary against the photographer’s high per hour fee, which was a deal breaker, and demanded a lower fee.

This is the main issue with most clients, even here in Malaysia. A photographer’s fee is usually compared to the likes of standard everyday Joes working a 9 to 5 job.

Let’s do a Malaysian version.

Assuming an office worker with a salary of RM5k, and that he works 8 hours a week, and assuming a 22-working day a month. That adds up to RM28.41 per hour.

A photographer, let’s say a wedding photographer who charges RM3k for an actual day wedding with an assistant who gets paid RM800. Then there’s the album cost of RM600.

So, the photographer gets paid RM1,600.00 for his services.

And just to let you know, just because you see the photographer for about 8-10 hours that wedding day, does not mean he only works 8-10 hours for the wedding. A typical wedding starts early in the morning. Very early in the morning. Firstly, he gets up early and prepares himself to arrive at the bride’s location by 7.30am to take preparation photos, photos of the bride getting ready, with the make up artist putting on the make up and doing the hair do. After the bride has put on her gown, he pulls her aside to take beautiful portraits of her. Then the groom arrives and the games and tea ceremony begins. Basically he, and his assistant, wraps up the morning session probably at about 1pm. He then rushes back to prepare for the slide show.

He downloads the RAW photos from the memory cards, backs them up and then starts the sorting and selection process before preparing them for the slideshow. The entire process until the slideshow is exported, takes roughly 5 hours. All the while, he is stuffing in his lunch in between. At 6pm, he has to rush off to the dinner reception. And while his assistant covers the outside of the dinner hall, the photographer is inside with the banquet team, testing the slideshow and ensuring the projector is ready, and tuned properly in terms of brightness, color and contrast. Then the dinner starts, and ends nearing midnight.

The photographer goes home, and before he could hop into the shower, he downloads that night’s photos and backs them up. By the time he is able to lay his head down, it’s already 2am.

Let’s do bit of calculation, yes? He starts his day at 7.30am. Let’s not take into consideration his preparation time, you know, getting his gear ready, ensuring batteries are fully charged and things like that.

And basically he is working through out the day (although you do not see him), until 1am (minus his shower time and all that). That’s 17 hours in total working hours for that day only. Then comes photo selection, sorting and processing. That normally takes an estimated 10 hours to complete the entire batch. Plus the additional 3 hours to design and prepare the photo album.

So roughly 30 hours for the entire job. And that’s a very modest calculation. And with an income of RM1.6k, that translate to RM53.33 per hour.

Comparing that to the rm28.41 per hour of an average office employee, it seems like double the amount. But, there’s a lot more to consider.

Firstly, the photographer has to purchase his own equipment. For example, his cameras (main and second camera), his various lenses, flashes and memory cards. He also has to purchase his own computer. And on top of that, he has to pay rent, pay for insurance, water and electricity bills. His transportation, parking and toll. Not to mention his own coffee and creamer.

And average office employee has no overhead. His computer, electricity, water and coffee are all taken care of by his company, including rent.

So the next time you have the urge to think about how exorbitant photographer’s fee are, remember these calculations.

Oh, and since we are already in this topic, let’s do a little breakdown on his initial ‘investment’ in order to have a photography business. This is just a standard wedding photographer.

2 x camera bodies – RM 30k. 3 lenses (wide zoom, tele zoom, and large aperture standard lens) – RM16k. 2 Flashes – RM3k. Memory cards – RM1k. Batteries – RM1k. Bag – RM500.

Total : RM51.5k

Then a nice computer to be able to handle the workload – RM5k. UPS backup power – RM1k. Data backup system – RM2k. Color correction device for monitor – RM1k.

Total computer costs : RM8k

That leads up to a grand total of RM 59.5k.

This does not include other equipment such as studio strobes, stands, backdrops, wireless controllers and all that. RM59.5k is purely the gear required for a standard wedding assignment. And these have not  been taken into consideration when calculating per hour fee, cos we are not financial people.

Of course, the financial guru in some of you might argue the depreciation value and staggered purchases and such, but let’s just stick to simple calculations. We are not financial people and are just straight forward money out and money in kind of people.

So there. The next time want to say “FUAH!! very expensive la”, stop and think again ya.

Oh, by the way, I just recalled; it’s not very fair if you compare an office employee’s per hour fee based on his monthly salary. A company will charge a different rate when charging for consultation or when calculating project fee. To be very modest, a company will charge man hour fee at 1.8 times an employee’s salary. This means, someone with an hourly salary of RM28.41, his ‘project fee’ would be RM51.14. Well, that is just RM2 shy of the photographer’s hourly fee.

So anyways, just want to put this out there.

Oh.. and its hard work also ok. Sometimes having to be under the hot sun the entire day, or..

.. being at the construction site as well.

Have fun!


Coffee.. anyone?

September 12th, 2014 by kamkuey


For the past couple of years, independent coffee cafes have sprout all over the Klang Valley like lalang grass. The boom in people having a deeper interest in good quality coffee have increased tremendously. To these people, chain cafes like Starbucks and Coffee Bean does not cater to their palate. They crave something a little bit more personal, a coffee which entices their palate instead of the same old chained coffee pulled from standard operating procedures or baristas trained to operate the coffee machine in a certain way.

These people want a better coffee.

So what’s a better coffee?

Well, for sure it is not about the name of the shop serving you coffee. It certainly is not about how nice or extravagant the coffee art is. Is it about the coffee itself? Is it the bean or where is it’s origins? Maybe the year or the month the bean was harvested? Or could it be the skills of the barista in handling the coffee and the coffee machine. Is it in the cup? Or is it the cup itself? Or maybe the temperature of the cup, or the water used? Speaking of water, does it make a difference in a cup of coffee? Maybe distilled water brings out better coffee?

Well, to tell you the truth, this is just the beginning of my coffee journey. Can I tell you that this coffee is better than the other one? No, I can’t. But I can tell you if I enjoyed that particular cup of coffee or not. That cup of coffee might be made from the most expensive bean, pulled from the most expensive machine by the most experienced barista, but if I did not enjoy it, it’s going to be bad coffee to me.

Similarly, that photo of a nice cup of coffee from Jementah, I had it at a coffee shop and it was one of the most enjoyable coffee I had to date. I am sure it’s  not the best bean used. But it was tasty, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is the other one which I particularly enjoyed. It’s an instant latte. Empty the sachet into a cup, and add hot water.

The instant latte came with this, a little tube to sprinkle some chocolate powder over your latte. Nothing spectacular, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

And here’s how I usually like to enjoy my coffee, with a nice piece of cake.

But… my days of consuming standard coffee may be numbered as I venture deeper into the ‘premium’ coffee world. Or maybe i should just remain where I am now, contended with standard coffee. Well, maybe the occasional premium coffee or two. Premium coffee is not cheap with a standard ‘black coffee’ being a standard RM8 a cup compared to RM1.60 for a standard ‘black coffee’ at the kopitiam.

By the way, there’s a difference between black coffee and the ‘black coffee’ served at premium coffee cafes. Something about the way the coffee is prepared. But that we leave for another time.

In the mean time, bring on the coffee and cakes!!

What Christian…?

August 6th, 2014 by kamkuey

What would your reaction be, if I came up to you and told you a very detailed account of how I was brought up to Heaven and was given a grand tour by Jesus?

You would probably think that I am nuts.

But, what happens, if I get two other people to agree with me, that I am the real thing, and that my account of Heaven is true? What about 20 other people? Maybe 200? Then it becomes sort of a legend of sorts. Something which, 200 people collectively assured you that there’s truth behind the story.

Then, maybe you might be thinking…. "If 200 plus people agree and believes that its true, maybe its true"

Then, to make thing even more interesting, 2 or 3 from the group of that 200 people are the ones who helped you through your emotional crisis. You maybe have some issues with your family, some hidden agenda lost over the years, but was brought up during counselling sessions or during a prayer meet. Something in your past, or present which you cannot let go. Or something which you did that many years ago which you regretted and have all the while harboured in your heart, afraid of letting it out and other people finding it out.

These people came along and basically told you to "screw it" and let it go. For example, you had a real bad relationship with your father, or mother, who had taken care of you since young, but you brushed them aside because of that one thing they did, which to them was for your own betterment, but to you is like a total and utter invasion of privacy and totally inappropriate and had not forgiven them all these while.  Easy, they tell you… let it go.. it is eating you up inside.

It’s just that easy. Any other person will tell you the very same thing, even that mamak flipping your daily morning chapatti.

Then you let go, and finally you feel at peace. You no longer have that heavy burden in your heart. It’s natural. It’s psychological. Not having some age old issue to bear all these while will be a great relieve. But you thought the 2-3 people were instrumental in bringing the glory of God down and relieve you of your burden.

So you look at these 2 person and believe whole heartedly "wow.. they are god-sent, someone to fall back on since they know what to do, and whatever they say must be the truth".

So when these 2-3 person told you about someone having went to heaven and back, and together with the other 200 odd people, you immediately accept it as the absolute truth. And you try to share it with your loved ones, who immediately look at you one kind, and brush you off while they switch the topic to the latest episode of Korean drama. Then you think, "what did I do wrong, why do these people not believe me when I told them about the truth?"

So you go back to the same 2-3 people or  maybe a bit more this time, and unload you issue. And they tell you, "well, maybe they are not ready for the truth, maybe the devil have pull a spiritual blinder across their eyes".

And then all you heard was the word ‘the devil’. and there goes everything with those loved ones who was more interested to chat about a korean drama than to listen to you. The word ‘the devil’ is burnt into your brain, and you think to yourself, ‘the devil is testing me, I must push on. I must not fail’. So you continue to tell them about the good news, but they do not respond, and they tend to distant themselves from you. And you think that the devil is snatching them away from you. However, there will be some, who genuinely love you. and are concern about you. So they approach you and ask you some stuff about how you have changed. But you are trained to put up a defensive wall, and to avoid answering questions.

Yes, you are trained. You have been trained. Sub-consciously, through the many times you spent having lunch and cell groups.

You instinctively put up a barrier, for the fear of being coerced with devil talk. Yeah, devil talk. Everything and everyone who is not within your ‘circle of holiness’ are all of the devil.

And all the while, your other half have already noticed your sudden change, and is very concern about you. He/she then tries to understand your situation, and tries to fit themselves into your current situation. They ask questions, not to because they want to disclaim your new believes, but to understand and to accept you and your changes, because they love you. But you see it as a challenge to them, a challenge cheered on by the devil himself to throw you off. You believe the devil is using your other half against you.

And it’s just the way you express yourself to the original 2-3 people, which gave them a totally out of context view or impression of your situation and the people you spoke to them about. And thus, wrong advise were given.

They are against you.

They are the devil.

The devil is using them to pull you away from your new faith.

And, like the say, the rest if history.

But let me be clear about something here. A lot of people think that I am anti-Christianity, because of this article. And also because I question some issues and believes which Christians practise. I am not challenging. I am just curious. I follow those practises. I believe in those practises and believes and all that. In my heart I truly believe, it is just that I am curious. That’s all. I do blindly follow… to a certain extend… but as I am blindly following, I am also very curious to why we are walking this way, and why that other way is not allowed. Surely I do not go the way which is not allowed, I am just curious to why.

A lot of people have asked me why this, and why that. It is difficult for me to explain why or how or when. Because I am not a biblical scholar and thus I do not know. But I trust and have faith.

A lot of people also do ask me why Christians blindly follow the pastor and listen to what he say. He is only a man. Human. Who ask him to stand up at the pulpit and speak? Who is he to tell me what God wants or do not want? The answer is, I do not know. But he is only a  man who guides us. Guide. The keyword. Our relationship with God is personal. Sometimes we need someone to guide us in our relationship. Most of us do not know where to start. Most of us do not know God to begin with. So the church and the pastor is there to guide us, and to point us to the right direction. He is not there to tell us or to dictate us. If a pastor starts to dictate, then something is not right.

So what is the whole point of this article? Well, basically, the core issue of looking up to a man to dictate you on your journey in Christianity. Do not look up to a man as if he is God or a messenger of God. If God wants to speak to you, he does so in His own way. How? Well.. many. God do speak to you through a third party. Maybe He speaks to you through the Pastor. Maybe through that 2-3 people. But mostly, He speaks to  you directly. Directly.. indirectly. But still directly.

Confused yet?

It’s quite easy actually. Being Christian only means one thing, that you believe and accept Jesus as your saviour. That’s the most important part. Then comes the other part; your daily life. And what about your daily life? Just one simple rule; Be Good.

That’s it. Be Good. It’s just that simple. Fundamentally, be good. Then the rest just falls into place.

What is the point of going to church every Sunday and cell group every Tuesday and Thursday, and night prayer every Friday when fundamentally you are rotten to the core when it comes to treating your friends and neighbours, and your relatives?

What is the point of praying so hard, you start sweating beads or shouting out praises until you have a sore throat when you look at a group of people and judge them?

No need for anything complicated. Just start with the fundamental; be good. Start there, and work your way up.


Nothing much to know about myself. In a nutshell, I manage a little call centre, but I was trained in IT. Now more like I am in the service industry cum IT support. Anyways, on the side, I like motoring, photography and sometimes fishing. Anything else you can ask me direct la.