Freelance Photographer / Student

Hydo Young, 2005, 5A1

Money issues are no joke, especially when it comes to paying for further education. I have a PTPTN student loan, but on top of that, I depend on freelance photography to put me through my photography course.

Photography is my passion;
therefore I have chosen to study it,
and to make it my job.

As a photographer I cannot rely solely on the techniques that I have learnt in college. I shoot whenever I have time, whenever I find something interesting, whenever I see a moment that deserves to be captured. There are endless subjects to experiment on. I rarely leave home without my camera. It is like a companion to me.

I occasionally get calls to do photo shoots, and I charge by hour or session, depending on the job type. The jobs that I have done are pet shooting, portraiture shooting, product shooting, and small events. As of now, don’t make much because I don’t invest enough time in job shooting. Finding the balance between job shooting and college work is very important. Studies always come first, jobs come after. The money that I make helps make my life away from home easier; I have better spending power than before.

Job shooting is not as easy as it seems. You have to shoot photos that meet the clients’ requirements, and sometimes those requirements don’t meet with your style. It’s difficult to bring out the artistic form of something when you’re bound to certain rules. I almost always break the rules and that seems to have worked better for me. The photos you shoot portray your identity in this business, and if you don’t like your own photos, you’re not going to enjoy shooting jobs.

After the shooting, comes filtering and post-processing the photos. This is where you either make or break your photo album. It’s the most time consuming part of any photo-shoot. Mostly, minor adjustments are made to enhance the photos. And sometimes, photos are greatly modified; major alterations are only for creativity purposes (e.g. logo design designs or advertisements – commercial art in general). I find time the most difficult thing to manage, because I have to juggle between jobs and college projects. Whenever I accept a job, a few hours are spent shooting and the rest of the day spent filtering and post-processing photos.

After the shooting and processing, I deliver the photos to the client in softcopy. They always do the printing themselves. That pretty much sums up my experience as a freelance photographer and a student.

Click here to read about my journey.

My Journey

“If Michael Jackson’s dad asked him to be a boxer,
and Mohammad Ali’s dad asked him to be an artist,
imagine the disaster.”
– 3 Idiots [Movie]

I attended primary and secondary school in AMC and graduated from 5A1 in 2005. After the big SPM exams, I had planned to further my studies in Interior Design. At that time, my parents, like many others, were greatly against the idea of me going into arts. ?“Interior Design is a dead end, with not many job varieties available in the market,” that’s what they thought. It took me a while to persuade them that the world is not just about business and science.

Eventually, they allowed me to further my studies in arts, but suggested that I take Graphic Design instead of Interior Design. According to them, Interior Design is too specialized, while Graphic Design has wider career options. I thought to myself, “Why not?” It was a compromise. They allowed me to continue in arts, so I should be a good girl and heed their advice.

But when I was planning to register, they suddenly took a turn and insisted that I took a “better” course, Information Technology. I decided to take a stand, and got into a heated argument with them. That however, didn’t fare well. After all, they were the ones paying for my bills. So I did what they wanted, and enrolled into an Information Technology course. At that time, IT courses were a trend as the IT industry was booming. But I hated programming. :x

After completion of the course, I worked for a short period of time in an IT environment.

It ate me up on the inside and I was miserable,
doing things that I absolutely hated for a living.
I quit my job and decided to go back to my passion in arts,
this time – Photography

Once again my parents opposed vehemently, but I was very stubborn this time, after my experience with IT. I told them I will decide my own future and I won’t depend on them forever.

I did some research on photography courses, got myself a student loan (from PTPTN), and decided to pack my bags and leave home to pursue my own interest. In the end, after seeing some of my work and after some persuasion by my relatives and friends, my mother became supportive and told me to go ahead with my plans. My father, until today, still disagrees with my choice.

I’m currently pursuing my diploma in photography at SEGi College and I am enjoying every moment of it. I am finally able to do what I love. The prejudice against students in arts stream is common even in college. Business school teachers think that arts stream students are a pain to teach, they favour business students over arts stream students in obvious ways, and for much biased reasons.

Never let anyone tell you what you should do for a living. :)

If you know what you want to be, then go for it.
It is your passion; it is your career; it is your life.

Best regards,


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