Over the past year, I've witnessed the "rotting" of the Malaysia wedding industry.
I personally know of a man who started off marketing his wedding photography company for his brother who was the main photographer then, but by now, dozens of freelance photographers have come and go. Over the last one year, this man actually picked up photography from one of his freelance photographer, and claim to be one of Malaysia's top 7 photographers (a self-acclaimed group), got himself featured in Malaysia Tatler magazine Jan 09 issue (inside in which he was titled as "seriously talented..."), conducted and conducting photography workshop (another workshop coming up in June), started his own branding apart from the original company name, got himself into the 2 most prestigious wedding photography organizations in the world, WPJA and MPA. Apparently, all of the above, the magazine, the organizations and even his own peers are deceived.
This same guy also has a long bill of bad debts, owing dozens of freelancers salaries for months and even years, with one videographer amounting to as high as RM30K. In the finished products given to clients, less than 10-20% of shots are actually by him, even though all the great shots are always claimed to be his without fail. So, who's shots are those anyway???
The most recent discovery is even more shocking, is that some say his company has folded, that he has joined another "prestigious company" in the "group", just in order that he can continue claiming to be one of Malaysia's top 7 photographers. What will happen to all the deposits collected? Oh.. don't worry, every client will be handled "professionally", since this guy is specialized in marketing.
Then, I've witnessed, more and more people wanting to be wedding photographers. It's always the case, as undeniably, wedding photography is the easiest avenue for any photo enthusiast wanting to turn pro. However, honesty and integrity is seriously lacking in many, with some pricing themselves like the established professionals but unable to deliver the same professional standards. Are we all too quick in wanting to be famous, wanting to get rich, wanting everything instantaneous, just like the instant gratification we get from looking at our camera's LCD screen? Couples, if you want quick results from your "photographer searching", beware of what you are getting at the end of the day!
Also, there's yet another established wedding photographer, who goes to weddings "pretending" to shoot, when 95% or even all of the shots given back to the client belongs to the assistant photographers. (mind you... there'll be at least 2-3 assistants doing the job for him).
Apart from photographers, I found out that the co-founder of AWP Malaysia (Association of Wedding Professionals) is actually a wedding planner who has used my images all over her then starting website in 2003 and published in "The Star" newspapers twice (once in 2003, once in 2008), in which images are claimed/implied to be photographed by their in-house photographer. The main selling point of AWP is her code of ethics. Now, isn't this ironic?
Do we have conscience in marketing? Oh yeah... everybody knows marketing is always a whole bunch of lies mixed with some truth... it's ok... it's how all the slimming companies make money... weddings are supposed to be once-in-a-lifetime affairs, but not anymore... divorce rates are hitting all time high... we will get lots of opportunities to re-shoot someone's wedding anyway... didn't do it right the first time, we can all do it again... right? Money comes, money goes, we all need money... who doesn't want to get rich and famous fast?
Rot?... oh yeah.. can't help it... I live in Malaysia, where all of the above are common stories, no one pays attention to them anymore... we are all too busy trying to be millionaires and billionaires! Blog about 10 shortcuts to becoming a rich and famous wedding photographer if you want traffic to your site!
Let it rot then... (meanwhile, I'll be working on how to get into WPJA, MPA, write in to "Tatler" asking for an interview... and what else? remind me, will you?)