Self-Service Photoshoot Sessions In Empire City

I don’t go to shoots often, but I dread whenever I need to because of the length and formality of the portrait taking process. It is quite exhausting. To overcome this, the concept of self-control photography was born.

“Self-control photography is very important and very trendy in Korea right now. It’s been a while since I’ve seen my friends in Korea engage in occasional auto-shoots, ”said Hyun Chae, founder of Self Ctrl Studio.

Hyun Chae is a Korean immigrant who has resided in Malaysia for approximately 13 years now with her family. Because they don’t visit Korea often, Hyun Chae thought to bring this popular trend in photography here for her and the Malaysians to enjoy.

Therefore, in November 2020, she launched Self Ctrl Studio in a residential duplex in Empire City, close to where she lives.

For clumsy and shy people in front of the camera

“I’m pretty sure most people are very shy and awkward when there is a photographer,” Hyun Chae said.

“Letting people take control of their own shots makes photos so much better in a way, because no one needs to feel shy or awkward. They can just be themselves and more natural. “

The set-up of the shoot and the props for his clients / Image credit: Self Ctrl Studio

Customers who choose its service are usually those who prefer relaxed and candid photos, whether with family, a group of friends or a couple.

As of now, Hyun Chae is only accepting reservations when clients wish to have a photoshoot. Each session costs RM100 for 20 minutes, with an additional RM20 added for an additional 10 minutes.

The RM100 only covers 2 people, but you can have up to 6 people on set, although each additional staff will cost an additional 20 RM (including children and pets, except promotions). So let’s say if 3 people wanted to come for a shoot, it will be RM120 for 20 minutes.

Pet & Kids Photoshoot Sessions / Image Credit: Self Ctrl Studio

You can also ask Hyun Chae to take the photos for you, which will cost an additional 50 RM.

These costs are much lower than the market price of standard Malaysia photography sessions. What it takes into account in the cost are the rent, duplex overhead, and printing.

“Sometimes I get requests from my clients that I take family or baby photos for them and charge them at this cheap price because I have no photography experience.” , she explained.

Take as many photos as you want and free coffee

Before you start taking photos, Hyun Chae will first teach you how to use the camera set, accessories, and remote control. As for knowing how to pose, she won’t direct her clients.

Instructions given before shooting / Image credit: Self Ctrl Studio

“I’m not a great setter myself. I feel like the most annoying person in front of the camera, but I print photos of clients in the past for them to refer to. “

The default shooting location (left) and pose inspiration wall (right) / Image credit: Self Ctrl Studio

“Some of my clients can take up to 200 photos, while some only take about 50 per session,” she explained.

Then she will go upstairs and leave you in complete privacy to take the photos. It will come back after 10 minutes to help you change your photos to portrait or landscape if you want.

“There is also a kitchen and a dining table since it is a residential studio. So once the clients are done filming, I’ll make them coffee. “

Hyun Chae shares all the original electronic copies of the photos her clients took with them, as well as two 4 × 6 hard copies of their choice on site with a frame. In addition, she also provides time-lapse video of the entire filming session to her clients.

“I know a lot of studios charge extra when clients want all of the original files. Because I’m not a professional, I don’t want to do that, because they are the ones who took the time to take all of their photos, and whether or not they like their photos, it’s up to them ”, she explained. .

Getting more Koreans than Malaysians for his shoot

While Hyun Chae’s goal of bringing this concept of photography here is for Malaysians to enjoy, in reality, it attracts more Korean customers than locals.

“65% of my clients are Korean. I don’t mind more Koreans coming for a shoot, but I would like the locals here to appreciate this concept as well.

On average, Self Ctrl Studio gets around 10-15 sessions per month, with a good mix of clients wanting family photos, animal photos, or even a few photos.

Currently, his main challenge with the business is visibility. Because his studio is not located in stores but in a residential area, it is difficult for Self Ctrl Studio to be exposed to people around or to walk around.

However, the situation is not too bad as Hyun Chae has a full time job and intends to run this business only as a hobby.

During MCO, she had to shut down her studio a bit, but reopened it when CMCO started up.

Since it’s about self-control, can’t I recreate it at home?

“If someone thinks their phone and their house can do something similar to what my studio can provide, then I don’t think these people will come to my studio,” she explained.

Although our phones today can take high quality photos, most people do not have a high quality backdrop or lighting in their home.

You can adapt to darker lighting or opt for B&W photos as well / Image Credit: Self Ctrl Studio

“At the most, maybe people only have a really cheap rag or backdrop, so I would say it’s really different from a real studio,” Hyun Chae added.

Since this is something she started out of passion, she has yet to think about her long-term goals for this studio.

In the meantime, Hyun Chae is just hoping that she can attract more Malaysians as customers and bring different types of photo prints such as Polaroids to Self Ctrl Studio.

  • You can read more about Self Ctrl Studio here.
  • You can read more about the other startups we’ve covered here.

Featured Image Credit: Hyun Chae, Founder of Self Ctrl Studio


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Jothi Venkat

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