In our influencer-filled world at the moment, it’s widespread to see them posing in cafés and different new, in style Instagrammable spots. Often, they don’t even want an expert photographer for some respectable snaps of them at these locations.
Nevertheless, if you happen to have been to see an image of an influencer just like the one beneath, not simply any Insta-boyfriend or mum or dad goes to chop it. You’d want an expert photographer, and one who’s in a position to do underwater images as well.
That is the place somebody like Cheah Kim Hup would are available.
A journey from land to sea
Cheah’s profession in underwater images truly started on land, the place he was a nature information based mostly in Penang and Langkawi rainforests in 2014.
“I all the time beloved watching ocean documentaries, and did be part of just a few conservation actions,” Cheah shared with Vulcan Submit. A few of these conservation experiences included working with sea turtles, dolphins, Dusky leaf monkeys, and extra.
One factor led to a different, and shortly sufficient, he utilized for a scuba diving licence in 2017. His love for the underwater world solely grew from there, a lot in order that he give up his job and went to Sabah in early 2018 and joined the Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort to do underwater videography for his or her resort visitors.
Now, it’s no shock that the gear for underwater videography isn’t low-cost. Cheah revealed that the entire DSLR gear with underwater housing prices greater than RM40K.
Dictionary Time: Underwater housing is a digital camera case on your in style topside digital camera however one that enables full management of the digital camera when diving, is waterproof and pressure-proof, and in lots of instances as ergonomic as utilizing your digital camera with out it.
Thankfully, the resort lined the prices for the gear and offered him with underwater videography coaching, all of which took about 3 months earlier than he may tackle shoppers for them.
Shoppers have burdens to bear for a shoot too
The scuba diving gear alone weighs round 15kg to 20kg, which is de facto heavy for first-timers who make up the vast majority of his shoppers.
Cheah himself has to hold one other 5kg to 10kg of extra weight with him because of the digital camera tools, and he additionally typically assists visitors who aren’t used to the burden of their very own scuba gear.
How a lot further tools he has to hold relies on the state of affairs of the dive as effectively. When there’s unhealthy climate, unhealthy visibility, or if he’s going for an evening dive or has to go deeper into the water, he’ll want to connect extra lights to his tools to make sure a clearer shoot.
For each dive, Cheah will even have an teacher come together with him and the shoppers if they’re first-timers, but when the shoppers themselves are licenced divers, a buddy system can be utilized (when a couple of licenced consumer is round).
For licensed divers, he simply has to instruct them on posing, which incorporates positioning their scuba fins, controlling their buoyancy, and so forth. However for newbies, it’s an entire different story.
Coping with anxious shoppers
“Newcomers simply panic and their our bodies get stiff as a result of they’re afraid of water. When that occurs, we often information them to breathe slowly and assist observe some fundamental security abilities earlier than diving deeper,” he defined.
“I’ll additionally attempt to distract them from their concern by encouraging them to deal with the great thing about their underwater environment.”
There are situations the place Cheah truly has to ease their anxiousness and constantly observe these security abilities with shoppers for hours, due to how afraid to dive a few of them have been.
Generally, the shoppers find yourself giving up diving altogether, and in these instances, Cheah would persuade them to pursue a snorkeling shoot as a substitute.
Extra shoppers from China than domestically
Despite the fact that Cheah works with native influencers, he’s extra in style amongst Chinese language vacationers and influencers as a result of he actively posts on Douyin (Chinese language TikTok, for individuals who aren’t acquainted).
“I’ve 80.4K followers on my Douyin, and that’s truly how these vacationers and influencers from China obtained to know me and approached me to work with them for his or her underwater shoots throughout their journeys,” he shared.
“Often earlier than we go underwater, I’ll talk about with them what sort of angles they like and don’t like and take a look at my greatest to satisfy their expectations in the course of the dive. However on the finish of the day, the output actually relies on their actions and pose which, with observe, turns into nearer to what they need.”
Apart from influencers, Cheah has additionally collaborated with big-name manufacturers like WeChat China, PADI China, Insta360 China, and even Douyin China themselves. These big-brand collaborations sometimes contain underwater product evaluations, like he did for the Sublue Underwater Scooter and the Insta360 camera.
Usually, the service is a shoot with 2 dives, and if you happen to’re working with him on the resort, you’re charged RM900 for 1 to 2 pax, and RM250 per particular person if it’s greater than 4 pax. However if you happen to work with him outdoors of the resort, it’s round RM600 to RM1,000 for 1 to 2 pax, relying on the placement. Cheah shared with Vulcan Submit that he’s labored with over 500 shoppers already since he began.
However in fact, the pandemic has modified issues for him. Cheah isn’t in a position to tackle any consumer work because the tourism trade has been hit badly and the vast majority of his Chinese language shoppers at the moment are absent.
Therefore, he’s again on land in his hometown, Sungai Petani, Kedah, working as a contract videographer. He’s utilizing this break from his underwater profession to deal with upskilling in product and company shoots, however is certainly trying ahead to getting again within the water when it’s safer.
- You may be taught extra about Cheah Kim Hup here.
- You may learn extra about extra photographers we’ve lined here.
Featured Picture Credit score: Cheah Kim Hup