In our influencer-filled world right now, it’s widespread to see them posing in cafés and different new, common Instagrammable spots. Usually, they don’t even want knowledgeable photographer for some respectable snaps of them at these locations.
However, if you happen to have been to see an image of an influencer just like the one under, not simply any Insta-boyfriend or mum or dad goes to chop it. You’d want knowledgeable photographer, and one who’s in a position to do underwater images besides.
This is the place somebody like Cheah Kim Hup would are available in.
A journey from land to sea
Cheah’s profession in underwater images really started on land, the place he was a nature information based mostly in Penang and Langkawi rainforests in 2014.
“I always loved watching ocean documentaries, and did join a few conservation activities,” Cheah shared with Vulcan Post. Some of those 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 to your common topside digital camera however one that enables full management of the digital camera when diving, is waterproof and pressure-proof, and in lots of circumstances as ergonomic as utilizing your digital camera with out it.
Fortunately, 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.
Clients have burdens to bear for a shoot too
The scuba diving gear alone weighs round 15kg to 20kg, which is admittedly heavy for first-timers who make up the vast majority of his shoppers.
Cheah himself has to hold one other 5kg to 10kg of further weight with him because of the digital camera tools, and he additionally generally assists visitors who aren’t used to the load of their very own scuba gear.
How a lot further tools he has to hold is determined by the scenario 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 multiple 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 on. But for newbies, it’s a complete different story.
Dealing with anxious shoppers
“Beginners easily panic and their bodies get stiff because they’re afraid of water. When that happens, we usually guide them to breathe slowly and help practice some basic safety skills before diving deeper,” he defined.
“I’ll also try to distract them from their fear by encouraging them to focus on the beauty of their underwater surroundings.”
There are cases the place Cheah really has to ease their anxiousness and constantly follow these security abilities with shoppers for hours, due to how afraid to dive a few of them have been.
Sometimes, the shoppers find yourself giving up diving altogether, and in these circumstances, Cheah would persuade them to pursue a snorkeling shoot as an alternative.
More shoppers from China than domestically
Even although Cheah works with native influencers, he’s extra common amongst Chinese vacationers and influencers as a result of he actively posts on Douyin (Chinese TikTok, for many who aren’t acquainted).
“I have 80.4K followers on my Douyin, and that’s actually how these tourists and influencers from China got to know me and approached me to work with them for their underwater shoots during their trips,” he shared.
“Usually before we go underwater, I’ll discuss with them what kind of angles they like and don’t like and try my best to meet their expectations during the dive. But at the end of the day, the output really depends on their movements and pose which, with practice, becomes closer to what they want.”
Besides 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 usually contain underwater product opinions, like he did for the Sublue Underwater Scooter and the Insta360 digital camera.
Normally, 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. But 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 Post that he’s labored with over 500 shoppers already since he began.
But after all, the pandemic has modified issues for him. Cheah isn’t in a position to tackle any consumer work for the reason that tourism business has been hit badly and the vast majority of his Chinese shoppers at the moment are absent.
Hence, 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 give attention to upskilling in product and company shoots, however is unquestionably wanting ahead to getting again within the water when it’s safer.
- You can be taught extra about Cheah Kim Hup right here.
- You can learn extra about extra photographers we’ve lined right here.
Featured Image Credit: Cheah Kim Hup