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M’sian underwater picture & videography for influencers


In our influencer-filled world at the moment, it’s widespread to see them posing in cafés and different new, standard Instagrammable spots. Often, they don’t even want knowledgeable photographer for some first rate snaps of them at these locations.

Nevertheless, if you happen to had 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 knowledgeable photographer, and one who’s in a position to do underwater images as well.

A pose that takes greater than a “1, 2, 3, smile!” / Picture Credit score: Cheah Kim Hup

That 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 primarily based in Penang and Langkawi rainforests in 2014.

“I at all times cherished watching ocean documentaries, and did be part of a number of conservation actions,” Cheah shared with Vulcan Put up. 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 company. 

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 digicam case to your standard topside digicam however one that permits full management of the digicam when diving, is waterproof and pressure-proof, and in lots of circumstances as ergonomic as utilizing your digicam with out it. 

Housing Digital camera

Thankfully, the resort lined the prices for the gear and supplied him with underwater videography coaching, all of which took about 3 months earlier than he may tackle purchasers for them. 

Not your common camerawork / Picture Credit score: Cheah Kim Hup

Purchasers have burdens to bear for a shoot too

The scuba diving gear alone weighs round 15kg to 20kg, which is absolutely heavy for first-timers who make up the vast majority of his purchasers. 

Cheah himself has to hold one other 5kg to 10kg of further weight with him because of the digicam gear, and he additionally generally assists company who aren’t used to the burden of their very own scuba gear. 

How a lot further gear he has to hold depends upon the state of affairs of the dive as properly. 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 gear to make sure a clearer shoot.

For each dive, Cheah will even have an teacher come together with him and the purchasers if they’re first-timers, but when the purchasers themselves are licenced divers, a buddy system can be utilized (when a couple of licenced shopper is round).

For licensed divers, he simply has to instruct them on posing, which incorporates positioning their scuba fins, controlling their buoyancy, and many others. However for newbies, it’s a complete different story. 

The varied methods he’s taught his purchasers the right way to pose underwater / Picture Credit score: Cheah Kim Hup

Coping with anxious purchasers

“Inexperienced persons 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 follow some primary security expertise earlier than diving deeper,” he defined. 

“I’ll additionally attempt to distract them from their concern by encouraging them to concentrate on the fantastic thing about their underwater environment.”

There are situations the place Cheah really has to ease their anxiousness and repeatedly follow these security expertise with purchasers for hours, due to how afraid to dive a few of them had been. 

Typically, the purchasers find yourself giving up diving altogether, and in these circumstances, Cheah would persuade them to pursue a snorkeling shoot as an alternative. 

Taking a break from taking pictures people now and again / Picture Credit score: Cheah Kim Hup

Extra purchasers from China than domestically

Despite the fact that Cheah works with native influencers, he’s extra standard 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 really how these vacationers and influencers from China received 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 focus on with them what sort of angles they like and don’t like and check out my finest to fulfill their expectations throughout the dive. However on the finish of the day, the output actually depends upon their actions and pose which, with follow, turns into nearer to what they need.”

In addition to 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 critiques, like he did for the Sublue Underwater Scooter and the Insta360 digicam.

A pool of recent fashions for him / Picture Credit score: Cheah Kim Hup

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 individual 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 situation. Cheah shared with Vulcan Put up that he’s labored with over 500 purchasers already since he began. 

However after all, the pandemic has modified issues for him. Cheah isn’t in a position to tackle any shopper work because the tourism trade has been hit badly and the vast majority of his Chinese language purchasers are actually 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 concentrate on upskilling in product and company shoots, however is certainly trying ahead to getting again within the water when it’s safer.

  • You’ll be able to study extra about Cheah Kim Hup right here.
  • You’ll be able to learn extra about extra photographers we’ve lined right here.

Featured Picture Credit score: Cheah Kim Hup 





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