Andrew Lim is the founder of Drewperspectives. He specialises in commercial and underwater photography and it is the latter style of photography that sets him apart from others in the industry. At age 26, Andrew has already worked on projects that brought him to places such as Maldives, Bali, the Philippines to shoot amazing underwater pictures.
So how did he get everything started and what’s it like to be an underwater photographer? We caught up with Andrew to find out about his story.
When did you pick up the interest in photography? What was your very first camera?
When I was 17, I first witnessed my Shi-fu (Teacher), William Tan, a world-renowned underwater photographer, shooting marine life when I was on a dive trip with him. It captivated me so much that I got myself a Canon 450D and an underwater housing and started shooting.
There are so many styles of photography. Why choose to specialise in underwater photography?
Mostly due to my interest in marine life since I was little, and I love the challenge of shooting in perhaps one of the most challenging elements to shoot in. Also, the photography industry is incredibly saturated, and I believe in offering something different is always a good thing.
One of the common questions that people have about becoming a photographer is whether one needs to sign-up for a certified course to be regarded as a professional. What’s your take on this?
Disagree. Perhaps a school is good to learn about technicalities and basics of how a camera works, but anything more might limit a person’s imagination and creativity, especially when it comes to tests, teachers grade photos according to their personal preferences. Sometimes it works for them, but many a time it’s subjective, and it doesn’t mean a picture isn’t good if it is poorly graded. Right now, we are blessed with the internet and YouTube so you can learn tonnes of camera knowledge from there.
What were the initial challenges when you started Drewperspectives? How did you overcome them?
My expertise revolved around photographing marine life and not so much about humans. The initial challenge was finding a way to ease my clients into making them feel as comfortable in the water as possible. Previously, you’d probably only see supermodels doing underwater photoshoots, and that is what I am striving for each of my clients, which is with the use of water to bring out the beauty of everyday people.
What was your family’s reaction when you shared with them your ideas?
I am super blessed with a very supportive family. They thought it was worth a shot. Also knowing my personality, if I want to do something, I’d do it anyway. Haha!
Can you share with us the photograph that leaves the deepest impression in you, and why?
This image is of Danial Ashiq and his wife, taken during the maternity shoot I did for them. I grew up watching Danial in some of the local TV dramas and working with him was a great pleasure. They were the sweetest couple and were so natural underwater despite being eight months pregnant!
This particular image stays as one of my favourites because it looks incredibly ethereal. The lighting that day was perfect, the dress was beautiful, and you can almost see the love between the couple from this still image.
Has entrepreneurship open doors for you and what were your best moments?
It has opened doors. But before all that I had to close some (significant) doors to pursue this business. For example, I was offered an attractive position at Temasek Holdings after my book got published but I knew working in an office setting would kill me. I took the plunge and went ahead with Drewperspectives soon after. To be honest, the best moments are the little things like being able to rearrange my schedules around and travel whenever I want to. The freedom Drewperspectives grants me is something I value much.
Have you ever regretted doing what you are doing now?
Never regretted, but gone through moments when there aren’t many sales, or when dealing with tough clients.
If you were not a photographer, what would you be working as now?
I would’ve pursued my other business venture.
What’s next for Drewperspectives?
World domination! Haha! I’m kidding. But I would want to reach out to more countries and offer my unique and exclusive services there.
What is your advice for people who wish to venture into underwater photography?
By all means, please go ahead! It’s loads of fun and something remarkably different from the usual photography. However, it is also not the best industry to be in if you are looking to make good money as it is too niche a service.