Photographer, TEDx Speaker, and Former National Rock Climber, Andrew Lim, has an impressive background and undeniable talent. As if that is not aw-inspiring enough, he also represents Aquatica Digital, XDEEP, and REN Scubaworx as a brand ambassador. His first venture into serious photography was with underwater photography, which is undoubtedly the most challenging form of the art. His biggest passion and honour has always been outdoors and documenting wildlife in its natural habitat.
At age 21, Andrew published his first underwater photography book, Silhouette of Serenity, of which part of the proceeds was donated to charity. He was also invited to meet the (then) President of Singapore, Dr Tony Tan, in recognition for his work. Now at 30 years old, he has decided to focus his art on people. With safety as his number one priority but with an exciting and unique creative perspective, Andrew strives to capture and unleash the incredible beauty of that lies in each person. Apart from pursuing underwater photography, Andrew also does plenty of commercial work and in his latest endeavors, has delved deep into Boudoir photography- empowering women by helping them appreciate their bodies a little each time.
We could not miss out on the opportunity to sit with the brilliant mind and talk more about his journey in photography, so read on to find out all about Andrew and Drewperspectives!
Interview With Andrew Lim
When and how did you discover your passion for photography?
As mentioned earlier, I started straight into underwater photography. Interestingly, it wasn’t because I loved photography, but I enjoyed story telling. After returning from my diving trips each time in secondary school, I struggled to explain to my friends just how beautiful the marine life I saw was. That’s where photography came in. As cliche as it might sound, but a picture really does paint a thousand words. I started photography because I wanted to share with my friends the beauty I saw in certain things through my perspective.
How would you describe your style of photography?
Natural. I’ve dabbled into many different styles but I always found myself coming back to the basics. Perhaps it’s because of my background in shooting wildlife where edits are minimal, and photos are supposed to look like how the eye sees it- even up till now, be it shooting people underwater, or girls in lingerie during my boudoir shoots- I love to keep things natural- from the way I edit, the use of natural light, and even the makeup I tell my makeup artist to put on my clients.
What makes your style of photography unique?
Underwater photography in itself is so unique and not many people in Singapore specialize in it. As for boudoir, there are a number of professional boudoir photographers in Singapore but their style is worlds apart from mine. Many of them come from a very bridal style of shooting- everything is perfectly lit, bright, and joyous.
However to me, boudoir is a tease. It is sexy, and naughty, but very tastefully done. I use natural light to shoot, but I play a lot with highlights and shadows. Highlights to bring the attention of the eyes to certain lines on the body, and shadows to hide certain bits. Again, it is a tease, you don’t see everything, and it leaves room for the imagination.
How was your journey to establishing Drewperspectives?
Really interesting! So I first started out shooting marine life when I was 17, and after army I realised I needed to make some money. Well, fish don’t pay me unfortunately. So I tried shooting people underwater and that turned out pretty fantastic. I started off with offering underwater wedding photography which turned out to be quite a hit. I only had to work a few days a month. With all the spare time on my hands, I thought why not try other sorts of photography. That’s when I went into commercial photography.
Boudoir photography happened by chance.
One of my previous clients reached out to me asking if I could do boudoir photos for her. I told her I didn’t offer the service, but she told me it was hard to find a photographer she could trust, which she did in me. After much persuasion, I did one specially just for her.
I asked her why she wanted to do a boudoir shoot and she mentioned something I saw so much value in- “When I grow old, I want to remember my youth and my body at its prime.”.
You know, you hear so many aunties from the older generation telling you how they used to have a lot of boys chasing them when they were young, or that they were ‘hot’ before. It is hard to imagine, but it’s probably true. It is so sad that they have nothing to hold on to though, a memory, a time capsule of themselves.
After the shoot with my client, and without marketing it or officially providing a service for boudoir photography yet, I started receiving more requests for boudoir shoots- yes, my client showed her friends the photos I took, and they wanted the same of themselves too.
What was your favorite photography project so far?
This would be “The Lamest Apocalypse”. From time to time, Drewperspectives would conceptualize and fund personal projects for a good cause. The Lamest Apocalypse was to bring more attention to our use of single-use plastics and how it destroys the world. I had Syrena, Singapore’s First Mermaind, and Benjamin Kheng, singer/songwriter and all-time handsome guy, to model for me for this project. Perhaps you can take a look at it here.
Were there any difficulties in your business that you faced when COVID was at its peak in Singapore? How did you overcome it/them?
Definitely as most of my work is based overseas! Business came to an almost standstill. My local jobs- underwater weddings, also took a pause as so many people started postponing their weddings (we are talking about when covid first hit and lock-down never ended).
I had to diversify. I started The Happy Moo, a beef jerky company that makes premium beef jerky in Singapore. I wanted to create the perfect healthy snack for all those craving that savoury bite at night, but are too lazy to wash/cook, and don’t want to eat unhealthy snacks. Apart from having a passion for photography, I have a great passion for food and snacks too!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a photographer? Care to share any tips for aspiring photographers?
The comfort of your subject is key. No matter how good your equipment is, or how skilled you are with the camera, you will never be able to bring out the best photos in your subject if he/she isn’t comfortable. Why do you think candid shots of people always look the best? Talk to them, get to know them, be genuine. Your people skills has to be on par with your photography skills.
What are your goals for the future for Drewperspectives?
Drewperspectives has more or less established a brand and hit its goals for the underwater photography department. The goal right now is to be the brand for boudoir photography in Singapore. Boudoir photography is still relatively taboo in our conservative society, and that shouldn’t be the case. It is such a powerful tool to empower women.
Initially, I thought of it as just photos that clients can keep for themselves, but I realised later that it can be a very healing process too. I make it a point to learn more about my clients because only after that can I help them achieve what they seek.
Many have come to me to capture their youth, but there are also many who come to me because they struggle with body image issues (unfortunately, many caused by their own partners). We are the harshest critics of ourselves, and it is normal to hyper focus on certain ‘flaws’ that to be honest, only we see. I help my clients focus on the overall aspect of their bodies. Not so much to ‘hide’ what they don’t like, but to highlight more on what they have. After each set of photos is taken, I run through it with my clients showing them how they look in their raw, unedited form, and the most common comment heard is “Wow, I didn’t know my body looked like that.”.
This greater appreciation of their bodies gives them confidence and affirmation, and to be able to pose almost naked (sometimes completely) is courage.
That being said, I’ve also got clients who want to capture something a little naughtier, or some who are just looking to explore a sexier side of them they never knew they had, and that’s totally fine too as long as respect is given. There are also many married couples that engage my services.
Interested to get in front of Andrew’s lenses? Get a quote here!