I BELIEVE that good things come to people who work hard. You have to put your back into it,” asserted photographer Geh Chee Minh.
Living up to his own philosophy, the 29-year-old photographer has worked his way from being a self-taught amateur to becoming one of the Top 76 Red Bull Photographers (the drink maker’s prestigious trademark recognition) in the world and one of the top nine, outside Europe and the United States.
As a Mass Communications graduate, Geh began his career in public relations and while his heart wasn’t entirely into it, it helped him pursue his true calling.
After retiring his standard digital compact camera for a professional DSLR, Geh started making his rounds as an event photographer to put food on the table, while working the gig circuit in his own time.
“Events was sort of like my bread and butter, but even then, my passion was still very much in music and sports, so, I started doing a lot of concert photography. I was doing a lot of free jobs (for a local news portal) and that gave me access to many concerts and red carpet events.”
Taking on unpaid assignments for a start, quite possibly made Geh stand out in a sea of aspiring freelance photographers.
“I believe it’s okay to do free jobs (for a start). It’s not that you’re being exploited or taken advantage of, but, it’s an opportunity for you to grow and learn and gain experience,” he advised.
Eventually, Geh started to reap what he sowed, with more jobs coming his way.
Another reason for Geh’s success is his ability to keep in touch with people.
In 2010, before Red Bull launched in Malaysia, he would travel to Singapore almost every month to help his buddy from university, Singaporean Red Bull photographer Mark Teo.
“He was the main guy and I was his assistant, or second shooter,” explained Geh.
“There was this Red Bull workshop where they sent me to Japan. Not long after that, Red Bull came to Malaysia, and its Singaporean counterpart told them ‘Hey, there’s this guy オンライン カジノ we always use in Singapore but he is based in Malaysia – you might want to give him a try’, since I already had the training.”
Although Geh doesn’t perform any of the extreme sports he shoots, in order to capture his subjects, he has to do a lot of ground work … literally.
“I’m on my belly a lot,” he said. “That’s my favourite position. It’s called ‘proning’, like how soldiers do.”
It may not be common knowledge but when shooting extreme sports, photographers put their bodies on the line as well. They have to be in precarious positions to get the perfect shot and be able to run away before being hit by the athlete moving towards them.
“In security briefings, there’s a thing we like to say – ‘If anything happens to the photographers, save the cameras first!’” he said with a chuckle.
So, for aspiring freelance photographers, Geh’s advice is to be open to learning from everyone and everything.
“The Internet is amazing and is my immediate go-to resource. You can also learn a lot from the other people in the industry. Many pros are willing to teach and less-experienced photographers might also know something you don’t know.”
Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, but great shots are usually the domain of great photographers.