Following on from the reader critiques, email conversations and meet ups – I realize that there’s a big hole out there for people who want to learn how to do specific things photographically – how to achieve the end objectives *you* want to achieve, not what’s dictated by an enormous group workshop. And by a big hole, I mean nonexistent other than trial and error or finding a friend who happens to be good at whatever it is you want to shoot, and as a bonus has the time to teach you.
I’m relaunching Ming Thein’s Email School of Photography in a slightly different format.
1. Learn what you want to learn. You decide what you your final objective is: it can be as specific or general as you like. Anything from ‘how do I make a good photograph?’ to ‘I want to be able to make gigapixel images’.
2. Receive in depth critiques. Send me a related portfolio of your ten best images, which I’ll review and critique briefly. This lets me get a baseline for where you are and where the opportunities lie. I’ll be brutal, but objective and honest: you’re not going to gain anything from sugar coated comments.
3. It’s assignment based. I’ll set you ten assignments. Each assignment is aimed at teaching you one thing; the submission is in the form or a photo, or series of photos. There will be a detailed explanation of the hows, whys and technical/ historical context before the assignment, and a thorough review and postmortem dissection afterwards. This is the key learning portion.
4. It’s flexible. You’re the only student in your particular tailored program, so along the way, feel free to change the end goal as you learn more, or ask any relevant questions you might need answered.
5. Take as long as you need. The assignments can fit around your schedule and level of commitment. In fact, I’d be disappointed if you submitted the first image you shot, because it means you haven’t spent any time thinking about the learnings and experimenting.
The Full Course – US$900
The price for this is a one-off fee of US$900, which includes two videos – The Fundamentals and Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1, or whichever two videos are most appropriate for your level.
Compared to the thousands of dollars one spends on a decent camera and a couple of lenses, the equivalent of $75 per lesson is very little money to spend on acquiring the knowledge to use it properly and be able to capture your vision. And unlike equipment, the value of knowledge does not depreciate over time. The Email School was designed specifically to help you learn the fundamentals of photography that apply across any system to let you take the kind of photographs you want to take. It’s the distillation of 12 years and millions of images worth of experimentation, experience and expertise into one-on-one, personalized tuition with an experienced instructor and photographer. The reason I’m offering this is because I didn’t have anybody to go to to learn about the things I wanted to shoot when I was starting out, but I’d gladly have paid or enrolled in a school to learn – except there weren’t any. You don’t have to be in Kuala Lumpur to take part (but it would help) – everything can be done over email.
It’s a tailored, personal way of learning – you get as much out of it as you put in, and there’s no time limit to what you can learn.
Portfolio Review – US$500
Alternatively, I do a comprehensive portfolio review either in person, via email, or recorded to video (depending on your preference); from a submission of 50-100 images, I’ll perform a detailed critique of 20 of them, deconstructing them down to elements that work, elements that don’t, and most importantly, identifying recurring opportunities for improvement – and how to go about fixing them. I’ll also give you useful tips on straightforward things you can do with the equipment you’ve got to get closer to the results you want. This is similar to the Full Course, but without the assignment-based ongoing feedback process afterwards.
For an idea of what you’ll get through the full email school, have a look here – one of my students, Eugene Palomado, has done a fantastic job of reporting on his assignments and impressions of the course.
If you’re interested, please send me an email.
A couple of testimonials:
Jo B Grasmo (Image critique): Wow! Precisely what I was looking for! Thank you very much! I guess I’m “too afraid” of breaking rule of thirds and having anything in the middle of the image. Balance is indeed something I need to think more about when composing my images, which fits with another goal of less cluttered images – making them simpler and more peaceful. Again, thanks!
Gary Greenberg (Email school, Intro to PS): As a current student of Ming’s, and owner of one of these videos, and of many from his MT Compendium iPad app, I can’t more highly recommend his training products. I have grown so much from both his products, and freely available blog. I can say that if personal satisfaction is an acceptable metric, I am more satisfied in my own work. His approach is systematic, his ability to communicate top notch, and end product- images- so pure. To many professionals depend upon heavy post-processing (IMHO) these days. I follow and recommend Ming because he pushes me (us) to create amazing images that do not look like they’ve been digitally altered. Thanks Ming for your guidance, expertise, and honesty!
Stefan Decker (Email school): Hi Ming, I just completed your E-Mail school and want to thank you very much for mentoring. Before starting the program, I was in doubt: Either your E-Mail school or a new lens/camera. It was definitely the right decision. It took 8 months full of individual mentoring. For this, the price is a real bargain and the learning effect is much higher than any other “weekend workshop” at a photo studio. The school improved not only my photographic skills, but also the understanding of what makes a good picture. You answered also all of my additional questions. (always super fast and competent). In conclusion: – Highly recommended – 9.5/10
John Chang (Email school): Thank you for a great course, perhaps the best money I’ve spent on photography, i’ve picked up more in the past 10 assignments than the last 10 years. Confident of your career trajectory, I’m going to keep all those images and advice and make money off your fame in the near future! : )
Pete Saunders (Email School): I certainly have benefited greatly from Ming’s mentorship. Don’t expect his critques to be sugar-coated. He will be honest (brutally so at times) but fair. If you want to be on the path to developing useful and creative photographic skills, this is the person to go to. I have been fortunate enough to have had the ear (and eyes) of Ming these past few years in guiding me to the satisfying levels I’m at today. Ocassionally, he even likes one or two of my photographs.
Roger Wojahn (Portfolio review): Thank you so much for your patient, thoughtful, encouraging and brutally frank comments on my portfolio as well as my strengths and weaknesses. I have taken them all to heart and feel like the goals are tangible and understandable. Edges, exploring the vertical, eliminating random extra space and many of the finer (and larger subject) points all taken. A few of the comments about, for example, a boat on one side and needing a bit more of the mountain line descent on the other were merely a shortcoming of having one lens on the camera and little room to move closer or further from the scene. Still those points are instructive. (Follow up:) I first wanted to say that you have completely changed my perspective having been so forthright in your review of my portfolio. It may not seem like much has changed from your end, but I am practicing every day. Instead of making one casual shot and moving on, I am trying to improve, strengthen my subjects, watch the edges, shoot in vertical format, and a host of other things you mentioned. Part of the reason that I shot landscapes was my love for individual travel and discomfort with shooting in a crowd. It’s still quite a transition toward street photography but I am trying. For example, both shots that you chose of mine today were shot without looking through the viewfinder. The Mimosa, shot from well overhead (very clunky) with an M9 and the other, hanging around my neck, sitting on a subway. I’m trying to learn zone focusing, etc. Anyway, too much info I’m sure, but I’m doing my best to improve and practice is helping given your commentary.
Visit our Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including Photoshop Workflow DVDs and customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!
Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved