For those of you who’ve wondered how I create my images – both the compositional and in-camera portion, as well as the postprocessing afterwards – I’ve created a number of distance learning options if you can’t make it to one of my workshops. All videos are digital-delivery – we created a server network specifically for nearly unlimited-speed downloads – and in 720p HD. Just click on the appropriate links below to go to the new store and checkout directly via Paypal SSL – credit cards are fine, too.
Important note: there is no point in having thousands of dollars’ worth of great equipment but not the knowledge to get the most out of it – and certainly no point in upgrading if YOU are the limiting factor!
Video A: Introduction to Photoshop Workflow for Photographers. US$63. Runtime 1h13m
This video covers the core elements of my postprocessing workflow via Photoshop CS5.5; the core theory is applicable to earlier and later versions (though some labelling of tools might have changed). It includes a runthrough of the important features in Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop itself; this is the process I follow for the vast majority of my images to achieve the look you see here. With practice, it’s efficient, fast – I spend no more than a minute on each image – and delivers consistent results with a degree of control impossible through any other method. Each image and situation is different – why settle for filters, plugins or batch processing? No actions or plugins required, my workflow uses only the standard tools available in Photoshop and ACR.
Video B: Photoshop Workflow for the Leica M-Monochrom. US$63. Runtime 2h10m
The Leica M Monochrom is a camera with a unique tonal signature and a huge amount of potential – but it requires some care in processing to maximize this. Learn how with my workflow specifically customized for the camera. As with the other Photoshop videos, it’s based around CS5.5 but the tools are available in all versions going back to CS3 and up to the latest (CC).
Video C: Intermediate Photoshop. US$63 Runtime 2h20min
Here’s the natural progression for those of you who’ve mastered the Introduction video and are looking to take things a bit further. Chances are you’ve probably encountered a few situations in which you’ve wanted a little bit more processing horsepower; this video covers methods, use and application of masks; use of layers; retouching with the healing brush, clone stamp and airbrush – including re-rendering of simple surfaces; compositing images; liquefy; stitching; actions and batches. I use multiple commercial image examples. It’s impossible to demonstrate these techniques solo, as they’re often paired together in real applications to achieve a particular outcome or effect. Together with the Introduction video, it covers effectively 99% of all postprocessing situations a working pro is likely to encounter. As with the other Photoshop videos, it’s based around CS5.5 but the tools are available in all versions going back to CS3 and up to the latest (CC).
Video D: Ming Thein on Photography: The Fundamentals – US$63, Runtime 2h5min (trailer here)
The Fundamentals begins with a journey through the history of photography, detours through the fundamentals of what every photographer should know and why, and ends up discussing my personal philosophy on photography. We talk through multiple examples of images and explain why they work (or don’t); technology; how to extract the most from your cameras; aesthetics; and of course what makes an outstanding image, and why. It is, essentially, the core knowledge you need as a photographer (beyond how to operate your camera). This video also includes a PDF download with live links referenced to appropriate articles on this site.
Video E1: Making Outstanding Images: Ep1 – US$63, Runtime 80min (trailer here)
Episode One covers the first session of the workshops; learn about the importance of good light, how to identify it, the importance of metering and understanding exposure from both a compositional and technical standpoint, and more importantly, how to use good light in your compositions. We then go on to deal with the five methods of subject isolation, the importance of perspectives and when to use what to strengthen an image, and finish off with identifying and using natural frames.
We look at the use of visual and compositional devices such as frames, lines and quadrants to help you both influence the way your audience views an image. In the second half of the video, we focus on the overarching theme of compositional balance: what is it? How do we achieve it? How do we create a photograph that’s not just balanced, but also dynamic and strong?
Video E3: Making Outstanding Images Ep.3: Telling a Story – US$63 (offers and bundles apply), runtime 1h42m
This video focuses on putting all of the basic toolkit together: we covered light, subject and composition in the previous two videos. Now, how do we use those elements to tell a story, and convey the intentions to our audience? It also includes a couple of handy exercises for regenerating your creative impulses when you need a little jolt to get you started.
Video E4: Making Outstanding Images Episode 4: Exploring Style Part I & II (US$80, 1h42m and 1h24m)
We begin by questioning and explaining what style is, and the quantitative hallmarks/ tools that can be used to define, control and create a particular impression, and more importantly, why. I then take four popular, easily defined styles – commercial/travel, high contrast photojournalist black and white, fine art black and white and cinematic – and deconstruct them to their constituent elements, looking at examples and precisely defining what gives them their unique visual look. I then take these elements on a live demo shoot for each style on location in Penang, and discuss the finished images to explain why they work.
Video E5: Making Outstanding Images Episode 5: Processing for Style Part I & II (US$80, 1h42m and 1h27m)
The final video in this series brings everything together to the point of output: we take the sample images shot in Exploring style, and examine the postprocessing techniques required to complete the intended style. Starting with the raw files, we put 50+ examples step-by-step through Photoshop and demonstrate exactly what you need to do out-of-camera to put a distinctive flavour onto an image. We use PS CS 5.5, but the core principles apply from CS3 to CC.
Video H1: How To See, Ep1: Kuala Lumpur - US$63 (offers and bundles apply), runtime 1h56min
This will be a new series of videos that merges travel and photography: simply put, you spend some time with me whilst I shoot in various cities around the world; you see over my shoulder, inside my viewfinder, and of course get the benefit of discussion of the ensuing images. In essence, you get to experience vicariously how I view the world. Needless to say, we start with my home city: Kuala Lumpur. I explain what’s catching my attention in a particular location, how and why I chose that particular framing and processing. On top of that, we talk about why a particular image works – or doesn’t. Episode two will be shot in Tokyo, and available around the end of November.
Travel vicariously into the photographic wonderland that is Tokyo. Building on Episode 1 filmed in Kuala Lumpur, we travel to Tokyo with a completely different equipment loadout with the intention of making unique images of a place that is no stranger to being photographed. Once again, I explain what’s catching my attention in a particular location, and why I chose that particular framing and processing. I explain afterwards why a particular image works – or doesn’t. This video is unique in that all of the segments are filmed in one take: we can’t reset the scene and try again. What you’re seeing is really and exactly what I was seeing at the time of shooting. Episode 3, 4 and 5 will be filmed in Melbourne, Havana and London respectively throughout 2014.
Video F: The Compact Camera Masterclass - US$50 (offers and bundles apply), runtime 2h20min
CCM is a standalone video for those of you looking to get a bit more out of your compact without getting too serious: the principles apply to all cameras, however buttons and menus of course differ, so you might need to delve into the manual to check how to access certain settings. We cover both technical and compositional aspects, with plenty of examples under a mix of commonly encountered photographic situations. It’s really a little bit of everything – think of it as a very high level degustation into the way I shoot and produce the images I do with compact cameras – this article on using compacts for professional work will give you an idea on what’s possible.
This video explains and demonstrates the fundamental techniques and tricks required to create a strong street photograph: one that highlights something that might otherwise have been missed, tells a story, and above all, captures a very human moment. I’ll show you how to approach and photograph people without having to be confrontational or have the courage of a lion. We use the rich hunting ground of Tokyo as our stage, and a variety of equipment from compacts to medium format.
How to order the videos:
Click on the title link for your desired video. Please remember to include the email address you’d like your download link sent to. If you don’t receive a link within a day, please check your spam filter – sometimes things get lost. Please note that it may take a few hours for you to get the download link as the process is manual; I get a lot of mismatched Paypal/ email addresses, so I double check every order to ensure accuracy. Thanks!
2. Ming Thein’s Email School of Photography
A personally tailored, one-on-one photographic correspondence course that takes the form of one portfolio review, nine lessons and two videos (The Fundamentals and Outstanding Images Ep.1, or if you already have these, a more suitable pair) for just US$900. Determine your photographic objectives, and I’ll figure out how to get you there through a series of exercises designed to improve both your eye and your technical skills. Take as long as you need and learn exactly what you want – no other course offers this level of personalised, individual tuition. As at November 2013, there are over 130 students currently enrolled!
3. Portfolio review video
If you feel you have the skills but just need an objective, detailed critique of your images to set you on the right track, then the portfolio review video is for you. A longer, more detailed version of the one included in the Email School, I will review an extended portfolio of your work and provide suggestions and tips for you to try in order to address any potential shortcomings.
4. Portfolio review session
If you live in Kuala Lumpur, I offer a 2-hour portfolio review session in person for US$300.
If you’d like to sign up for any of the above, or would like more information, please contact me here or email email@example.com – thanks!
Customer testimonials and quotes
Jorge Ledesma (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 4 & 5): Purchased last night your 4&5 and I’m blown away with the level of detail. Very well done!
Ralf Rehberger (S1 Street Photography Ep.1): I am following your blog since a couple of weeks and I’m deeply impressed by your pictures! I appreciate your essays a lot, too. They are not only interesting in terms of photography but also because they show your deeper understanding of so many different things as much as your very sharp analytical mind. And last but not least they are a pleasure to read. Because you know how to transfer your knowledge and experience! Finally, I’ve bought your Street Photography video and find it much more helpful than any book. So all in all: Bravo!!! And: Thank you!
HC Mak (Melbourne Workshop, Mar 2014): I was one of the participants in Melbourne and I really did enjoy myself. Ming provided so much information in the 3 days that even after a week I’m still digesting and processing the info. Highly recommended, and the ultraprints needs to be seen to be believed, they are really that awesome.
Pete Sullivan (Melbourne workshop, Mar 2014): I’m so glad I attended your workshop. I think I was close to giving up on photography but I can tell already that I’m feeling in a very different and positive place toward my photography and the journey ahead. It starts today – I’ll put time aside each day to practice all that I’ve learned over the three days. Best of all – I’m looking forward to it. I did have trouble keeping up with you yesterday as I’ve only just taken out a Photoshop subscription. That said, you’ve inspired me to learn to use Photoshop. The minimal changes you worked through with us made for stunning images. Looking ahead, I’ll be buying your advanced Photoshop tutorial and I’ll be sure to check out what else will help me to improve. Thanks again, Ming.
Malcolm Trebilco (Melbourne workshop, Mar 2014): It was inspiring course, a lot of fun and I have felt as though I have learned alot (my head is still swimming a bit). I can already see my photographs changing alot this year not only in composition but in the change of mindset ( I am not longer viewing scenes in terms of doing hours of Photoshop work but in terms of framing, story, light, balance etc). The Ultraprints were a great treat to see as well. I could have spent many hours looking at them from both a technical sense and a pure enjoyment sense. The textures and colour depth were stunning. On a more personal note – you are one of the most genuine and inspirational people I have had the pleasure of meeting.
Chris Stephens (Melbourne workshop, Mar 2014): My thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us all. A very informative and enjoyable few days. I shall never quite look through the view finder in the same way again. I have just reviewed multiple images from an overseas trip that we did about six months ago. My (delayed) task is to produce a (photo) book, through apple/aperture resources, which is something we always do to record our occasional travels. 95% of the images, and here I’m being self-indulgent, would not pass the Ming the Merciless test. So, lots of lessons learnt. I have no doubt that on the next OS trip more compelling images will result. And I was convinced, by watching you and being agreeably harangued by my fellow participants, that I need Photoshop. The current CC deal, $9.90 a month, expires tomorrow. So here I sit, at an appallingly slow download speed (I’m sure your third world does it quicker) dropping it onto my Mac. You have much to answer for :)
Kai O’Yang (Melbourne workshop, Mar 2014): Thanks also for the workshop. I learnt a lot. Now it’s time to shoot :)
Eric Hanson (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 4): Finished watching Making Outstanding Images Ep. 4: Exploring Style Parts I & II. Highly recommended. The four shooting styles are carefully selected. Concepts from Ep 1-3 are applied to make the various styles. I really enjoyed the first section covering the commercial/travel style. The Temple in Penang is an incredible site to photograph. I learned a lot from watching over your shoulder as you shoot as well as your comments. In addition I learned alot about critiquing photos of my own and others. You clearly take this style up a notch. I made a very careful note to use this where it applies but to also use the others styles. The high contrast photojournalist black and white style section is very informative. I can now see in B&W and identify scenes that would be well adapted to this style. I learned a lot about composition watching you shoot in this section. The fine art black and white section was my favorite part. I had my camera in hand in the parking lot at work today and I immediately saw a Fine Art scene and snaped the shot. On a photo walk today I saw two more frames and captured them. The cinematic style was helpful in that it all makes sense now. In particular the part about composing when all the frames are portrait. Today I saw many strong compositions on my commute that I had never seen before. And for the first time I knew exactly which style I would process for before raising the camera to my eye. I took a cinematic, several fine art B&W and a commercial. I also now know which styles work with which subjects and lighting. This is a huge step forward. I cant wait to see Episode 5.
Eric Hanson (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 5): Just finished watching Making Outstanding Images Ep. 5 Parts I & II. The videos are extremely helpful. Below are some impressions from watching the videos:
Commercial – Lots of fresh examples (all new) including an outdoor scene with a tree and other green things (handling greens) . Builds upon the intro to PS Video with what seems (to me) to be several bonus steps/tweaks to fine tune the image. Sharpening is a bit easier to follow. Plus an example of sharpening files from cameras without AA filters also a file shot past the limit of diffraction. Also a better idea of when to balance an image warm or cool based on dominant colors in the image (white balance).
High Contrast Photo Journalist – I really like the processing here. More examples with a more comprehensive view than in the intro video. I really gained a much better understanding of the process. I also really like this style as shown that it can be used for still life and more artistic style of photos. You really get the flow for the amount of dodge and burn to apply. Also a really nice explanation of high key -vs- low key when using the curve adjustment. Two examples that show clearly the correlation to histogram to which portion of the picture will be impacted. A better explanation of the curve is learned watching the examples. I really like the palm tree and the door in this set as I learned a lot form each. They also fit some shots i have been attempting recently.
Fine Art B&W – I really like the sailboat example. Also the forest example from the ultraprint run and the photo of the highlight in the forest pictures where you burned the highlights. The focus stacking example was also very nice to see. A nice explanation of dodging and burning. I also enjoyed learning about the Fine Art B&W style and how to process for it. We have a lot of sailboats and trees. I am looking forward to shooting more of these.
Cinematic – This really showed how to adjust colors to get them correct after dramatic white balance shifts. Nice to see the many examples of gradients. Also the dark gradient from the bottom, light from top. I learned a lot of refinements in the process. Also a deeper focus on saturation and desaturation.
Jeff C (Intermediate Photoshop): I just was able to set some time aside and sit down and watch the second installment of the photoshop tutorials (damn kids make life so complicated and busy) and just wanted to say the intermediate vid was great. It’ll take some time for all the information to sink into this thick skull of mine, but over the long haul I will benefit greatly! Thanks Ming.
Larry House (The Fundamentals, Making Outstanding Images Ep.1): I’ve watched both videos once, and will need to watch them at least once more. They are very good, by the way. No-one should be deceived by the “fundamentals” title – it is on another level than what might be expected, and should be required viewing for every photographer.
Jerome Walsh (Fundamentals, Making Outstanding Images Ep.1-3, How To See Ep.1, Compact Camera Masterclass): I have found all the lessons I have previously ordered; D:The Fundamentals, E1: Outstanding Images, H1: How To See, & F:Compact Cameras, to be excellent, inspiring, and above all useful. I am choosing to further develop my creative photographic skills, along with a greater understanding of digital techniques. Your video lessons are providing a rich and solid foundation to build on. I look forward to these two new lessons I have just ordered… E2 & E3.
Ming…I find you to be a great teacher and I highly recommend your video lessons. Thank-You.
Dan Friedman (The Email School of Photography): Wow! What a great review of my work. I really appreciate the candid comments and they’ll certainly have an effect on how I look at things through the viewfinder. I’ve printed the “Observations” bullets that you provided and will keep in my pocket when I go out shooting. Clearly, I’ve developed some bad habits that I need to correct. Now, it’s a bright sunny day with lots of shadows and I’m going to grab a camera and go out shooting. Thanks again – your review alone was worth the price of the course.
Jeffrey Littell (The Email School of Photography): You in very short order have identified my single biggest problem and the key one in my frustrations to date in attempting produce better images: My images are flat! Oh golly, are they ever flat!
Looking at the images you sent to me, I SEE very clearly why your images are great and why mine are not particularly interesting. Even your most simple image is interesting.
I now see much more clearly that the world of photography is about contrast, for without it you have my images. Bland and flat. Seeking contrast to make the key image “pop” involves the sky, time of day or night, and as you so clearly state several other factors.
I must get busy studying these fundamentals so they become my primary criteria for shot selection. I see that I have a lot of work to do but I am not intimidated by what you say because although at times it might be frustrating it will still be great fun.
I like your rules. Tell me anything, make it a teaching tool for me to work on, and we will see a nice progression in my work.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Mark McDonald (Intro to PS Workflow): I just got your introductory Photoshop workflow video – it’s excellent. Makes a very complex program seem logical and simple, and I now have a much clearer view of it. I will likely get the advanced one at a later date.
Stephan Ralescu (Fundamentals, Making Outstanding Images Ep.1-3, Intro to PS Workflow): I look at Ming’s sample photos and my jaw drops: “can the camera really be that good.” So I decided to take Ming Thein at his word and invest more in my education rather than the gear. I’ve got Ming’s fundamentals, his outstanding images, and intro to PS videos, and I can now see how Ming is able to achieve such high quality output. And also how much more I have to learn before I start going for the gear once again.
Eric Hanson (How To See Ep.2: Tokyo): Just finished watching – How to See EP2: Tokyo. The information is enjoyable and extremely helpful. The episode covers a large number and variety of scenes. I really enjoyed the locations selected. In particular the visits to gardens and landscapes was very illustrative and the photos wonderful. Also the street and building photography. Can’t wait to get out and shoot and apply these things locally. If I get to Tokyo I will have a huge list of sites to visit.
Ansgar Trimborn (How To See Ep.2 Tokyo, Street Photography Ep.1): Got myself H2/S1 videos as a Christmas present and find both well worth the $$$. Really like the look over the shoulder learning perspective.
Andre Yew (How To See Ep.2: Tokyo, Street Photography Ep.1): If you get a chance to see the two latest videos from Japan, you’ll be impressed! Carrying a Hasselblad with a giant eyelevel finder, big digital back, big lens and big grip, and a tripod all over Tokyo, fueled mostly by Calpis soda, shooting street photography, there is no doubt when Ming’s taking a picture of you. Those commentators who think Ming’s allergic to camera weight have no idea at all … nor those that think certain cameras are too loud.
Gary Greenberg: (How To See Ep.2: Tokyo) – Watching “How To See, Ep2, Tokyo” now… perfect as I get ready for my upcoming photo-shoot in Paris. Very highly recommended!
Todd Alexander Lawton (How To See Ep.2: Tokyo) – Ep2: Fantastic. Not only hugely educational, but a joy to watch. A final note: I’ve bought various other tutorial videos this year (combination of several photographers I admire releasing videos at the same time, and reaching the point with the hobby where I’m more interested in learning how to do it properly than getting more gear–four and a half years in!), and yours absolutely dump all over the others.
Alex Lemon (How To See Ep.2: Tokyo) – Ep2 Tokyo is great, really enjoying it. Look forward to checking out Street next.
Andrew Yew (Making Outsanding Images Ep. 2, 3) - Quadrant geometry just blew my mind. What a simple way to describe balance, and with a learning curve that’s not too steep, so beginners can look for the easy quadrants, while more advanced photographers can start looking for more interesting, complex compositions. I also realized that many of my images that work have quadrant balance, and now I can understand why many of those that don’t work, don’t work. For me, that little section is worth the price of the whole video!
Todd Alexander Lawton (Making Outsanding Images Ep. 2, 3) – Episodes 2 and 3 purchased; Star Wars fans will be happy to learn that they have nothing in common with their prequel trilogy namesakes. I have an insatiable apetite for these videos now! Stayed up till silly-o-clock watching them. If you decide to start selling apparel in the store, my vote’s for a “Quadrant Geometry Changed My Life” t-shirt ;)
Eric Hanson (Making Outsanding Images Ep. 2, 3) – Just finished viewing Outstanding Images Episodes 2 and 3. Episode 2 will change how I take photos from here on out. My keeper rate will greatly increase. The compositional information is invaluable and the quadrant information is simply amazing. In particular it is hugely liberating in that it allows better subject placement and a more comprehensive definition of balanced than I had previously understood. I have anticipated Episode 2 since you announced it and it has exceeded my expectations. Episode 3 helps greatly with what to include in each frame and how to tell a story. This greatly simplifies taking the correct picture in the first place and identifying which images are keepers. It is wonderful that you know these things and even more wonderful that you are able to explain them in a clear and usable fashion and share them with us. My objectivity and experience in evaluating images has increased from watching the first three videos in the series and the fundamentals video. The example of the man on the beach with the leading lines and frame is very helpful as well… I was always able to enjoy that photo but I now can explain why it is a strong image and look forward to creating my own images using the same techniques.
Jan Martin (Fundamentals, How To See Ep1, Making Outstanding Images, Ep. 1, 2, 3) - Ming, I truly appreciate all the effort you put into your blog and website. I ordered your videos and am blown away by the amount of information you provide and the style with which you provide. I am normally hesitant on any coursework because it is frequently too elementary or padded with redundancy. Yours are succinct and overflowing with ideas. I am actually taking notes!
Andrew Yew (How To See Ep1, Compact Camera Masterclass) - I just watched the KL episode, and it was really good and well worth the price. All street photographers should watch it to see how one should work a scene. I don’t feel so bad anymore loitering in one place for 15 minutes taking dozens of shots when I see much better photographers than me do it as a matter of course! That is also a very clever use of the video recording feature of the E-M5 as a teaching tool, especially with that amazing 5-axis stabilizer. BTW, CC masterclass is amazing, especially the 2nd half in the field. It was really nice to see how fluidly you used that little Sony (TX30?), and the really nice results you got out of it. It was nice to see that in contrast to all of the pixel-peeping techno angst on the rest of the Internet. I wonder if a real-world field presentation like that of a camera would result in more sales for it … The way you presented it too was quite a contrast to Sony’s fairly insulting anti-DSLR ads, and it makes people (well, me at least) want to go out and take pictures, because it feels like I have the tools now to make good-looking images.
Ironically, the CC masterclass will do more for most people’s photography than a sensor of any size…In it, Ming uses a cheap, discontinued Sony point-and-shoot to photograph various subjects, including portraiture, with the typical Ming-like results. And he explains what he’s doing and why, too. It’s about as pure a distillation of what photography is about as I’ve seen, and everything in that video applies to all cameras. I go between that video, the KL walk around, and the outstanding images episode to remind myself of certain concepts before doing assignments for Ming’s email school.
Graham Ashton (How to See Ep1) – Hi Ming. Last night I finished watching episode 1 of “How to See”. I wasn’t sure if this shot…
…would make it into the group, but now that you’ve seen it, I thought you might like to know how it came to be.
Basically, I set out for lunch today with some of the scenes you discussed in your video fresh in my mind. I noticed this arrow on the building adjacent to mine and paused in a doorway opposite to shelter from the rain for a minute or so. A guy walked past with a cigarette. For some reason it didn’t work and I didn’t press the shutter. He turned around almost immediately and walked back against the flow. More of a story perhaps (going against the arrow), but he looked too small.
The cyclist came out of nowhere. I pressed the shutter instinctively, then went to get lunch.
If I hadn’t watched how to see I wouldn’t have seen the arrow on the wall, stopped to see who passed by in front of it, taken the shot, or (and I think this is the most significant bit) deemed it worthy of keeping/uploading.
It’s not one of my favourite shots, and I think it’s got its flaws, but at the same time I think I may be learning to appreciate something new here, and I wanted to say thanks. I’ve been a hobbyist photographer on and off since I was 12 (27 years!), and it’s not often I’ve been able to say that about photography recently.
I think episodes 2 and 3 of Outstanding Images may be in my immediate future…
Mark Chai (How To See Ep1) – Hi Ming Thein, your ‘ How To See Ep1 ‘ is awesome! Does this mean there will be an Ep2 ? Could hardly wait if there is Ep2. Your video is worth every penny and beyond!
Kumi (How To See Ep1) – Finished watching How To See Video last night. This is the first time I bought these kind of work shop video so I wasn’t sure to pay that price…I am glad I did, it was GREAT! For me it was very informative in good balanced … I means you are leaving some space for us to think, too. I also enjoyed as a documentary film. Love the scene of the cafe in KL. Look forward to see Tokyo ver.
Eric Hanson (How To See Ep1, Compact Camera Masterclass) – Just finished watching both videos: How To See Ep1, and The Compact Camera Masterclass. WoW!!! They are incredible, I really like the use of technology in both. The Compact Camera Master Class is proof that most people don’t know how to use a camera. Your images and ideas taken with that little blue point and shoot are stunning and very doable. Well done in both!
Corey Vickery (Compact Camera Masterclass) – Ming, I am thoroughly enjoying your Compact Camera Masterclass video and I will be purchasing the rest of your videos very soon. I hope someday you will do a review of the Sony RX1R (my camera) as well as a workshop in Los Angeles. Take care!
Michael Tapes (How To See Ep1) – Excellent. I think that this is the first time someone has done this type of see through my eyes instruction, and your use of video to go along with your thinking process is an GREAT way to teach. As with my previous teacher, with you, that is specifically what i want to learn. HOW TO SEE. I had done a walking tour of my neighborhood in NJ with my teacher as he explained what he saw, and that was very valuable to me at the time. Having this and future videos will be great. The exact thing that I have to learn is to talk to myself as I am looking at life and work my way to finding and making good pictures. So congratulations on the concept and execution, and I look forward to more in the future.
Amy Wexler (How To See Ep1, Compact Camera Masterclass) – Just finished both the new videos. Wonderful stuff. The walkarounds are particularly useful – very informative to understand how you reduce the complexity of various scenes into photographic opportunities and apply the theories/practices you describe in your various videos and articles. I’d like to emphasize how helpful for my current state of development I find the settings comments you make along the way – such as, focal lengths and apertures, in the case of the KL video, and where you’re metering (in the case of spot) or where you’re using another mode, in the compact masterclass video. Great products (also appreciate the introductory discounts!). Thanks for all the work you put into them.
C Scott Pollock (How To See Ep1) - I just watched “How To See.” Excellent and fascinating work — I could watch this type of thing all day long.
Sergey Landesman (How To See Ep1, Compact Camera Masterclass) - Thank you for very good video lesson!
Sirmo (How To See Ep1, Compact Camera Masterclass) – Just purchased the new videos. I watched the Compact Camera Masterclass and I love it! Keep up the good work!
Todd Lawton (Fundamentals, Outstanding Images Ep. 1, How To See Ep. 1, Compact Camera Masterclass) - Awesome, will probably get that bundle [Outstanding Images Ep. 2+3] later today. A quick watch of the first four over the past week (I will surely be studying them intently for months to get the most out of them) left me gagging for more. Addicted to knowledge! They are exactly what I wanted; so happy. Thanks Ming.
Jeffrey Littell (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – I came across your website and decided to purchase your video lesson entitled “Photography; The Fundamentals”. I enjoyed that video so much that I subsequently purchased the video entitled Making Outstanding Images”.
I’m an amateur photographer who has studied with several professional photographers. What I find in comparing your videos with my sessions with the pros is that you bring the many components and aspects of photography together in an easy to understand format. You answer the “why” factor in the philosophy and psychology of photography, which is something that none of the pros I have studied with have been able to do for me. Additionally, reading several books on photography didn’t provide me with the clarity of thought that you do in your video presentations. This of course only lead to more and more frustration! Knowing the “why” factor provides me with the foundation to work from in creativity with my work.
I will admit to two things up to now with my hobby: first, I became entrapped in the marketing by the manufacturers in having to have the most expensive gear (and lots of it!), and second knowing most of the various aspects of creating a great photograph but not being able to put them together to actually produce a great photo.
Of the thousands and thousands of frames that I have shot, I never quite knew why say 10 or 20 of those images were great when I shot them. It was more luck than anything else. And, some of the better images were ones I thought were mistakes when I shot them!
So, there you have it. I’ll study the two videos that I purchased and absorb all I can before moving forward in purchasing additional videos in your series.
Thank you for saving me in bringing the components together for me that have eluded me to date and lead to massive frustration.
Michelle Wolschlager (Making Oustanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – I stayed up entirely too late last night watching (and rewatching) both videos. Then I fell asleep on my laptop (out of sheer exhaustion–nothing more!) whilst reading your articles, and in many cases, rereading articles I’d already read in the past but that suddenly made so much more sense after watching the videos. I learned a LOT. I’m so happy you’re doing this! It is exactly what I was I was looking for to learn how to capture better images! I’ve been frustrated by the fact most courses/videos/books either assume you know absolutely nothing at all and merely regurgitate the exposure triangle and rule of thirds, or they assume you’ve got a PhD in math and physics. Anxiously awaiting the next videos… I’m not willing to wait for the bundle deal pricing and will be ordering them as you release them–they are absolutely worth the cost.
Per Hildebrant (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) - Thks for your fine introduction today of the new videos, I am still repeatedly now and then looking at the first 2 launched by you, and I am also enjoying the extreme fine technical quality of the videos…thanks!
Mark/ JTL Photography (Making Outstanding Images Ep.1, The Fundamentals) - I just finished my first viewing of the two above videos (Fundamentals and Outstanding Images 1), and initial impressions are as follows:
1) The first video (Fundamentals) is like a mini-encyclopedia. I thought I knew a bit about photography, but the first video has put into words things that I’ve only up until now grasped in an intuitive manner, as well as things I just didn’t know at all (DOF scales generally not updated for digital cameras? Interesting in its own right, and something of a commentary on how digital manufacturers see the average photographer as not interested in manual shooting…or maybe it’s just laziness!). Some of it can be applied practically, some of it is “just for knowledge”, but the whole thing is a fascinating look at what photography is and where it came from. I can see myself going back to this one time and time again.
2) It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who reads the site, but Ming is a highly articulate and enthusiastic guide. It’s clear that he lives and breathes photography, and this comes over in his presentation style. He paces the material well: not too fast, not too slow.
3) The second video (Outstanding Images 1) is also very good. Possibly because I’m basically self-taught, I shoot in a very instinctive manner – I see something and say “yes, that!” – and it’s served me quite well. However, I can’t always tell WHY I like a picture that I’ve taken, or HOW I can take more like it. This video’s breakdown of a photo into light, subject, idea, frame, etc, has already given me the impetus to look at things in a more analytical way. It might be difficult at first because I’m not a very analytical person, but I have no doubt that it will add a new dimension to how I approach photography.
Watching Ming himself shoot and explain why and how he does what he does is a very valuable experience, and the resulting pictures strengthen his already good verbal explanations of the concepts. The analyses of his pictures are also useful. I was especially pleased to see an analysis of the “Yin Yang light” picture (with the woman’s shadow), because I’ve always really liked that one.
Like Ming says on the video, it’s a little overwhelming at first, but slowly and surely you’ll start seeing things in a different way. Again, this video will require multiple viewings to get everything from it.
Overall, no regrets whatsoever about paying the (very reasonable) asking price for these videos. I will be giving very strong consideration to the upcoming volumes as well…once I’ve absorbed everything on the first two!
Amanda Koh (Making Oustanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – My mind is a little bit blown by @mingthein’s observation that changing exposure affects composition (by changing the visual weight of things). It’s making me question my whole shooting technique. Thank you for your videos. :)
Francois Arbour (Making Oustanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – I bought your package «The fundamentals» and «Outstanding images» recently. I am very satisfied with the content of the material, very interesting.
John Kelly (Making Oustanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals, Intro to PS, How To See Ep.1, Intermediate PS) – I’ve purchased all your videos and they’re equally fantastic.
Alan Morris (Making Oustanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – Very unique approach. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Albert Setiawan (Making Oustanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – Just purchased and watched both videos yesterday, I have to say I’m very satisfied with the contents.
Guillaume Pont (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1) – I’ve bought Episode 1 and just watched it. For one of your first videos it is great ! Well done Ming ! I’ve found your explanations very clear. I am not a total beginner so I knew already most of fundamentals (by observing and practicing myself, with experience) but you made these concepts clearer and more precise in my mind so I guess I am now willing to use these concepts on a more regular and thought basis when I shoot :) Can’t wait for other episodes !
Alan Morris (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – Just ordered the workflow video. I am working my way through your new video series. It is excellent. I look forward to future videos in this series.
Todd Alexander Lawton (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – I’ve been offered these wedding gigs through word of mouth, and that’s very much thanks to the amazing tuition and advice that I’ve got from this site and your iPad app. So thank you very, very much. I’ll be thanking you further by buying your latest series of videos (and hopefully some one-on-one tuition) as soon as I have the spare cash.
Uktu Oguz (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – I also bought your new video series, and I really congratulate you for your dexterity.You are a great master of this craft and your knife-sharp analytical mind is something to envy for every human being.
Your presentation skills are excellent too. I normally have a very short span of attanetion but I could watch your videos in one breath. Kudos. Waiting for the next ones.
Louis Woolf (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – Hi Ming, I just downloaded your videos of your workshops. I previewed them briefly and they look amazing. You are truly awesome and I so look forward to watching and learning. I am a big fan and I love your passion for what you do. I will continue to follow and support you and I hope that some day we can meet and shoot in person. Thanks for all that you do for the photo community.
Robert Mars (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – Bought the package today and received the download link seconds after PayPal confirmation, smooth ! Yeah and those very first videos are great btw, keep them coming ! Rob
Derek Daniels (Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1, The Fundamentals) – I recently purchased the 2 videos you have released so far. Just wanted to say they are great and no regrets what so ever.
Kathleen Bowers (The Fundamentals, Intro to PS, How To See Ep.1, Making Outstanding Images Ep. 1-3) – I have watched the videos – leaving PS till last. What a revelation! I can’t wait to become familiar with your workflow! My post processing skills are so very limited by comparison!
Dr. Elliot Puritz (PS Workflow for the Leica M Monochrom) – I am enjoying your video on PS and the LMM! Learning quite a bit; obvious that PS has some advantages over LR. The use of the gradient tool and the ability to use more than one curve might make the cost of PS worth it!
Sven Wisgard (Intro, Intermediate PS) – Personally, I’ve bought a couple of your videos and down the track I’ll be a candidate for the email school. Why? Because the quality of your content is absolutely first class! Many thanks for being a major source of information for a hobby photographer, like me.
Jeff C (Intro to PS) – Ming if you are reading this….. the tutorial is great, I’ll be hitting you up for the next part here in the near future. Just need some time to work through what I’ve learned already.
Toby Smith (Intro to PS) – Just finished Ming Thein’s Photoshop workflow video – awesome stuff! Great workflow tips, and I especially like the sharpening process he uses – will put that into practice immediately.
Todd Lawton (Intro to PS DVD) - I’m currently trialling Photoshop CC (I use Lightroom at home, but have been using its big bro for much longer, primarily at work these days), so had cause to bust out your iPad videos again (I got a load of them as a Christmas present to myself, but had to use my parents’ iPad, so I don’t have access to them most of the time!); really excellent. There’s something visceral and satisfying about the hands-on nature of your Photoshop workflow (particularly multiple curves and the much more precise dodge and burn tools) that Lightroom/ACR alone can’t match; the greater degree of control afforded makes processing a more right-brained and fun experience, IMO. Hearty endoresement from me to anyone reading this that hasn’t tried Ming’s videos.
Graham Wood (Intro to PS DVD): Someone wrote above “precisely what I was looking for…”. Having just absorbed Video A, I fully second that. There was no waffle and no fluff. Just very very useful stuff, with all the right context to make it meaningful. Thank you Ming.
Tamas Varosi (Intro to PS DVD): I loved it, especially the B&W part.
Tom Liles (Intro, Intermediate PS DVDs): I had a go on a couple of Ming’s PS videos recently and find them useful. There’s an important difference between saying that and “found them useful.” Happy customer :) I would frame them as cast-off points rather than top-down “do this, do this, do this, do this…” cookie cutter type instructions. They make you want to play with PS, but honestly my over-riding desire after watching was to go out and take some pictures; to have some fresh meat, as it were, to try the new approach — a better phrase than ‘new tools’ — on. Give them a go.
Valerji Tomarenko (Intro to PS DVD): Just received the DVD (it took it less than a fortnight to reach Germany). Very happy about it. Exactly what I was looking for, against the backdrop of all these books, tutorials etc. on PH. Thank you so much!
Yee Suan Poo (Intro to PS DVD): I love your first PS video. It helps me a lot especially the sharpening part.
Luis Meirinhos (Intro to PS DVD):
(What I like)
1. I really like the simplicity of the workflow to change a set of photos.
2. Workflow based on 1 application with 2 modules . (Bridge + Photoshop)
2.1 I use 3 applications and wast so many time changing between them (ViewNX, CaptureNX, Photoshop).
3. Photo ranking process with good use of method (FBLW – First BEST Last WORST)
3.1 I use numbers instead of stars on ViewNX, but my method is FIFO – First In First Out. It’s good because it’s one method but, for this propose, i don’t think i have good results. I have many medium quality pictures processed that I’ll not see them again. I’ll try your method to have better use of time.
4. Many sharpening filters have better results.
4.1 I never realise this. The results are much better compared to one sharpening filter more aggressive.
(What I improve…)
1. Use photoshop non destructively for everything!
1.1 Is there any difference if we use one layer with 50% of grey (Overlay) for dodge and burn?
1.2 this way if I wish to revisit one photo latter I don’t lose the original.
2. Workflow of one picture that you have to fix or remove something. Ex: dust, cable,…
I really enjoy the DVD because I learn new ways to improve my photos and have more time to do other things instead of post processing.
R. V. Abbott (Intro to PS DVD): I found that all the principles you discussed in your basic photoshop and color correction videos (e.g., regarding the relationship between the saturation and lightness sliders) applied equally well in LR. I used to struggle with skin tone color corrections, but thanks to your video, I’m finally able to do it easily!
Kim Davidson (Intro to PS DVD): After receiving your DVD I installed Adobe Photoshop CS6, never having seen it, camera raw or bridge before. I would not have believed it possible, but thanks to your great instruction on your DVD, I worked my way through bridge, camera raw and successfully processed photos in Photoshop CS6 in just one day and i keep going back to your DVD to learn more. I can’t thank you enough.
James (Intro to PS DVD): I just wanted to say thanks for the very informative DVD. I know photoshop pretty well, but you have taken the way I’ll use it from now to another level. I was always scared of that Curves line as it seemed to be really sensitive and easily ruin my shots. Now from your DVD I know how to use it and have already transformed a few of my photos and they look so much better. Also your dodge, burn, sponge and sharpening tips were a revelation for me. I won’t list all the things you went into, but suffice to say I’m looking forward to going through my photos now and seeing the results.
Djoko Susanto (Intro to PS DVD): I had watched your your photoshop workflow dvd, it was shock me, much.
I never thought, it was so easy techniques, but it’s awesome.
I learned so many techniques in photoshop but never realized yours is the best and simple, great job Ming.
Dimitris Glynos (Intro to PS DVD): Hi Ming! I just saw your “Photoshop workflow DVD” and it was really amazing! The resolution of the mov file (1440x900px) is very very good and your workflow both on color & b&w images is pretty impressive! Thanks a lot!
JP Kornberg (Intro to PS DVD): I am happy to support the use of your PS DVD. Your workflow really is easy even for PSphobes.
Joey (Intro to PS DVD): I received your PS workflow dvd a few days ago and have enjoyed it very much. Though not familiar with Photoshop I look forward to trying out the many techniques you discussed and feel confident it will start me on the right path as I step into the often confusing world of post-processing.
Lucia Prosperi (M Monochrom DVD): I just finished your video, and I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed watching it, and I think I’ve learned quite a bit.
Vishal Bondwal (iPad app): Got the sharpening video first for a test run, and was amazed at how much I didn’t know about this ‘simple’ tool. Since then I’ve been buying them one-by-one and now almost all are done. Came here to find out how to resolve the deleted-after-watching issue, and found the solution. You manage to compress a lot of helpful stuff in 8 minutes. The Camerapedia and gear list runs smoothly and is very interesting as well. Thanks.
Keith Nisbet (iPad app, general): I read all the major review sites and drive myself crazy pouring over reviews trying to figure out how to make the best purchase decision as a nikon F3 owner with some nice old Manual focus lenses that really needs to move into the digital era, but, works on a limited budget.
When I came across your blog it was arresting. Your photos… composition, humanity, beauty, perspective, such a quality that is so difficult to put into words. There’s just something special abut your work that engages one for far longer than a quick peek. Your reviews…read like seeing with a translucent film removed from ones eyes for the first time. The detail, clarity and sheer intelligence is so refreshing. Thanks so much. I can only imagine the time and energy you put into your site and its content.
I did purchase your brilliant Compendium iPad app. It’s the least I could do. Best wishes for your continued health and contribution to Photography.
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!
Eugene Palomado (Email School) – I find Ming’s Email School a great way of learning and improving your photography skills. What I love the most about it is that you get to do it on your own time. I guess the disadvantage is that feedback is not instant because everything is done through email but Ming’s response time is awesome! I have no complaint whatsoever in our communication all through out the course of the program and he is very professional. He answers all questions and he even sends you a note if he is going to be delayed in providing feedback. I struggled a bit with email communication at first but it’s something you have to be patient with and understand that there’s no facial queues. Everything is in words so if there’s something that is unclear regardless of what it is, simply clarify or ask. I think the keys to making it successful are to be honest and to communicate well. I highly recommend this program. You’re awesome Ming!
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.
Roger Wojahn (Oct 2013 Prague Workshop): When the discussion started up earlier this year about a workshop in Europe, I knew this would include me. It represented just the sort of life disruptor that could bounce me out of my well-worn path and into a new season of growth, exploration and creativity. I knew there would be a diverse group and I was fearful that I would become so consumed with my own negative internal dialogue that it would effect my ability to just let go and truly learn. In one way, I was grateful for those fears because they got me into practicing on a daily basis so I could at least bring my best self to the table.
But those fears were much ado about nothing. The workshop, the learning, the process and the experience of each of you transformed what could have been a series of technical lectures over several days into something that was valuable beyond measure. I was able to show up as I am, not trying to be any better or worse, and just surrender to the process of being with all of you under Ming’s tutelage. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate every one of you and your ability to live out of your own uniqueness. What an incredible group and experience.
Ming started out the initial session talking about how he was going to help us see differently and teach us about awareness. “Start by finding interesting light”, he said. I was so excited in those first few moments when Ming, marching out in front of us, began showing us the extensive reflections in the cars and on the buildings. This was something that I’d somehow missed in my life and I was truly amazed. But, the more I think about it, the more I understand that there is a reflection of life and of us too, in every shot we make. Photography is multi-dimensional.
Life is a co-creation between each of us and the unfolding moment. As we engage that present moment, consciously see it, accept it, and engage it in creative participation, we are learning something about ourselves too. The same holds true for our personal interactions and relationships with each other. We see in one another, some aspect of ourselves. And if these reflections we see are a mirror of us too, then we are all becoming more aware of our oneness and being elevated to our highest and best selves.
The practice of photography is not so different than the practice of yoga. Each practice uses consciousness of the present moment to bring us to a relationship with life and with ourselves. As our awareness increases, so does our consciousness. If our focus is on the camera and simply a scene in front of us, perhaps our awareness is mostly limited and we live out of our unconscious. But if we zoom out a few clicks, and actually start to become conscious observers of ourselves as we are choosing, shaping and making our photos, then we are increasing our consciousness and making what is unconscious, conscious. Being not only the photographer but also the observer of ourselves in the very act of our creative process, seems to be very much in keeping with the “context” that Ming keeps explaining to us. We start out isolating subjects within a narrow field of view because are beginners and it make the learning easier. But I suppose as we develop our ability to see, we go ever wider and there is an ever greater context for our world view and ourselves in it. This may be more difficult but must ultimately makes life richer. And so it seems to be less about the photos and more about the practice itself!
I’ve been trying to absorb the whole experience but it’s going to take awhile. After those last several nights in Prague with little sleep, I slept like a rock here in Nerja, Spain last night. All night I dreamt of framing things I’d never seen before. But there wasn’t really much a “me” there at all. I was just floating and seeing things and most of the principles we learned were just there and obvious and it was as if I had the unlimited ability to simply play with light, seeing reflections in reflections and balance wherever I looked. It was as though my view-finder could look through portals into other worlds. Everything just made sense, was known and was accessible to me at any time. That dream makes me trust that some seeds have been planted deeply within me. My intention is to water them so they can become real and I can become lucid in my waking dream!
I can’t wait to see you all in Havana. I guess in the meantime, we’ll see you on FB and / or on Flickr as part of Ming’s reader’s portfolio. Thank you for the incredible experience! I hope this finds you safely home, happy and in the flow of life. May your practice be everything you hope it to be.
Eric Hoppe (Oct 2013 Prague Workshop): I strain to add anything substantive to that which has already been said [by Roger, above] about our brief but impact-laden Prague trip. Nonetheless, the trip had everything a photographer needs, light (Ming), subject (we, the participants), composition (the creation of the individual and group experiences) which led to the story, the memory we created and have taken with home with us. I must say however, I do feel a bit over-exposed from Saturday night’s nocturnal activities … nothing that a bit of post-processing can’t fix! I can not recall an experience with a group of people whom I’ve never met which has had such an immediate, positive and profound influence upon me. Back in the real world today, as I took a break from the world’s casino which is the stock market, I enjoyed yet another wonderful autumn day but immediately sensed something was missing, my camera! Not only was I missing my camera but the same street I’ve walked down countless times the past 15 years struck me differently today; I saw things for the first time, things which I’ve never noticed before but were most certainly always there. So Ming, job well done. One of the most difficult tasks in life is to influence how one perceives his surroundings but in a matter of just a few days, you accomplished just that. Now, to bring that on to a photographic moment … And once again, a big thanks to everyone for sharing your photographic experiences with me and simply enhancing and enriching the entire experience!!
Erling Martmann-Moe (Oct 2013 Prague Workshop, in reply to Eric and Roger above): I am unable to add anything meaningful to these poetic summaries of a great experience, both as a learning event (thank you both Ming and each and everyone in the group), and a social event. Hope to se you all soon again!
Ian Carroll (Oct 2013 Prague Workshop) – …really appreciated your approach to wrangling a group of grown men in a foreign city and force feeding us education! Very impressive (not that I am surprised…as in everything you show to the world, you are a well-oiled machine – and I don’t mean that to infer “soulless” – such precision requires an appreciation of the whole in all of its potential chaos to extract the core essence). It was a fantastic experience, and I am thankful for the catalytic nidus it will hopefully provide.
Great place, great group, great teacher, great weather. Cannot wait for Cuba – my bank manager can go to hell (along with my bank manager!). First day out post workshop, and without the conscious intrusion of shooting for assignment, it already feels as though my photography has kicked up a gear. Cannot wait to go through the images at home (although that means I won’t be in Prague anymore…what a dilemma! :S). Thanks Ming and all for a fantastic experience, I look forward to seeing your cameras’-eyes’-views in the Flickr pool!
Update: Well, its nearly 3 weeks since we got back from Prague. I have 64 images in my Flickr Prague set, and another 25 ready to upload. I have had 5 of these explored, including a run of 4 days in a row, 1 commented on favorably, and favourited by, Ming Thein, 3 selected by Getty and one approach to use 1 commercially. All, in all, so far, so good, I would say! I still have…errr…another 375 earmarked for working up and possible use! Oh, and that doesn’t even include the dozens of detail/texture shots! If I were to value the trip based on image hours per £ alone, I would have to say it was excellent value!!! To be fair, it was excellent value any way I might evaluate it! Can’t wait to go again! Thanks again to all the gang for the first 3 days, bring on Havana (I don’t even want to think about what that is going to do to my mouse hand and eyesight)!
Jeffrey Egee (Oct 2013 Prague Workshop) – I wanted to reply earlier, but came back to an extremely busy week at work. It was not easy to ease back into my corporate life after last week’s experience – but I think that is a good thing. I just wanted to say thanks to all of you, and especially to Ming. Ming – you were a great teacher and I took away a lot of tools that are helping me to think differently about my photography. I’ve been looking at some of my older photos, and besides now liking them less, I actually understand now what I need to do to make them better. To everyone else, I have never had such an interesting and dynamic experience with such a diverse group of individuals. The entire experience was really the most interesting thing I’ve ever done on my own. It gave me new perspective, not only on photography, and I can only thank everyone here for being a part of it. I really hope we can do something like this next year again.
Valerij Tomarenko (Oct 2013 Prague Workshop): I had a very busy week after coming back from Prague, so it took me a while to join the others and say a HUGE THANKS to Ming and everyone in Ming’s Prague “classroom”. For me, it was a terrific experience and I am so happy that I made up my mind to take part in the workshop. I have read quite a few books on photography (probably as everyone else) and lurked a lot on various forums and websites, but for me, nothing compares to this hands-on experience in learning (and enjoying) things about photography and beyond. Ming is such a talented, sharp-minded and – what I am especially thankful about – articulate and methodical person (and artist, of course). I for one, learned such a lot about seeing things, framing/visualizing shots, composing and de-composing (light, subject, inclusion/exclusion)… Let alone acquiring more confidence and getting more insights/inspiration from Ming and everyone in our group.
Matthias Gaiser (Oct 2013 Prague Workshop): I can only thank you in return for making this the most intense and at the same time in all probability most inspiring learning experience I’ve ever had. Indeed, if the weather wasn’t overcast, I’d be out shooting already; as it is, it’ll have to wait. And I’ll delve into post-processing very soon in order to make some headway there as well. It *is* worth it. And of course, I have to concur with everything you said about the group – I’d never expected such a diverse bunch of personalities to turn out to be such a worthwhile company. Apart from lots of enjoyable moments, I was able to revise some narrow-minded thinking on my part, making this whole trip personally enriching to an extend I’d never have expected. Furthermore, I’m really happy to report that if the scheduled time frame for Cuba really holds, I should be able to make it. Of course, I’ll have to consider other factors as well, but time-wise, it’d be ideal. Great! Thank you, Ming, and thanks everybody for everything.
Diego Defilippi (Oct 2013 Prague Workshop): I’m really honoured to have met you and all the other cool guys. Can’t wait for the masterclass together with all you. Thanks Ming for being so special in your way of teaching Thank you guys for the pleasant time!
Felix Leyer (Sep 2013 Amsterdam Workshoo): After our course in Amsterdam I have gone to Oman for a fortnight’s holiday. I had planned to write back to you once I was back home. In the meantime I have sent some of my Omani photographs to my 24 year old daughter in Switzerland. This is what she wrote back: “Your pictures are great, you must make an exhibition. Ming’s course is worth every penny!” I just wanted to let you know this :) ! Putting it in a nutshell: I got much more back than what I had paid for. My expectations were high, yet you managed to exceed them. Not only did I learn a lot, but I was also given an enormous amount of food to think about and to work on for the years to come. The course has also given me strenght on my photographic work and to deal with its results. My daughter spontaneously said last night: “Your style has changed completely, your pictures are far more interesting and versatile. And they have a message”.
Arthur van Reijn (Sep 2013 Amsterdam Workshop): Thanks for giving us the opportunity to directly pick your brain. I really liked the build up of the course in clear topics, though the weather mixed up the order for us in Amsterdam. All the topics were building up to this final application of lessons learned. The in-depth talk you gave about the topics and the challenging exercises really have build my confident as a photographer. I really like your honest, direct and to the point feedback on the results of exercises. Though I didn’t plan it I did decided to join in on the Photoshop workflow day, I didn’t regret it one bit! It was eye opening to see that editing doesn’t have to be that time consuming (My mileage may vary in the time bit ;) ). I really enjoyed the editing process for styles. Your workshop has taught me a complete workflow from idea to final image ready for print. I thank you for that!
Heiner Pflug (Sep 2013 Amsterdam Workshop): I had wonderful days with you and the rest of the group. You were a great teacher and I am shure that my forthcoming photographs will be becoming better and better. Thank you for assisting and helping. I will be returning back to your special offer on Email School.
Mark Jackson (Sep 2013 Amsterdam Workshop): Thanks so much for a really instructive and enjoyable four days. My brain is still at total overload from all the ideas and tips you provided and it is going to take some time to process these and include them in my workflow. At the moment I am concentrating on framing so I don’t crop later, avoiding empty spaces, light and subject isolation. I can see an improvement already and when I can get my head around layering in all the other things there is no doubt that the course will have greatly exceeded my expectations (sorry, couldn’t resist chucking in some corporate mumbo jumbo). At a personal level I very much enjoyed your company as well as that of the other students, it was an eclectic bunch and I think the dynamic worked well (there I go again, soooo ingrained). In addition to being a great photographer you are also a great teacher and I suspect there aren’t that many other people in the market where the same is true. Your blunt assessments, whilst being mildly disappointing at the time, were appreciated later and are actually the only way to learn and move forward.
Maarten van Leeuwen (Sep 2013 Amsterdam Workshop): Thanks for the positive round-up mail, and even more so for your inspiring, open, and very informative tutoring. You can already sign me up as an workshop E-student in the near future, hopefully beginning somewhere in the first half of next year.
Angsar Trimborn (Sep 2013 Amsterdam Workshop): I just started my tablet wanting to write you a big thank you for four very inspirational days. You definitely kept us on our toes … and it wasn’t the only challenged body part :-) Looking forward to go through the ~100 pictures that passed my initial selection process and develop them in 3 different styles. Just kidding … (still might try that with a few) Thanks again for the well structured and executed workshop and for lots of new ideas.
Yusuf Haffejee (Sep 2013 Amsterdam Workshop): Ming, thank you, you were a great tutor. It was fun and I certainly learned a lot and I admired your skill and also your patience with us.
Rudy Mareel (Sep 2013 Amsterdam Workshop): Hi Ming – I truly enjoyed the two days we spent together in Amsterdam and I’m looking forward to staying in touch.
Daryll Ng (Jul 2013 Singapore Workshop): I thoroughly enjoyed it and found everything you taught invaluable. Photography is very much a relaxing pastime for me but I was frustrated with not having any real idea of what I was doing. I have followed your site for quite some time and like your work, so the chance to attend your workshop wasn’t one I wanted to miss. Your teaching style is extremely clear, methodical, easy to grasp and makes sense. Using each part of what you taught brings very clear results. For example, when you asked us to just use lighting or colour or texture to isolate the subject, doing so made an obvious difference to how the photo looked. I think what I found the most valuable was that your teaching style was very much in line with how I absorb information. I also appreciated the fact that, despite the rather large group size, I did not feel neglected! I’d also mention that what you taught also demonstrated that I didn’t need to go out and buy another camera…Thank you very much again for the workshop and for an enjoyable weekend.
Andy Cruse (Jul 2013 Singapore Workshop): In the nineties I had a couple of film cameras and a heap of lenses, developed and printed black and white, and even won a few local camera club events. I read all the photo mags and had quite a collection of books. However, my interest waned as I got a new job and worked harder and longer, and so my gear deteriorated due to the humidity and lack of use until eventually it either got thrown out or donated to the local college (the darkroom stuff). Digital was on the way in but the prices were high and the output relatively poor so I pursued other interests. As the resolution/price equation improved I picked up an LX3 for a trip to China in 2009 and then late last year, with a trip to Japan on the horizon, an Olympus OM-D and a few prime lenses. While I was checking out the reviews I came across Ming’s web site and was taken with the quality of the images and his articulate and lucid analysis of all things photographic – not just cameras. I was hooked – I got the “Intro to Ming Thien’s Photoshop Workflow” DVD and then downloaded the Compendium, the Intermediate course and a few of the shorter tutorials. I purchased Photoshop, a Wacom tablet and started processing my images. In June I started a Flickr account and uploaded about 100 images. In the lead up to the workshop I decided to test the water and submitted 7 of those images over a couple of days to the mingthein.com reader group. Two were accepted – Ming, you are too kind. I looked again at the 5 that were rejected and figured out why. I looked at my Flickr Photostream again, re-read a few of Ming’s articles and then culled about 30 or so images. I could see that most of them were not very good, whatever my emotional attachment to them. Sorry for the preamble, but we are about to cut to the chase. I thought I knew something – I had all the tools I needed and my camera was sent to A, not P, so I must know what I am doing, right? Wrong! My wife sent me message on Saturday night – What did you learn? I replied – That I knew nothing about photography. I must admit I had read many articles where leading photographers all said the same thing – it is all about the light. To my mind that had always meant waiting for kind light – in the tropics that means early morning or late afternoon, but that is not it. I put the OM-D into Manual mode with spot metering on Saturday morning with Ming explaining why and how, and everything changed. I have a LOT of work to do on the composition aspects of the workshop, and I felt quite devastated by Sunday night that I was not getting the results I was wanting. I compounded it by going out again on Monday with only a new LX7 that I had barely shot with previously – that camera is seriously hard to use in Manual mode! After 20 or so frames over a few hours I returned to the hotel room to get out of the heat and prepare for my trip home. With a couple of hours to kill I reluctantly got the Mac and tablet out and started going through my output of the weekend. Yes, compositionally and interest wise they were pretty woeful, but I was amazed by the shots that we took from the rooftop on Sunday afternoon – in the brightest and most intense sunlight that I always avoided there were real details and tonal range in my shots that I had never realised you could get in those conditions. Then I clicked on a link from Bellamy’s Japanese Camera Hunter site to some street photographer, and the images that had previously seemed completely random ALL complied with the things that Ming ran through with us – the use of light and framing/composition were all deliberate. For the first time I could really understand why they worked. And of course why most of mine didn’t. Things were falling into place. I had put the cart before the horse – you can’t polish a turd as they say, so no matter what the post processing skills and the resolution of the camera/lenses, unless the fundamentals are right those things are are irrelevant. So a new beginning – a line in the sand. My Flickr Photostream is now down below 50 and should probably be closer to 5. All GAS interest has been put on indefinite hold. The dial on the OM-D is set to M until it dies. And I will work on the composition aspects until they are second nature. So thanks for the workshop Ming. You can read all the texts you like but the practical implementation of the fundamentals is the best way to learn.
Justin Tan (Jul 2013 Singapore Workshop): Thanks very much Ming, really enjoyed it. Since moving here to Singapore, this is the 3rd workshop I’ve been on and perhaps the most unique one. I actually walked away feeling like I learnt something concrete, something I could write down (and thanks to Philips for sharing his notes as well!). I know photography is not supposed to be completely rigid or structured, but I always felt I was lacking a logical framework to use as a foundation, and I got that from your workshop. Look forward to your next workshop in the region.
SL Yoong (Jul 2013 Singapore Workshop): Thanks very much for holding the workshop. I enjoyed it very much, though it was really hard work! Currently suffering a strange side effect of looking for lines/ light/ shadows/ quadrants/ frames everywhere… Can’t seem to switch my eyes off! Thanks for helping me “see” things differently.
Andy Sim (Jul 2013 Singapore Workshop): Thanks! I’ve learned much.
Mark Ortega (Jul 2013 Singapore Workshop): It was certainly a lot to internalise in 2 days but it has definitely sunk in! Most of it anyway. Many thanks for offering the Singapore workshop and I am likely to take the next step by signing up for your e-mail school of photography or portfolio review once I am able to put theory into practice and make it second nature.
Christine Cheng (Jul 2013 Singapore Workshop): Thank you for your generous sharing over the weekend. I shall endeavour to incorporate your nuggets of wisdom into my future shots.
Syed Shibli (Jul 2013 Singapore Workshop): Thanks for the great course, I really learned a lot!
BC Chua (Jul 2013 Singapore Workshop): Hi Ming, I just wanted to say thanks! I shot more and better pics this past 2 days than I have shot all year round. I have been taking the same picture looking out my apartment window for years. After the course, things look different. Now everytime the light changes, I see something new.
Chris Suan (Apr 2013 NYC Workshop): I have recently been reflecting on the workshop and my picture taking. I seem naturally to be gravitating toward the principles of your class. Because I never had any real instruction prior to your class, your principles filled the vacuum nicely so that I naturally reach for the structure of your instruction. In other words, in the absence of other competing instruction, my mind seems naturally to gravitate toward what you taught. Thanks!
Peppo Aragon (Apr 2013 NYC Workshop): Fantastic workshop. Tks Ming. Hopefully you can come to Panama some day.
Peter Boender (Apr 2013 NYC Workshop): The workshop is highly instructional and valuable. The learning curve is steep, but (and someone already mentioned this) if you have an open mind and approach you will learn a tremendous lot. I really liked the deconstructive approach: it’s a bit like starting all over again and built from there with basic elements from an artistic and compositional standpoint (you should know your technical stuff and camera specifics). Finding good light and using (natural) compositional elements (leading lines, framing, mirroring for a second story) really forces you to look with your eyes again, and not so much with the camera. After the course I did notice a change in my photography and my approach to shooting: I now look much more consciously and with more predetermination about my desired results. Quite a feat for such a relatively short course, which for me made it invaluable! Great job Ming, I really did enjoy my time in NYC with you and the other participants. Seriously and highly recommended!
Andrew Marrero (Apr 2013 NYC Workshop): I had a great time getting to learn from you was well as getting to meet both you and your wife. I’d love to be able to join you again in the future with camera in hand. I had a blast, would love to get with you again soon Ming!
Jim Lozier (Apr 2013 NYC Workshop): Thank you again for an excellent workshop. In looking over the images I took over the course of the two days I can definitely see a progression which is pretty amazing for such a short period of time. I hope that you enjoyed your time in the states and have a smooth trip back home.
Dr. Paul Lewis (Apr 2013 NYC Workshop): Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge of photography with our group of nice people. I enjoyed meeting everyone and the amount of instruction that was presented during the three days. I would need at least two or three more workshops to get all the information that was given…Your workshop exposed me to a lot of things that I knew nothing about before attending…If I live long enough, I would certainly attend your workshop again. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with us. I had a good time.
Chris Suan (Apr 2013 NYC Workshop) : Thanks for a great workshop. I really feel much better about knowing how to take some great pictures.
Jed Best (Apr 2013 NYC Workshop): I just wanted to thank you for a very interesting and informative three days. While I may not have showed it, it was great and I learned a lot. Hopefully, if ever I am in Asia or you are NYC again, I can take another workshop with you. In the meantime, I look forward to reading your blog and site assiduously.
Jill Maguire (Apr 2013 San Francisco Workshop): Ming, I had a great time at your workshop and learned so much. Safe travels home for you both.
Jesse Hall (Apr 2013 San Francisco Workshop): Thank you, Ming! I did learn a lot — although I’d read what you’ve written about these topics, spending real time practicing specific things and getting feedback helps much more than reading. Plus, it was a lot of fun!
Gian Dionisio (Mar 2013 San Francisco workshop and Apr 2013 NYC workshop): I can confidently say that attending this workshop has been the best investment I’ve made for my photography; the knowledge and techniques that he taught us apply not only to street photography, but all photography in general. From the fundamentals of finding good light and basic compositional balance, to more advanced concepts such a layering and storytelling, all of these ideas can be applied to any style of photography. Ming’s teachings have completely restructured the way I see the world photographically, and I would definitely attend his workshops again in the future. PS: One of the most important point of this workshop is being near the master himself. Watching him in action as listening to his commentary as he shoots is in itself incredibly insightful. Additionally, having instant and personalised feedback during the shooting process is…. I’ll let you assess the value of that. :)
Ciao Pui (Mar 2013 San Francisco Workshop and Apr 2013 NYC Workshop): Sitting next to Ming in San Francisco while he was processing these photos, I can attest that his “judicious application” [of Photoshop] is faster than using any presets, not to mention consistency. His workshops will demystify and challenge your views on photography… if you’re open.
Richard Sandor (Mar 2013 San Francisco Workshop): A short note of thanks for having provided such an informative workshop. I’ve been to a number of workshops, but none have had the structure that yours did.
Leslie Gleim (Mar 2013 San Francisco Workshop): First let me say thank you very much for truly pushing my work and thinking around how to use the language of photography! I did want you to know that you made Photoshop more understandable than any person whose tried to explain/teach it me. It seemed FAR more intuitive — today was mainly me figuring it out and playing!! Thank you so much for your insight and help! Safe travels and thank you for making the journey over! Your workshop was invaluable and I learned to look through “new” eyes. Awesome!
Azhari (Nov 2012 Melaka Workshop): Truly a work of a master! Love them all. Glad i attended this workshop and had the opportunity to see how the master did it. Thank you very much Ming.
Doyle Shafer (Oct 2012 Tokyo Workshop): It was a challenging and interesting workshop. I would have never forced myself to see Tokyo in different ways. To be honest I was happy with my photography for the most part and had little interest in branching out. But as I mentioned earlier, after the workshop it’s like seeing The Matrix for what it really is: some basic “code” and infinite possibility. Now when I walk through Ginza it’s going to take me much longer than before the workshop. It’s funny because I used to think that place was kind of dry and boring! It’s all still sinking in, but my photography has already tightened up quite a bit. And I won’t even get into post processing…that rocked my world like when we did layering in Ginza @. @
Erwin Kindangen (Oct 2012 Tokyo Workshop): I had a great time there and my photography definitely improved after the workshop. It taught me how to “see” scenes and what scene would actually make a good photo and not just randomly shooting at people. Plus the basic wizardry of Photoshop at the end of the workshop definitely ties it all up. In the meantime, I’ll keep perfecting what I’ve learnt before I jump to the next workshop (I hope there will be a follow up).
Andrew Yaw (Sep 2012 Finding Light workshop, Kuala Lumpur): It was an awesome day out. Second round of beating from the master after the ‘Making light workshop’ . This workshop changed my perspectives on street photography. Looking at not only the life around you but also the architecture, reflections, natural frames and much more. I have never walked around KL that much before. I plan to do it again alone this weekend. Who says you need to travel far to take pictures? The challenges were all interesting and some tough to train us into seeing things in ways never before. It really sort of reminded me of the “Wax on, Wax off” training technique in ‘Karate kid’. Lol. Really, for me it was. Especially the part where we had to shoot with our 2 second timer on and stage the subjects on a particular part of the frame. Epic fail at 1st. After a while though you slowly learn how to anticipate the subject’s movement and then.. ‘click’. Success! and then again and again. It was a full on day with tons of learning and perceiving. Ended the day at 8 PM after a slight debriefing and chattering in a cafe. Thanks Ming for a great day out. Can’t wait for the next one. Have a great time in Japan.
Andrew Yaw, (Sep 2012 Making Light workshop, Kuala Lumpur): Excellent workshop! Great teachings from honing the basics of photography to managing light in a controlled environment followed by hands on guidance while shooting the model for the day. The day ended with a bonus. The shared knowledge of the art of printing which is a totally different ball game. Went home feeling overwhelmed with awesome knowledge and information. Thank you Ming for sharing so much of your knowledge to all of us! Can’t wait for the next workshop!
Ciao Pui (Sep 2012 Making Light workshop, Kuala Lumpur): What a great day! Between the inspiring morning session studying Ming’s jaw-dropping photos and an amazing afternoon shoot with the gorgeous (and funny) Aliza, what Ming didn’t mention was the mouth-watering Malaysian Beef noodles lunch he took us to across the street at the road-side stall! I’ve been reading this blog for months, but I didn’t realized how much more I could learn in person until I took his recent workshops. For example, I’d have missed out on the important training where he raised both arms (see pic #13) waving them vigorously while shouting “Light on, light off” to perfect my shooting methods. Ok, just kidding about the above. On a serious note, the man is a machine! He got in way before everyone else (I know because I arrived an hour early). Then he spent the whole day teaching, instructing, demoing, shooting, working with model, showing his equipment, while tirelessly and patiently answering every questions the workshop participants had, not to mention the 2-hour impromptu print demo/admiration session after the workshop. Great value, great company, great images. I would take his workshops again. Highly recommended.