The magic million

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Cheers. Leica M8, Zeiss ZM 2.8/21 Biogon

You read that right: one million hits since inception in late February 2012. Things didn’t really kick off til mid-March, so let’s call it about six months. It’s been one heck of a ride since then – crazy at times with all the email, but rewarding with all of the new friends I’ve made, new things I’ve been able to learn from all of you and the feeling of being able to contribute something back to the photographic community. I honestly didn’t think the site would take on quite as much of a life of its own ever, much less in half a year. (Now if only I had a dollar for every hit, heh) To date, there are 350+ posts and over half a million words of content – some monster articles like the Camerapedia! and 10×10 tips take up 30,000 and 10,000 on their own respectively. I’m proud to say that this wealth of information is something that few sites can claim, much less that it was all generated by one individual in their spare time.

When I started the site, my aim wasn’t to be the most popular, or have the most reviews, or the most images, or provide a user community for a particular camera…rather, it was to do two things: firstly, share my experience of the transition from full time corporate to full time photographer; secondly, create something that I would want to read – something that had a bit of everything. It would be the thinking man’s photography daily – there are plenty of sites catering to other needs, but few to this niche. It would need to talk about more than just the gear (though the gear is of course an important enabler) – it would have to go deeper into understand technique, subject, and beyond; into understanding philosophy and the psychology of the viewer to enable to photographer to reverse-engineer the desired emotional response to an image. There some topics I still haven’t even touched – lighting is one of them – and some that I’d like to explore in more detail – psychological responses, and why we consider art to be art, for instance – and these are things I’ll cover in future articles.

I don’t honestly know where the site will go in the the future, but I do hope you will all continue to be a part of it – and if you have suggestions for things you’d like to see me discuss or cover, or ways you think the site can be improved, please  share them. I can’t promise to be all things to all people, but I do promise to try to continually improve.

So, I would like to say a individual and enormous thank you to all of my readers, fans, subscribers, clients, partners, supporters, email school students, workflow DVD purchasers, competition entrants, rebloggers, groupies…without you all, none of this would have been possible, nor would it continue to be. You have my gratitude. Thank you again! MT

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Celebratory self portrait, Fuji X100


  1. Ming – big congrats though I realize this might be quite late and the hits could have easily be a few x of a million by now. I’m an amateur from HK but have a lot of passion for photography. I still work in the corporate world in the M&A business but luckily the job pays well to sustain this hobby (and the gears too, well advanced compared to my skill level if you have a minute to check out LOL). I have to said that since I found your blog I just couldn’t stop reading it. In fact I printed out every single article under philosophy for reading this weekend and my arms are curling over a pile of printouts to type to you right now. Thanks again for a huge contribution to the photography community, and I’m sure I’ll continue to learn more from your blog. Cheers!

  2. Amazing! I found this blog very recently, but I was under the impression that it has been around for years but I just somehow managed to miss it: looks very mature and polished! Keep doing the good job, and I’ll keep coming back for sure. Congratulations!!!

    BTW, was there any particular point in time when number of visitors suddenly soared, and can you attribute that to something particular? I remember following the link to here from some other photo blog or photo news, and bookmarked it immediately. Perhaps other visitors did the same about the same time?

    • Nope, you just found it recently because we’ve only been around since March or thereabouts.

      The reviews are always good for traffic. Especially when they’re first off the block. 😉

  3. Congratulations Ming, always nice to have confirmation that you are doing something right! Very impressive how quickly you have built up a dynamic, interactive community. The rate at which you generate new, high quality content is astounding. I also really appreciate how responsive you are, to comments/emails, etc…that human touch makes all the difference to me. When I first found your blog, I had just started in this world of photography, and was finding too many self-opinionated, testosterone fuelled, gear-centric, hype-driven sites…it was depressing. Thanks for being different!

    • Thanks Ian, I try! But excuse me if the replies get slower, the volume of email is getting insane…

      • Heh…a victim of your own success 😛 To be fair, I think you could drop down several notches on “responsiveness” and still maintain a far higher personal presence than I have experienced on most sites…photography or otherwise.

  4. Remember what i said early on. “The cream rises to the top”. You have certainly proven that, 1 million times over.

    Grats, i’m proud to have been here from Day 1.

  5. Congratulations!
    So much content in a few period of time. I tought the blog was older but now I see that I started to access since (almost) the begining when I was searching impressions about the D800.

    • Yes, that was pretty much the start of it all – there were some articles before that – I think I’ll need to repost some of the more interesting ones that never had much of an audience.

  6. A big, big congratulations Ming and a high-five for a job well done! Your blog is one of my daily reads and keeps the photography-side of my brain well fed with a constant dose of information and ideas. Now on to the 5 million mark 🙂

    • Thanks Tim! Do me a favor and help me get there by sharing the site 🙂

      • John Joyce says:

        “Now if only I had a dollar for every hit, heh)?”

        At the risk of telling you how to suck eggs, your problem is that you cannot get much leverage out of what you are doing.

        To get leverage you need products, and not just a DVD with a limited appeal. I can imagine that publishing the magazine left a sour taste, but you understand the industry. You could self-publish strongly themed books (at a non-trivial price point), using shots you probably already have, telling your readers things they do not know, as you do here, but not limited to photography.

        For instance, this is supposed to be the Asian century. But few westerners know how people in Asia think. To take one example, ideas about religion are typically different: the concept of an established religion, such as in Europe, is a very puzzling and alien concept for most people in Asia. I am sure you get the drift.

        • Oh, I know that – I could spend a lot of time writing and publishing, but that’s very much a pre-Internet business model. It’s also capital intensive. I’ve got something in the works that will offer something different and address the monetization and distribution issue.

          Not sure I agree on established religion and Asia; it’s definitely more fragmented than Europe, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a huge number of very old religions.

  7. “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams!”

    Congrats Ming! I’m glad I found your blog in the first year because I’ll be able to share the journey from the start. Looking forward to seeing where this all takes you!

  8. Congratulations! Next step million a month.

    You have a great site so I’m very glad that so many people are enjoying it.


    • Thanks Guy! I don’t know if we’ll ever get to a million a month – I think my audience is a bit narrow and self-selecting in that sense; I have a core of very loyal and very serious photography enthusiasts; I think the content may be a bit heavy for your casual amateur – but we’ll see! 🙂

  9. Christof Rostert says:

    Congratulations, Ming!
    I believe I only discovered your blog about three months ago when I was supposed to write a short piece on the latest round of Leica novelties for my employer’s blog. At first I thought: well, another Leica snob. But then I kept coming back to your site and discovered more about your outstanding talent … PLUS your ability to share knowledge in a very admirable way.
    I’m sure I will keep following what you do, and I’ll try to limit my stupid questions to a decent amount … since I don’t want to steal away even more of your valuable time. But as others have already said: Please keep up the GOOD work! And thank you very much for all your efforts!

    • Thanks Christof! Nope, I’m definitely not a Leica snob…I’m a working pro who’s brand agnostic. Equipment is a tool. If it works, I’ll use it; if not, I won’t. Brand doesn’t matter (which is probably bad for my wallet). By the way, who’s the employer that makes you write about cameras? Can’t be all bad 🙂

  10. Congrats and thanks for the awesome DVD workflow… only thing i need is to find time to shoot :-p

  11. Yes, congratulations! I’ve been enjoying reading your blog every night, last thing I do. You are giving back and that, IMO, is really a sign of a Professional. Please keep up the great work.
    BTW, self-portrait is very revealing, but I thought you had more hair.
    Also, more pictures of your lovely wife are always enjoyed!

    • Thanks Bob! I may have to switch to posting every two days instead of every day at some point – it’s getting insanely busy here, and it seems my posts are getting longer and longer – but don’t worry, plenty more to come 🙂

  12. Congratulations Ming! Your posts have renewed my interest in photography. Thanks

  13. Congrats, Ming! I’m surprised that you only started this site in February of THIS year! I thought you had this site for years – and it’s only been six months?! Well, like everyone else, I’m glad you made the decision to share your wealth of knowledge 🙂 By the way, your DVD is awesome and I can’t wait for the next one!

    • Thanks Mark – well, I think things seriously took off mid-March. But yes, it was this year. I’ve been writing much longer though (was editor and contributing editor to a photo mag here from 2005-10, missed writing and started again). Glad you enjoyed the DVD!

  14. József Oldal says:

    Working for more than 35 years in IT, I was proud to produce IT products and content, not to consume them. And now, your blog managed to be the first thing on my screen every day, to look what is new ( and still reread what’s “old” ). Congratulation and thanx.

    • Thanks Jozsef! I too am a consumer…but I feel that sometimes what I consume is lacking in certain areas, so I have to make up for it by doing some production. 🙂

  15. Congratulations Ming. Looking forward to a topic about light. What about a workshop in Copenhagen?

    • Thanks Anders. The lighting series is in the works. As for Copenhagen – in all seriousness, if you can find five people to join, it’s on! 🙂

  16. Having visited many photography related websites since I re-started photographing 7 years ago, your site offers up you – your talent, skills, insights, successes and failures. Your comments and observations preempt my thoughts and considerations and clarify and give words to my vision. You are articulate in words and pictures – thank you.

  17. Andrew McMaster, Scotland says:

    Thanks for this. I lack 10,000 or indeed 30,000 words to comment fully, but having followed the site since May it feels like your latest post captures the ‘feel’, the underlying essence, of the site, very clearly. That is indeed what I value highly in it. Congratulations, and thanks for giving us ‘hangers on’ the benefit of your considerable efforts in a very relevant and high quality site/blog. After some fifty-five years of photographic endeavour, my somewhat stuttering efforts are enlived and motivated by your work!

    • Haha, no worries – thanks for your support, Andrew. Please visit the archives if you get a chance, there’s plenty of good stuff in there too! Heartening to hear that I’m somewhat inspiring even to experienced hands!

  18. You have an incredible and informative site..Ive learnt a lot .. and you are an amazing photographer.I would like to see in future if possible studio/outdoor lighting setup maybe with diagrams etc for portrait and other types photography using stropes/portable flash units/umbrellas and other lighting diffusers…Regards Winston (Trinidad & Tobago West Indies)

  19. If there is one thing I have learned in the short time I have been around it’s that passion is a major driving force in any endeavor. I’ve recently come into this realization on my own (thus finding myself in a foggy area in life). It’s easy to be good at something, it’s difficult to have a driving passion for it. I mean a real blood, sweat and tears. I can tell that you breathe photography day in and day out with great satisfaction. This is why I follow you, and I don’t need a post like this to know that you are the culmination of all of this. I can tell, because what you are doing here is passion, and you love it. Thank you for being great at what you do and not being afraid to share your knowledge. I honestly look forward to many more DVD’s and workshops. Just make sure to come over to the U.S. whenever possible and reserve a slot for me! 🙂

    • Thanks Andrew – perhaps ‘obsession’ would be how others describe me. I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out how to make it into a career though, and that answer is only crystalizing about now – a good eight years after I’d even thought about it…

      As for workshops, I’ll be running a poll shortly to figure out where I should go next year. Looks like San Francisco is definitely on the list, though.

  20. Mike Smith says:

    I just started reading your blog last week, and it’s great. I follow lots of photo sites, but since discovering yours I make it my first read each morning. I especially liked your 10×10 tips, got a lot of useful info from them. (I’m an old guy, have been shooting for more than 40 years, for better and worse.) And your photos are pretty good, too. Thanks for making this available to the rest of us.

    • Thanks Mike – if you get a chance, do have a look at the archives. There are some of my favorite posts in there – both from a content point of view, and simply because I enjoyed writing them. Only ‘pretty good’? 😉

  21. Keep up the good work Ming. I know it is very challenging to keep up with articles for the readers. Congrats for reaching the one million mark.

  22. Truly well done, Ming: your honesty, directness and wonderful eye for a picture are without equal.

    • Thank you, Carl! I’ve discovered far greater editorial freedom than I ever had when I was at the helm of a magazine…no advertisers to keep happy, so I can be 100% objective.

  23. Congrats, you earned it. Great site, you are a great photographer and have taught me a lot. My first place to go each day to see. What you have posted. George

  24. Congratulations. I can’t imagine the time and effort that goes into constantly updating the site, but it is of tremendous value.


  25. Congratulations! You are doing a great service to the worldwide photo community. Thank you!


  1. […] go to Ming Thein for his first million page views. Definitely worth a look; that young man keeps astonishing me with his work… and his […]

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