First anniversary and a milestone

Almost exactly year ago today, two things happened: firstly, I made the decision to quit my corporate day job for full time professional photography (again) and started this site. The first year has seen a rollercoaster of personal highs (exhibitions, recognition, big clients) and challenges (bad clients, wrong clients, mess-ups on my part, rude emails); it wasn’t what I expected, but then again, I really can’t complain.

The blog has been, and I think always will be, a labor of love. I write because I love to write, and because I want to share my images and thoughts with the photographic community. (But, when you do buy gear, please use either my B&H or Amazon affiliate links – it helps me keep to support the site’s operating costs and acquiring gear to review.) As long as it’s practical and I’m able, I’ll do my level best to answer questions and comments – sites have to be a two-way thing in order to grow. Many of my readers have now become good friends, and that’s a huge bonus I never anticipated when I began. I didn’t think I’d shoot film again, much less medium format, but hey – it’s the surprises that keep life interesting, right?

At some point in the last week – I don’t know exactly when, because I busy replying emails about the Leica M 240we passed the 3,000,000 visitor mark. I certainly didn’t expect this within a year – all I can say is an enormous thank you for the support and trust you have in me; I’m humbled and flattered that so many people are interested in what I have to say. In writing for you, I’ve had to deconstruct my own understanding of all aspects of the photographic process, challenge myself to uphold and improve the quality of my images, and in the process, become a better photographer. Again: thank you, and with your continued support, I’m looking forward to an even better 2013! MT

Update: By popular demand, I’m opening up another workshop date for the 2013 New York City Making Outstanding Images tour – Monday 8 to Wednesday 10 April. However, before I change travel plans, I’ll need a minimum of 5 participants to make this a go – please shoot me an email to make a booking or if you have questions. For more information on the workshop, please take a look here. Thanks! MT


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. RuffDraft says:

    Congratulations Ming! Love the blog and have enjoyed your iPad tutorials too. Saving up to buy your Photoshop Tutorials (beginner and intermediate) but I have a few lenses to buy before then. Greatly appreciate the efforts, your photography is fascinating and I really enjoy visiting the site! Thanks for your time and effort, and I hope that your blog will continue to flourish! 3 million is outstanding!! Well done!

  2. Congratulations Ming … hopefully this all translates into a worthwhile income stream. If there was an Oscar for “Best Photography Blog by an Individual” then I’m sure you would be in the box seat for a win.

    • Thanks Sven – still waiting for that income stream, but perhaps I just haven’t quite figured it out yet. In the meantime, the show goes on 🙂

      There must be awards for things like that…and like the Oscars, doesn’t somebody else have to nominate you?

  3. Ming, I have never posted here before – mainly because I know you’d feel obligated to reply and I’d feel guilty for putting you to work – but I thought I would do so today seeing as it is your one year anniversary. I want to extend my sincerest congratulations on your accomplishments and a hearty thank you for the countless hours you must devote to this site. Your blog is a shining example that quality and quantity need not be mutually exclusive. Not only is your photography inspirational, but so is your willingness to drop the corporate “sure thing” in favour of doing what you love. It certainly shows. All the best!

  4. Steve Waldren says:

    Many happy returns Ming. Keep up the excellent work – both the thoughtful writing and the impressive and expressive images.

  5. Ming, I’m happy I came across your site. I wish I discovered it sooner but have no regrets. Happy Anniversary and Best Wishes! More power to you! Cheers!!!

  6. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! It’s always a pleasure to read your blog. I think your great strength is that you write so well about images and their making, in addition to the equipment reviews. Best wishes for the future.

  7. Roger Wojahn says:

    Much deserved congratulations, Ming. You’re an inspiration to us all! I hope you’re having a glass of champagne tonight!!

  8. Congrats on this milestone! Starting and maintaining a credible blog that draws as many visits as you do is truly a testament to your expertise in the subject of photography, writing ability, and persistence! Your writings and contributions to this field is definitely a value add.

  9. Jean Jacques says:

    Thank you very much Ming for your daily gift, I discovered your website two months ago, looking for information about photography and and in order to improve my airport English… but your website is much more than that, I like very much your pictures, framing, light and very hight definition… but not only your pictures, what you say and not only about photography but about travels, life in your country or in other, I like your “philosophy”.

    I have been lucky to travel in Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar… and I will come again as soon as possible.

    Thank you so much for sharing your time and your musings.

    Jean Jacques

    • Thanks Jacques – I think you might have found something a bit easier to read to improve your English though! That said, I think it’s probably best I don’t try to write in French. 😉

  10. Vinh Truong says:

    Congratulation Ming and wishing you a lot more success. Your blog and your flickr reader image stream have been my daily read since I found it about 6 or 7 months ago. They help me a lot in understanding and enjoying good images. One thing that really stands out from reading your writing and images is that, beside your talent, you are one sincere and considerate young man. That’s why I always recommending your blog to all my friends that are interested in photography. Again, congratulation and keep up the good work.

  11. Happy Anniversary Ming!
    I consider your website as a breakfast meal that I can’t skip whatsoever. I enjoy reading your writings every single day.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and beautiful images with us.
    Wish you many years of successes

  12. Happy Anniversary Ming and readers! I have recommended your blog to many others. Keep up the good work and I’ll see you in April in NYC!

  13. Congrats!, Felicidades Ming!!

  14. Congrats with the milestone, and I hope you continue to post more high-quality and thought-provoking articles!

  15. 3 million…wow. I am going to have to find a new blogger to follow, can’t be part of the “mainstream”! Thats a heck of a number Ming, and reflects the fantastic quality of thought, writing, and image-making. Congratulations, well deserved! Thanks for sharing your time and musings.

    • Thanks Ian – hardly part of the mainstream, I think I’m probably still an order of magnitude or so down on the real mass market…now as they say, if only I had a dollar for every…

  16. Franco Morante (Adelaide, South Australia) says:

    Congratulations Ming on your first anniversary. Your passion for photography continues to inspire.

  17. Congratulations! Your blog is definitely one of the few I have in my RSS feed where I actively look forward to new posts. 🙂 Here’s to an excellent 2013!

  18. Is it really a year. The range and variety of your output has been amazing and I am not surprised at the number of visiters to your sight. It is certainly due in part to your brand, format and medium agnosticism and that is something very refreshing in the proliferation of photography websites. Keep up the challenging and insightful work. Congratulations on a great year.

  19. Happy first anniversary, Ming, and congratulations! This site has become a daily must-visit for me in the past few months, and I can only echo what others have said about the high quality of material to be found here (as I’ve certainly learnt a lot from reading it). One question, though – are you ever planning on doing any workshops in the UK?

  20. Congratulations Ming – I still can’t remember how I found your blog, but I’ve been an avid reader from near the beginning. It’s been interesting how your blog has evolved and I’ve learnt greatly. The challenge for the coming year is to keep the blog interesting 🙂

  21. Happy Anniversary! This has been the site I visited the most on photography because it’s simply the best! Learn a great deal from you and look forward to more in the new year. Many thanks!

  22. David Babsky says:

    What a great year, Ming; Congratulations! “..I didn’t think I’d shoot film again, much less medium format, but hey – it’s the surprises that keep life interesting, right?..” ..and have you considered exploring video with your SLR(s)? ..getting a little SLR “slider” and shooting some moving pictures of watch innards? ..the little point-of-sale video “picture frames” in jewellery and watch shops are crying out for – and perhaps so are your clients – moving images of watch movements, escapements, chimes, etc. And no-one does it like you. Another revenue stream, perhaps?
    In response to yesterday’s “anxiety of infinite composition”: “..I actually suffer from the anxiety of feeling like there’s always something I have to capture; it’s a compulsion that becomes quite uncomfortably acute at times..” – that, I think, is Garry Winogrand syndrome.
    Many congratulations again!

    • Thanks David! I’ve been asked about that, but I’m still experimenting. So far, the headache is light: the stills are done with flash. Continuous sources aren’t bright enough, or flexible enough. And then there’s dust removal, and the inability of the camera to move in the right path without interfering with reflections/ diffusion etc…I suspect there may be a legitimate reason why it hasn’t been done before.

      I wonder if ‘Winogrand’s’ has a cure of any sort other than the kind that comes in cannisters or foil packs…

  23. Cheers to you! Few things I look forward to in a day- if a package has finally made its way to the mailbox, getting some time to shoot in between classes, and winding down my day in the evening with your blog posts (not a morning person, so it’s as close to the daily newspaper reading ritual as I’ll ever get).

    Here’s to you, who has renewed my faith in photographic philosophy! But please do keep posting some gear tidbits once in a while 😉

  24. Happy 1st Anniversary and many, many more :-). Enjoy your upcoming US trip, and I sincerely hope there will be an SF or LA workshop in 2014!

  25. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary. You are a wonderful Photographer, Writer and person. Thank You for you many posts, pictures and instructional videos. I have learned a lot from you this year.

  26. Thiago Medeiros says:

    Thanks a lot for the very high quality material you dispense n a regular basis, Ming 😉 You deserve all accolades you’ve been getting, and much more. I’ve been following your work for many years (I can totally remember the ‘ping from Ming on the bling lighting thing’ on Strobist) and been amazed with your output since.

    I really hope to attend to one of your workshops in the near future (perhaps a Rio de Janeiro workshop, wink wink?) and learn more from you through the website in the meantime. You are an inspiration for me and many others! Keep up with the great work!

    • Thanks Thiago – the Strobist thing was quite a while ago! Can’t say that Rio is in the plan (a long way for me, no idea if there are enough interested parties there to make it worthwhile – but if you can round up a few, it’s a go!) – but I do have more dates for NYC now if you’re interested.

  27. Happy anniversary Ming! Still don’t know if I enjoy your writing more or your pictures – luckily for me, I dont have to choose, since this wonderful site offers a daily dose of both.

    BTW I would love to run my amazon purchases through your link, but I see your tag being removed from the url once I switch to Don’t know if adding it manually does work.

    • Thanks Angsar. I have no idea either…in any case, I do have B&H now too, which ships to Europe – this may land up being cheaper for you, too. Thanks for the support!

  28. Congratulations Ming. Not only do we love to read what you write, but you are one of the very few photography blogs that is actually worth reading (imho). Nobody else I have ever read has explained composition, what makes a good image and so on, in such a lucid way and in such an original way (most, like 99% of composition essays say, basically “rule of thirds, but break it sometimes”).

    Also I love the way you demonstrate with your consistently great images that the camera used matters little.

    You’ve done really well to go from nothing to one of the top 10 photo blogs, and all done with intelligent writing and fantastic pictures.

    Best of luck, and keep up the good work.

    • Thanks Bob – I don’t think it’d be fair to say nobody else has done it, but perhaps few (if any) of the current popular sites bother. As you probably know, I really don’t believe in the rule of thirds 🙂 Thanks for the support!

  29. Well done Ming!! Every bit of what’s been achieved in the last year has purely been fruits of your efforts – your output and substance in this blog is simply awe-inspiring and added with the level of interaction with readers makes this one of the most unique blogs on the Net! Special mention I think needs to be made of Nadiah too, sharing you with all 3 million visitors throughout the year 🙂

  30. Heartiest congratulations Ming ! You’ve been doing awesome work amd you’re right, it’s the surprises after all that make life interesting. Congrats and keep up the great work.

  31. Good for you:)

  32. Peter Boender says:

    Well, a very happy anniversary Ming! It’s well deserved! I’m ever so grateful you found time in your very busy schedule and between all your work to meet me during my stop in Kuala Lumpur. I thoroughly enjoyed our high tea at the Majestic. In those two hours we discussed many things and you gave me lots to think about. The term “Deconstruct” hits the nail on the head. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to go back and “deconstruct” some of my own understanding of photography and the way I approach my shooting in order to move forward. I’m definitely looking into the possibilities of joining one of your workshops; the extra NY session may give me some options… Please continue to write and publish as you do. You are a very eloquent and intelligent author. I find your publications a really fresh approach to the subject of photography, as you mostly (apart from a number of gear reviews we tech heads like so much!) touch on the philosophical and psychological side of it. In the end it’s all about our creative ideas and the images we try to portray. All the gear in the world is just a way to get there; they’re just tools. Keep showing us the light!

    Allow me to make one small suggestion: you really should bundle your excellent articles (like: what makes a good photograph, what makes a good photographer, can art be taught, seeing part two) into a book. I’m sure this will fill a void. I’ll be the first to buy it!

    Once again, my sincerest congratulations! I hope we can meet again in the future. All the best!

    • Thanks Peter – likewise, was great to meet you last weekend. I guess you got lucky with the schedule! Let me know if you need more info, if not, there are places for NYC and SFO now – so I’m expecting to see you in the USA soon!

  33. Congratulations – you are by far the reviewer I trust the most and I appreciate your thoughtful and insightful articles.

  34. A sincere congratulations, and best wishes for the coming years !

  35. What do you expect Ming? When you expect good things to happen, they will! You’re providing a great service to those of us that enjoy being challenged by your many articles that make us think outside the box we’ve put ourselves in.

  36. Congratulations! And well done for a year of a very high level of output and a very high quality of images and thoughts about photography. I remember when I noticed you about 11 months ago and wondered how I had never heard about your site before when such a quality website existed. Well, that explains it self.

    You are doing a very good job, lot os hard work!

    • Thanks Thorsten – I hadn’t existed before then 🙂 Great to finally meet you in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, all the best for 2013 and let me know if you’re in the region again!

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