Coming *very* soon: How To See Ep2: Tokyo and Street Photography Ep1!

For your holiday viewing pleasure…I’m pleased to offer up the next two instalments in the workshop video series: How To See Ep2: Tokyo, and Street Photography Ep1.

H2 how to see ep2 tokyo
Video H2: How To See, Ep2: Tokyo – runtime 2h35min, US$63

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.

S1 street 1 basics tokyo
Video S1: Street Photography, Ep1 1h38min, US$63

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.

MT video masterplan

Beyond that however, I’d like to also share the roadmap for next year’s video workshops. (Think of it as my version of the periodic table.) We plan to release another 15 videos next year, for a total of hopefully 28 by the end of the year. As you can see, we’ll be spending some time filling out the intermediate and advanced areas by going into subject- and technique-specific teaching, including speedlights, landscapes, architecture, portraiture and wildlife. Film scanning and postprocessing will be on there, too. And those of you with eagle eyes may notice that Lightroom is back on the charts: I make no promises about this one, but I am still trying to wrestle the results I want out of LR5…

Both of the new videos will be available for instant download via the Teaching Store on 26 December, and as usual, there will be launch bundle specials 🙂 Happy holidays! MT


2014 Making Outstanding Images Workshops: Melbourne, Sydney and London – click here for more information and to book!


Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

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


  1. I’m really looking forward to these! Happy holidays Ming

  2. Taildraggin says:

    Ming: Are you using a Winder CW? – Charlie

  3. Michael Matthews says:

    Genius trailer, How to See EP2. If anyone suggests there’s too much sizzle and little or no steak (in the form of killer still images) they lack the requisite sense of humor. Your regular readers already know what you do. It’s the impact of this as a commercial spot on Google+, Facebook, and other social media that will bring new readers in by the boatload. Congratulations! Now I have to go back and stop-motion my way through the text in the opening animation.

  4. Feliz Navidad Santa! 😉

  5. Ha! Very entertaining and well constructed video. I notice Kirk Tuck has a similar business model to you: commercial clients, training material for amateurs, stills and video. Kirk is still “transitioning” from the traditional commercial photographer role, whereas you and your videographer colleague are already streets ahead. Best wishes for 2014.

    • Thanks – I don’t have the same client base he does, so I have no choice but to move faster on all fronts. Still developing the commercial side though – I’m currently in negotiations with a large client here to serve as both creative director, consultant and photographer for a major campaign next year…

  6. Ever so quick before I take the kids out to the park: video looks awesome, MT.

    I’ve only had a chance to watch the trailer once through — and while my son was shooting me with his ray gun — but it looked like you captioned “How to See” with some Japanese text: 確認する方法 [kakunin suru hohhoh]. “確認” is a noun and in its verb form “確認する” denotes to check, or make sure.. the connotation that follows is like “verifying” or “confirming.”
    I’d translate “How to See” simply and put the character “方” which literally means direction, but is tagged onto the end of nouns to be a quick shorthand for “How to [noun].” So all you need is an antecedent noun for “see.” The character for “see” is the hard bit as there are a few choices of varying philosophical intent and weight: 見、観、視、all pronounced “mi” and the root for the verb “miru” [see/look]… I think it’s really “観” that you want but why limit to one reading?

    In this situation, rather than choose one, I would write the copy in basic phonetic script, and leave which character the “mi” was pointing to an inference the reader makes all on his own [automatically chooses the one he thinks is best—great solution]. It adds to the mystery — since we don’t make it clear which character is meant — usually a bad thing in copy [it’s about getting a point across, clearly, and this is the opposite!]; but in this case I think it’d be justified and would work. Though it wouldn’t look as cool to the non-Japanese speaker. Which I’m sure is the main point—we’re trying to generate interest here! But anyway, if purity of concept and deadly boring didacticism were the point [ 🙂 ]: I’d translate “How to See” as:


    No qualifications of what we’re seeing, e.g., “How to see [the world]” or “How to see [photographically]”, just:

    「み方」ー>and so,「み方 Part II」

    Looking at those two characters in 「み方」, I think there’s an elegant graphic design opportunity in there somewhere. Gordon would probably know.

    I’m off!

    • Thanks Tom. And uh oh…I knew my translation must have messed up somewhere. I should have just stuck to miru and not tried to be too clever about it. Or made the whole thing katakana: ‘haru to shiru!’

      Next time 🙂

      • No problem! Who cares about some Japanese script when the awesomeness of THE BEAST is right before their eyes. Video looks epic 🙂

    • P/S forgot to mention that 方法 is like “methodology” or “technique” and while a-OK, I think a character too long –> just use “方” on a noun and Bob’s your uncle.
      [方法 sounds a bit needlessly hard to my ear; but my ear is non-native Japanese and not well trained, at that: so it’d be interesting to hear what someone like Arato, a native Japanese, thought]

  7. Awesome. Christmas just came early! (Well, maybe not exactly as the launch date is Boxing Day, but you know what I mean ;))

    • I know you were waiting 🙂

      Put it this way: at least you’ll have something to watch while the rest of the world disappears to go shopping on boxing day…

      • Mmmmmmmmmmmuuuurrgh, Boxing Day shopping…

        I’ll buy the Lightroom video if you do it. Might as well register my interest upfront!

        • I’m still wrestling with it. Have to redevelop the workflow and the tonal results aren’t always consistent for 3/4 tones…

          • I’d imagine that’s down to the image-adaptive nature of the Highlight/Shadow/White/Black sliders; they’re good for quick and dirty edits, where you perhaps only have a rough idea where you want to take the image, but they don’t fit with the more precise nature of your PS workflow. On the flipside, for less experienced users, I think good results are actually easier to achieve with LR (image adaptive and limited range of adjustment = less ways to go wrong, tonally and with sharpening), so maybe the difficulty of the video could be pitched a bit lower accordingly?

            Personally–speaking as a big fan of your videos and someone who has used both programs a lot–I find myself gravitating back to LR at the moment because of the convenience of having a full undo history/snapshots. I like not having to think about what file format to store stuff in until it’s export time, too. Still very much try to apply the post-processing philosophies I’ve learned from you, though, so a LR-specific video would be great. (Caveat: this only applies to very lightly processed personal work–I’m not trying to do anything complicated, or please anyone but myself.)

            A revised PS video/sequel done with the production values/lessons learned with the latest series would be cool too, though I don’t expect that to feature highly on the requests list 🙂

            • It’s not so much the sliders as the inability to do precise local adjustments. You can get to a say 80% level fairly easily with LR, 90% with a bit more effort, but that last 10% is elusive.

              I guess that’s just me though: I don’t see the point in doing something that isn’t capable of giving the expected results; the problem is that it also doesn’t make sense for people who are looking to get the same results as I do, because I can’t use that software to get that output! I suppose this is why PS exists…

              Revised PS is far more likely. I’ve made some fairly major changes to my workflow, mainly for speed, but I have to think of how to quantify them in such a way to make sense to people with less experience.

              • Yeah, forgot to mention local adjustments in that post… I’m not a fan of the way they’re implemented in LR at all, and exporting to PS eliminates the point. End result: I don’t dodge and burn. For shame! That said, I also don’t have a tablet, so it’s something I’ve kind of steered clear of anyway. Totally agreed on the “elusive 10%” of doing things that way, though.

                I think the presentational style of your current videos combined with the workflow changes would be enough to sell a revised PS video (even if a lot of it is screen recorded segments). Just seeing you work through some more examples would be good; personally, I bought the Monochrom video for that reason alone. Finally, for those of us who got the original videos when they were iPad-exclusive, a revised video would be incentive to re-purchase the standalones…

                That’s just me, though 🙂

                • Point taken 🙂

                  • Merry Christmas and thanks for another year of awesomeness, Ming!

                  • Might it be worth your time to do an article on the processing capabilities and limitations of LR vs. PS? Nothing more than basic tonal (local & global) adjustments and examples of each, and not the extreme kinds of manipulation possible with PS. It seems a lot of people are asking you about LR, and if you don’t think it’s possible to get what you need with LR, an article might serve as an FAQ kind of answer to those emails and comments.

                    • Probably not, to be honest. That kind of thing requires a demonstration; end images don’t really tell a lot. It doesn’t help that there are 1001 ways to do the same thing in PS, either.

  8. Reblogged this on Bild & Pinal and commented:
    A photographer worth watching

  9. After the Matrix-like loading screen I feared this would end in a pretty cheesy, read: lame, trailer. I was proven wrong. Tasteful, with a good cinematic vision, and overall concept, leaving the viewer to want more. That’s how it’s done. Good job.

    The items loaded at the beginning are brilliant. You have to read pretty quickly, but one can see how much thought went into all of this.

    I’m left wondering, whether placing photography into a/the matrix was just a cinematic concept, or if your understanding of the world as one of mere apparitions is your approach to art, requring the artist, in this case the photographer, to reveal entities behind phenomena so to speak?

    • Thank you. The trailer is not representative of the final style of the video – but the idea was to question the presentation of reality in a photograph, and everything being merely an illusion of what the photographer chooses to present to the audience. Some people take it all a bit too seriously and miss the point of a creative pursuit – hence the loading items…

  10. Nikolay Karev says:

    Haha. New blockbuster from Ming! But, honestly, buying your videos is the best way to spend $60 or so for photography, even if you shoot with iPhone. Thanks and keep up doing a good job!

  11. What a fantastic trailer…

  12. This looks exciting! Looking forward to learning a lot this year!

  13. Wow, Lightroom?! What’s the most difficult thing to get right with it? If they could assign a tonal curve to a brush, I think that would go a long way to making it flexible enough.

  14. Alex Lemon says:

    looking forward to checking these out!

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