Ming Thein new headshot border

Armed with a camera since 16, my photographic career has spanned many subjects. Photography is beyond a job for me: it’s a passion. Actually, until early 2012, it was a full time passion and a part time job; I’ve shot commercial assignments on and off for the last eight years, but went full time just recently. I’m a physicist by training – I graduated from Oxford at 16 – and subsequently left a senior corporate career in M&A/ private equity (and more recently, as a senior exec director of McDonalds) because it simply wasn’t what I wanted to do, and so far, have been lucky enough not to regret it.

This of course means it’s very important to photograph the things you’re passionate about in their own right. Every photographer aims to find a unique look to their images in order to create a signature look for their clients. I take inspiration from many sources – classical photojournalism, abstract art, motion picture and film – to deliver a unique look and style for my clients. Natural color and dynamic lighting create a strong positive emotion in the viewer, which in turn makes the subject of the photograph – your product or service – memorable. I work on location with both available light and controlled lighting, depending on the needs of the client and subject.

I am a commercial photographer specialising in product photography on location and corporate reportage. Lately, I’ve also served as creative consultant and director to ensure a consistent visual look and feel across all aspects of a campaign, including video/ commercials, printed materials and exhibitions – right down to lighting design. It’s no longer just about the visuals: it’s about the experience and the emotion, too.

I have a diverse international client base including Nissan, Chun Wo Engineering and Construction, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Van Cleef & Arpels, Maitres du Temps, Richemont, the Swatch Group, Hijjas Kasturi Architects, Tange Associates Architects, Sunway Group, Maybank, Eastern & Oriental, The Boston Consulting Group, several Michelin star chefs including Fergus Henderson and Bruno Menard, The City of London and Moon Travel Guides. I also maintain an extensive library of over 250,000 high-resolution images available to license, both directly and via Getty Images. For 5 years, I was Contributing Editor to CLICK! Magazine, Malaysia and Editor for 2010. I have been appointed a Hasselblad Global Ambassador for 2016 and am also a Nikon Professional Services member in the UK and consultant to Carl Zeiss AG.

Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss a project, request a quote, or a specific portfolio of images. In addition, limited edition fine art prints are available from time to time directly via this site.

Ming Thein
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Email: mingthein@gmail.com
Phone: +60 17 387 6700
Ming Thein on Getty Images

Please note that I cannot answer ‘what should I buy’ questions. There is no right answer to this question – every person’s needs and shooting styles will be different. There are also pages and pages of reviews on this site, along with the recommended equipment list to help you decide for yourself.

Exhibitions/ In the media:
Un/Natural, with Stephen King, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong (5 Dec 2015-15 Jan 2016)
– ‘The Idea of Man’, The Rangefinder Gallery, Chicago (2-31 Oct 2015)
‘Connection’, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, (11-17 June 2015)
‘Engineering Art in Metal’, The Centre for Asian Photographers, Kuala Lumpur (3-31 Jan 2014)
Interviewed on the official Carl Zeiss blog on food photography (14 Oct 2013)
DSLR Magazine, cover interview/ featured photographer (Feb 2013 edition)
‘Diametric opposites: East and West’, Leica Gallery Starhill, Kuala Lumpur (18 Jan-18 April 2013)
– New York Times/ International Herald Tribune – interviewed on watch photography (24 Nov 2012)
The official Leica Camera Blog – interview/ featured photographer (8 Nov 2012)
BFM 89.9 Tech Talk on Photokina 2012 (8 October 2012)
BFM 89.9 Tech Talk on photography (29 June 2012)
BFM 89.9 Careers unusual (4 May 2012)
The Edge Malaysia, p Op18 (July 2-8 Edition)
Horological photography exhibition sponsored by Jaeger Le-Coultre and Leica Camera, at Starhill Gallery (May 2012)
The Malaysian Reserve – commentary on democratisation of the industry and local support in Malaysia (14 Sep 2012)


  1. Ong Kai Kiong says:

    Hi! Ming,

    Will you be conducting workshop in Tokyo for 2017? I would love to attend. Cheers

  2. Hello Ming,

    I just purchased your workflow III package, and after downloading the first video I received a message that the file had a virus or malware. Could this be possible? Or is my system seeing something as a virus that really is not?

    Thank you!

  3. Hi Ming,
    I’m interested in getting the new Hasselblad X1D and found your tutorials and site, which were very helpful, during my research.
    I have a technical question which I can’t fully wrap my head around and was wondering if you could clarify things for me.
    It’s the field of view difference/conversion from 4:3 medium format to 3:2 35mm.
    Essentially I need to get as close as I can to what a 16mm lens on a full frame DSLR gives me, by using the X1D. If I go by the formula that an 85mm lens on a medium format 4:3 sensor equals roughly a 50mm lens on a full frame DSLR, then the new XCD 30mm lens should equal a 17.6mm lens on a D810, for example.
    Assuming that the above is correct and since I don’t have the equipment to visually test, here is my question: As an example, if I am a given distance from my subject with a D810 and a 16mm lens and my subject horizontally spans exactly from the left edge to the right edge of my frame; will I see my subject more or less similarly from edge to edge of frame if I switch cameras in the same location to an X1D and its 30mm lens? With more space on top and bottom, of course.
    Sorry for the long question, hope it makes sense.

  4. Hey Ming, are you related to Ming Smith? Check out her photos in today’s NYTimes. In Multimedia/photos section ‘ghost photos”.
    Great stuff. . . .

  5. Herbert Brauer says:

    Hi Ming,

    I enjoy your site for it’s excellent content and professional opinion. I’m wishing you a really good 2017!

    May I ask you for a quick response as to why you never considered the Nikon 28mm 2.8 manual lens? I believe it’s extremely sharp and still relevant in today’s digital world. Personally I agree with your opinion about the Zeiss 28 f2, I certainly prefer it’s bokeh as well. Just wondering as I want to buy a 28mm manual focus.

    Many thanks,


  6. Edwwin waddel says:

    Ming you ever try the fuji Cameras and what you think of them…i am thinking of switching back to my D810 for macro, is it worth the hassle i love the fuji’s and the format, But DSL’s just cant be beat with speed to burn AF and IQ”

    • Yes, I owned an XT1 for a while and didn’t really get along with it. For small/fast/compact, I’d go M4/3, and for versatile, up a size – APSC sort of sits in no-mans’ land.

  7. Hi Ming,
    I was just wondering if you’ve written an article on how your passion for photography began and how you got to where you are today, career-wise? If so, could you send me the link? Thanks, your photos are so inspiring!

  8. Scott Root says:

    I purchased and use many aspects of your Bridge/Camera Raw/Photoshop workflow that is second to none in teasing out true-to-life subtleties in contrast, and that makes all the difference. I’m tired of pop culture norms vying for a second look–eye-candy glitter, surreal saturation, the photo-shopped straightened nose. Contrast is a close cousin to imperfection, and both accentuate a theme and beauty just like a good cup of coffee that is just bitter enough to bring out its subtlety of flavors. Subtleties in contrast is what makes my pictures now work. Take contrast too far and it looks unbelievable and a desperate grope for attention. Keep it subtle and it pops. It’s difficult to get right because contrast is relative. A neon light does not stand out in Las Vegas, but candlelight can pull us towards what it illuminates in a most powerful manner if the contrast is right. This is true in photography and is true with most aspects of the human experience. A great story hinges on contrast–good vs evil, man vs beast, beauty and the beast. Take the contrast of a story line to an absurd level and you lose your audience. Keep the contrast of the story line on the bleeding edge and you have a best seller. Humor works due to contrast–stupidity is funny because we know what is normal, irony makes us cringe because we know what should have happened. I’ve often wondered if mankind’s uncanny attraction to contrast has something to do with peripheral vision that is filled in by the brain with items in our peripheral vision deserving a second look when we notice contrast in color, intensity, or movement. And, just like our peripheral vision that is not in our face, contrast works best when subtle; beyond which it is not believable and boring like a blockbuster Hollywood movie that takes violence to a melodramatic level. Overfed, over-served, overindulged, over-sexed, franchised food, sugar and creamer supersaturated coffee–it’s all the same in being aesthetically empty. The mass media arms race for our attention has generated a grotesque genre involving too much bling, which makes your organic approach to photography so refreshing in this day and age. Thank you for what you do.
    Dr. Scott Root

  9. Manisha Sharma says:

    Hi Ming,

    I read your article on ethics of random street photography. I’ve been capturing people in touristy locations or places I lived in. By now I have some good collection and these days I do editing as well. Basically I want to start posting photos on Twitter and facebook. Recently I found a photo that I took of a bride who was on her photo shoot in Prague at the castle which is heavily flocked by people during open hours. Of course it was a stealthy capture and quick one, while I was covering the castle. Can I post it? The bride and groom are totally anonymous to me and I am just a photographer, not even professional. Photography is my hobby.

    Thank you!

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